Dispelling the Myths in Today’s Retail Environment
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE is defined as “the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company throughout the consumption of that company’s goods or services.” Or, in other words, it is how your customer perceives you after he or she recognizes your brand and includes every step in the retailer-customer relationship: discovery, awareness, attraction, interaction, transaction, use of product or service, cultivation, retention and advocacy.
Years ago, the customer experience existed primarily inside physical stores and through printed catalogs or call centers. Today, it has evolved to also incorporate a variety of online and mobile formats, as well as imaginative marketing initiatives. As the lines blur between physical and virtual showrooms, retailers must utilize an omnichannel approach to retailing, ensuring that customers are provided with consistent service, expectations and experiences, regardless of the channel. If you are looking to improve existing processes, then you are probably asking:
“How can my business provide the best experience for my customers?”
The customer experience rules of the past are now the myths that are suppressing retailers from remaining relevant in the customer’s eyes. As a retailer, the first place you should look is towards your customers’ complete omnichannel experience. Customers have taken the reigns by defining their own shopping experiences, and they should have the ability to consume your brand seamlessly across all channels. That is, if you want to meet them where they are and allow them to purchase your product. This brings us to the preeminent myth for retailers seeking to improve customer experience. MYTH #1: Customer Expereince is just Customer Service.
While customer experience is influenced by a company’s ability to deliver customer service, the two are not interchangeable. Customer service is very important and can be tested in the store, by phone to the company’s customer service center, online directly to the company, and online indirectly by customers on review sites or on social networks. Customer experience incorporates these events along every touch point in the sales and marketing funnel. If you are focused only on service, then you are missing out on enhancing the many experiences before and after the need for customer service.
When appropriately anticipated and delivered, positive customer experiences can lead to new customers, more sales, higher margins and higher retention rates. As you evaluate your omnichannel offering, you must think strategically and consider how assortment and price transparency, social environments, mobile connections and customer insights influence the entire customer experience.
To continue reading and to uncover more myths, please visit our Customer Experience Point of View.