Customer Experience Strategy (Part 2): 6 Steps to Happier Customers, Higher Revenues

Posted on August 10, 2016 by Nanette BrownComments


Last week, we wrote about building an effective customer experience strategy. This week, we tackle the hard part: execution.

To do it well, you need to understand who you are as a brand. Build a culture, and design a customer experience, around your brand personality and values.

From there, you need to know where you stand, where you’d like to be, and how to achieve your ideal. Not assume, not guess, but know. Everything depends on how well you track your progress.

Here, we’ll walk you through the six steps to meaningful change.

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Topics: Customer Service, Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction, Retail, Mystery Shopping, Training, Brand Experience, Customer Engagement, Employee Engagement

Customer Experience Strategy: What to Include, and What to Avoid

Posted on August 3, 2016 by Kevin LeiferComments


If you’re serious about competing to win in retail, then you’re undoubtedly:

  • Focused on your customers (vs. quarterly numbers).
  • Invested in creating a unique brand experience.
  • Committed to ensuring your customer experience strategy serves as an effective guide for all your teams and executes like a dream.

Reread that last bullet. Ask yourself: Does our CX strategy meet these standards?

Many retailers assume their customer experience strategy is airtight. In reality, there may be costly gaps or missteps undermining their entire effort—and killing their chances of achieving significant revenue growth.

To avoid a similar fate, you need to know what to look for (and what to avoid) during the strategic planning process. These five areas, in particular, require careful consideration.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Customer Engagement, Customer Service, Retail, Omnichannel, Brand Experience

Employee Engagement: Why You Need It, and How to Increase It

Posted on June 29, 2016 by Nanette BrownComments



Among the world’s leading brands, a top-down commitment to building and maintaining a customer-centric culture is priority one. But equally important is keeping an ear to the ground.

When was the last time you asked your employees for feedback?

Do you know how they feel about their jobs, the company as a whole, its policies and procedures, and its leadership?

Many retailers don’t realize how important this is. How cost effective it is. How helpful it is in getting a complete picture of the customer experience. And how much it matters to your associates on the front lines—the people you trust to represent your brand and to make your customers feel welcome, appreciated, and well served.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Satisfaction, Customer Engagement, Customer Service, Brand Experience

Retail Customer Experience: How to Stop Competing Internally—and Start Competing to Win

Posted on June 8, 2016 by Nanette BrownComments


If managing the customer experience were easy, every customer would be delighted. Every brand would enjoy rock-star status. Chart-busting revenue growth would be the industry norm.

But we live in the real world, where the CX ideal and the sales-floor reality are often miles apart. As are brands’ and their customers’ perceptions. While 80% of companies claim to deliver superior customer service, only 8% of customers agree.

Even worse, only 1% of customers say they experience consistently good service. (Ouch.)

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Topics: Mystery Shopping, Customer Experience, Brand Experience, Services, In-Store Marketing, Retail, Customer Service, Customer Engagement

Are You Ignoring the Greatest Revenue Driver in Retail?

Posted on May 25, 2016 by Nanette BrownComments


Here’s where many retailers are today:

  • They’re mired in the numbers.
  • They’re tightening their belts to maximize profits.
  • They’re using a variety of promotional tactics to boost traffic and conversions.

But all too often, when customers enter their stores, no one is available to help. The racks and shelves are in disarray. Customers are left alone, asked canned questions—Are you finding everything okay?—or bombarded with tone-deaf sales pitches. (We call this “retail assault.”)

The experience is worse than forgettable. Shoppers aren’t inspired to stick around or make additional purchases. In fact, many of them can’t wait to leave.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Customer Service, Customer Engagement

Take the Quiz: How Customer Centric Is Your Brand?

Posted on May 18, 2016 by Kevin LeiferComments


Many retailers claim to be customer centric. They’ll tout it in a quarterly statement or in the press. But words are meaningless if the brand experience doesn’t match.

Retailers that are customer centric demonstrate it on the sales floor every day. They provide a consistently great experience that revolves around the customer’s interests, behaviors (past, present, and future), and goals. Customers feel appreciated and special every time they engage with the brand.

How customer centric is your brand? Not just in spirit, but in reality?

Your responses to these five questions will reveal the answer.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Journey Mapping, Customer Service

Marketing and Associate Training: The Yin and Yang of Customer Experience

Posted on May 4, 2016 by Kevin LeiferComments


Marketing and associate training are inextricably linked. They’re the yin and yang of customer experience.

Or at least they should be.

When you make a brand promise, you’re communicating values and priorities. You’re creating an expectation about what a relationship with your brand will entail. Consumers expect you to deliver 110 percent; they want to know your brand promise will hold across every channel, location, and experience.

It’s up to your associates—the human face of your brand—to deliver on your brand promise. They make shoppers feel welcome (or not), help them make better and larger purchases (or not), and give them a reason to come back (or drive them into the arms of your competitors).

