Kelly Swallow Knows Who She Is

Posted by January 6, 2012 by David RichComments

Watch this video. It is very short (7 seconds.) And that's kinda the point I'm about to make.

Kelly Swallow makes chairs that make people smile.

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Topics: Brand Experience

No Reservations

Posted by December 27, 2011 by David RichComments

I'm vacationing with my family in Europe over the next week, visiting Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. One of my favorite places to visit when I am in Paris is Le Relais de l'Entrecôte. I like it mostly because they have defined the boundaries of dining experience

They serve only one entrée; steak frites cooked rare, medium rare or medium. You order your steak the way you like it and the server writes it on your tablecloth, then brings out your salad -- lettuce topped with walnuts and a mustard vinaigrette.

After your salad starter, your steak is brought to you in two stages, with one half held back to keep warm, so you can enjoy it at its best and is accompanied with more freshly prepared frites.

The only wine is red.

And they don't take reservations.

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Topics: Brand Experience

No Rain, No Rainbows

Posted by December 21, 2011 by David RichComments

What do you do with almost $10,000 worth of merchandise that you can't return to online retailers because their return procedures are so dysfunctional? If you are STELLAService, you break out the wrapping paper and bows, have a wrapping party and donate the items to various charities throughout New York City.

And we decided to help them.

STELLAService tests online retailers by purchasing and returning real products as a normal customer would. Usually they return the items, but due to poor customer service they were stuck with this stuff.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Information Rich, Execution Poor

Posted by December 20, 2011 by myadminComments

A solid mystery shopping program consists always of three components:

- Objective measurements
- Never a "gotcha" program
- Action, not just reporting

Often misunderstood and even more often not implemented correctly, mystery shopping are one of the most important tools you can use to measure, manage and improve the customer experience.

A few things you may or may not know. Mystery shopping is the only objective way to measure the customer experience. Why is that important?

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

When Does The Customer Experience Begin?

Posted by December 19, 2011 by David RichComments

Earlier, we examined when a customer experience ends at a retail store, but when does the experience actually begin? Here are several examples of companies in various industries who have examined the question and have pushed the customer experience dramatically forward of their front door.

VW - Automobiles
If you were a car company, you may say the retail experience for the customer begins when the customer enters the showroom and starts looking at the cars. But VW would disagree with you. Watch the following video about their factory in Dresden, Germany.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Helping You Make Things Less Complex

Posted by December 13, 2011 by David RichComments

Customer Experience programs come in all shapes and sizes. It can be overwhelming. We at ICC strongly believe in a balance of objective and subjective feedback, a bias for action and a win-win mentality.

What I have been seeing more and more lately are companies who have made things far too complex and in turn, jeopardize the success of their companies and careers.

Here are a few tips I'd like to share:

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Topics: Customer Experience

When Does The Retail Experience End?

Posted by December 8, 2011 by David RichComments

Does the shopping experience at a brick and mortar store end when you are done shopping or when you are done checking out?

For many who live primarily in a digital environment, the experience ends when they are ready to check out. The check out process for them is a necessary evil, one they are defining as more and more unnecessary. They can check out in 1-Click on Amazon.com; why can't they check out in a few minutes at a mall clothing store?

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Topics: Brand Experience

Setting Boundaries In Cafés

Posted by November 7, 2011 by David RichComments

Take a good look at the photo above.

I was walking past this shop on Saturday and realized; I have no idea what they sell.

At first glance, you may say, "they sell bagels" but then when you read a bit more, the badly-hung ad hoc sign in the window says "2 SLICES + SODA CAN $3.75." As the shop is in New York, the implication is 2 slices of pizza.

Wait, what? I thought this was a bagel shop.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Office Depot's DIY Mystery Shopping Adventure

Posted by November 2, 2011 by David RichComments

The most recent HBR ( >Harvard Business Review) features Kevin Peters, president of Office Depot, taking on mystery shopping himself (at first) to drive results. He discovered what most of our clients tell us; Mystery shopping works.

The problem is most companies (and unfortunately sometimes their supplier) don't do it correctly. When they don't get the results they hope for, they end up "throwing out the baby with the bath water."

In summary,
- Office Depot had a mystery shopping program that did not work.
- The president went out the stores and did the job himself.
- Peters found they were not measuring the right things.
- Office Depot is now recalibrating and rolling out to its stores
- Talking directly to his customers in the store yielded information that Peters was not getting through his executives or customer satisfaction survey program.
- Peters wanted to find more ways to find out why people are leaving the store without making a purchase.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Protecting Retailers From The "Flash Rob" Trend

Posted by October 18, 2011 by blogComments

Flash mobs have become a major trend. They've even been featured in Hollywood movies, often with a group of people in a public place breaking out in a choreographed dance. That type of mob scene is all in good fun, but there is a new trend that is far less innocent. In recent months, a number of different retailers have been hit by a phenomenon now referred to as a "flash rob."

It is primarily youth that have been involved in this trend, but they are managing to create chaos. They organize a mob using social media and meet to ambush a store. The sheer number of individuals involved is what makes it so hard to catch the crafty shoplifters in the act.

Are your employees flash rob-aware? Do they know the signs of a flash rob mob forming? Do they know how and when to act? They will only have minutes; maybe seconds to put your plan into place.

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Topics: Customer Experience