How is the in-store retail customer experience evolving?
American retailers appear to be facing a crisis. Brands like JC Penney, American Apparel, and Sears are all closing stores and customers there...
What are the most basic strategies that sit at the top of the priority list for most executives? Reducing the cost of running the business is one. Increasing revenue or profit (or preferably both) is another. However, in recent years almost every industry analyst has suggested that improving the customer experience (CX) has become the single highest priority across all industries.
This is because analysts and researchers have proven that there is a strong connection between business success and a focus on improving the customer experience. Great CX drives other behaviours, such as loyalty and improved engagement, and ultimately this creates more business for the brand.
But what if it could be proven that focusing on your CX has a direct impact on cutting costs and increasing revenue? This is what Forrester Research suggested recently, when VP and Research Director Harley Manning addressed an audience in Florida.
Manning said that by making customer experience the number one area of focus, companies will find that other benefits occur naturally. These include the ability to grow revenue faster, reduce service costs, achieve greater pricing power, and reduce risks around regulatory compliance.
This is particularly true in markets where strong competition exists because there is then a greater ability to distinguish between rivals. When one market player treats customers significantly better than most there is not only the effect of customers gravitating to that company, but also the ability of the leader to push their prices up. Many customers are prepared to pay more for convenience and a better experience, and only the CX leader has the ability to set prices above the market rate.
Manning also noted that a focus on CX has benefits within the company. When your own team feel better about the way they are able to look after the customer, it improves internal employee satisfaction and creates a positive feedback loop. Because you create a situation where the team is more empowered, the team functions better, the customers are happier, and the team continues to feel and function better because their job and levels of satisfaction have significantly improved.
Industry analysts have talked for the past few years about how important it is to focus on CX, but I think this is the first time I have seen one of them claiming that all those other important business priorities can be achieved just by concentrating on the customer experience alone. Do you think that the Forrester research is correct? Leave a comment below or contact me on LinkedIn and let me know.