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...
I recently heard The Modern Customer podcast with Blake Morgan interviewing Margaret Molloy, the Chief Marketing Officer of Siegel and Gale. The focus of the podcast was that simplicity is the key to a great customer experience.
This is a view I strongly echo, although it is easy to see why some might not believe it. We are operating in a world where the customer journey has changed beyond recognition in the past few years and major aspects of customer behaviour, such as loyalty, have been turned upside down. The conventional wisdom and experience of how to work with customers to provide great service has changed enormously in a very short period of time.
So how can simplicity be the answer? I believe that to create a great experience we need to see the journey from the eyes of the customer. Think of a customer who wants to ask a brand a question, but then faces these various scenarios:
1. An online shopper hesitates before a purchase and wants to ask about the products in their basket, but cannot find any way to easily contact the brand. Even searching the website reveals little more than an email address, yet they are in the midst of a purchase and need help now.
2. A customer took the time to email details of a history of a problem and after not hearing from the brand for several hours, so they try calling. They are asked to repeat everything they wrote in the email because the agent has no way of seeing information sent from a customer using a different channel.
3. A customer is using the app of a major brand and wants to ask a question, but it seems the only way to get help is to leave the app to make a call or go to the brand website.
I could go on, but the point is clear. In almost every situation where a customer needs help and is inclined to reach out to a brand with a question, are you making it easy and simple for the customer? If not then you have failed to ensure that the customer can easily find assistance – even if the assistance they might eventually get is great.