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Customer Experience Engineering - part two


In the first part of this article, we focused on the significance of looking at the retail store from customers'' point of view, not from an owner's perspective. We also discussed the importance of exceeding customers' expectations and directing the store's functions towards customer experience, not customer service. 


In the following article we will consider some extra details of Customer Experience Engineering procedure.

Today, even online retailers are learning that customer experience is the key to successful retail. It's why we see so many online-only retailers opening their own brick and mortar stores today. Even the ones who said it was taboo to do so like have opened stores. They are trying to monitor and gauge the customer experience with products so they can try and translate that online. 

I remember sitting on a panel of experts at a retailing conference a few years back and everyone on the panel was predicting the doom of brick and mortar. In fact, everyone on the panel (except me) said that stores would be gone within 10 years - that the only reason to have a store was to serve as a pickup point for online orders. 

While it's true that retailers have used stores for online order pickup as part of a broader omni-channel strategy, the demise of the retail brick and mortar store is not. The reason I gave for my belief that stores would never go away was customer experience. And today, the big guns like Amazon are proving me right. But you didn't have to be a retail prophet to get this right - you simply need to be a customer yourself. 

Here are 5 Tips to Help You Become an Experience Engineer. 

  1. 1.     Mystery Shop your Store.

It starts with the customer experience in your store. So, as part of a regular rhythm, have your store shopped and measure the experience. While I agree that cleanliness has an effect on experience, resist the urge to ask those types of questions of your shoppers. Here is a great article to help you get started. Use your friends. Use your best customers. I used to give my customers $20 to secret shop for me. 

2.     Train Experience and not Selling.

Now that may sound like fighting words to you, but the point is that today service is selling and selling is service. So, when you have your employees focused on the customer experience, you are also focusing them on selling since they are one and the same today. Customers don't want a sales department and a service department. They want one person who can do it all for them. 

3.     Reward Experience.

We know the adage "what gets rewarded gets repeated." Too many retailers simply reward the top sales person and neglect the experience. Consider this, it's possible to sell a lot of merchandise, but deliver a poor experience. The difference is those customers don't come back. They simply go somewhere else and look for a better experience. And often times, that is online. The point is, you never see them again. Only the ones who get a proper experience with their expectations exceeded become loyal. I realized (later than I wished) that I was reading the top salesman but he was not providing the best service. He was good for me today, but not next year when I went against the same numbers. So I created a weighted ranking system we called the "power rankings" that made sure service and repute customers counted more than sales results. 

Follow the tips in the 3rd part of this article.

 Compiled in Editorial Board of Retail iran



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