If your in-store teams aren’t fully on board with your branding and marketing campaigns, all the hard work you’re doing to bring shoppers in the door will be for naught.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Customer Engagement, Training

The Experts Weigh in: 4 Essentials of a Superior Customer Experience

Posted on April 27, 2016 by Nanette BrownComments


Retail is a tough business. The formula for delivering a great customer experience is complex and ever changing. There’s always something new to learn.

This week, we’ve compiled a list of outstanding posts written by leading CX experts. We’ve organized this list around four key components of the customer experience: corporate culture, the customer journey, associate training, and customer experience management. There’s a lot of great writing here, and plenty of great insights. We hope you find them interesting and valuable.


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Topics: Mystery Shopping, Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Intercepts, Customer Service

Guest Post: 5 Questions CMOs must now ask when “they don’t show up”

Posted on April 18, 2016 by Chris Petersen Ph.DComments


Marketers need to engage like they are throwing a party for friends

What if you held a really important event, and spent a lot of time and money on decorations and catering … and no one came? Well, maybe a few people showed up out of curiosity or for the food, but not the really important guests you were expecting. A really successful personal party or event is based upon dynamics of relationships. When you plan an important party you don't just drop invitations in the mail or a text … you follow up personally. In many ways, businesses are "throwing a party" and just blasting out anonymous invitations, ala mass media, in the expectation and hope that "they will come". The ultimate irony for CMOs in an omnichannel world is that more channels does not necessarily mean more traffic or sales. To change results will require new questions and behaviors in the marketing arena.

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Topics: Omnichannel, Retail, Customer Service

Why We Love Negative Customer Feedback (and Why You Should Too)

Posted on April 13, 2016 by Nanette BrownComments


Bill Gates famously said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Imagine if Gates hadn’t bothered to ask for feedback or address his customers’ concerns. Would Microsoft have become the iconic brand it is today?

Not by a long shot.

Asking customers about their experience with you, and doing something meaningful in response, is critical to staying competitive. It’s not only a diagnostic tool for improving service, but also a sign of caring and goodwill—and helps to avoid social media disaster.

More importantly, it gives you a chance to shine when things go wrong. In the eyes of your customers, how you react to negative feedback is the truest measure of your brand.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping, Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction, Retail, Customer Service

Guest Post: Can’t Buy Me Love or Superior Customer Experience

Posted on February 29, 2016 by Gregory YankelovichComments


In our latest guest post, our colleague Gregory Yankelovich addresses the challenge some organizations face in executing incomplete customer experience programs as well as how some companies are inherently set up to slow or prevent action obtained through these programs.

Superior Customer Experience cannot be delivered without the well orchestrated cooperation of all departments of a company. Yet, this cooperation is very difficult to achieve. The primary reason for the existence of organizational silos is operational efficiency that allows companies to scale their growth. The opposite side of the coin is a lack of unified vision and, as a consequence, the inability to work toward a common goal. This problem has caused many calls for “breaking down the silos“, but I would like to discuss a more constructive approach. Revolutions rarely produce positive ROI for anybody, but their instigators.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service

Moving beyond service - how do we make a customer's life better today?

Posted on January 20, 2016 by Nanette BrownComments


2015 was an incredible year for retail. New technologies shaped customer experiences allowing brands to compete effectively for customers’ attention and provide amazing experiences. But we’re in 2016, and to make your customer’s life better today, you have to be cutting edge and offer new experiences.

To offer relevant experiences, the kind your customers will appreciate, you need to get to know your customers first and understand what influences them.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Omnichannel, Customer Service

Moving from Reactive to Proactive Customer Experience

Posted on January 13, 2016 by Kevin LeiferComments


A reactive customer experience is the kind that manages customer reactions instead of customer expectations and needs. It’s an outdated approach that aims to mostly put out fires.

Businesses creating a reactive customer experience are usually businesses that believe that investing in experience is an extra cost they can do without. The problem is that when customers complain, it costs more. Here are some numbers that demonstrate why:

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Topics: Mystery Shopping, Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, Customer Engagement

Prepping for the Returns season

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Nanette BrownComments


The week following Christmas is notorious for a mass quantity of returns. More than 20% of your customers will return gifts during the holidays and the following period according to recent surveys.

Retailers don’t usually get hit only financially during this time of year; long lines, angry customers and boxes piling up at your stores can hurt brand image as well.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Brand Experience, Customer Service

3 Ways Retailers Can Still Win Holiday 2015

Posted on December 8, 2015 by Kevin LeiferComments


Before the holiday 2015 shopping season officially kicked off late last month, one truth was already universally acknowledged: Shoppers were going to spend more on e-commerce channels than in 2014.

Of course, that predication came true. Media outlets reported Cyber Monday sales – the biggest day of the year for online spending – exceeded $3 billion in 2015. That event saw a 50% jump from last year, though still is far under the industry’s total sales of $10 billion on actual Black Friday.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping, Customer Experience, Customer Service

Customer Experience Update