In our recent Verint Webinar featuring Forrester’s Brendan Witcher and Sur La Table’s Rachel Frederick, we heard a riveting exploration of why less than 1% of customers say they’re having excellent experiences.
Meanwhile, senior leadership seems to consistently say that they are delighting customers. Why is there a disconnect? Brendan thinks to answer this question, we need to ask another one: “Do we really understand our customers?”
While we will share some insight below on how you can answer this question for yourself, we invite you to listen to the on demand recording of the webinar: How to Successfully Connect Digital and In-store Experiences.
Becoming Customer Obsessed: A Cultural Challenge
Most companies today recognize the need for a great customer experience. That’s why experience management is a focus for so many brands and why the topic is top of mind for the C-suite down to front line employees. Yet despite decades of focus in this area, some organizations still struggle with the cultural challenge of customer obsession.
It isn’t enough to pursue a good customer experience to fulfil a monetary goal. The goal must be exceptional customer experience. The rewards for this obsession are the business results that follow.
Rachel Frederick of Sur La Table pointed out that no matter how great your personalization programs may seem to you, one of the most important things is that you be “willing to listen” to what your customers are saying. This point is sometimes forgotten, especially when companies are balancing two or more primary channels. Looking at channels in silos can provide faulty information, especially if you aren’t proactively listening to customer feedback.
Building great CX goes beyond merely addressing customer problems. In the world of customer experience, what you don’t say can be as important as what you do. By knowing your customer, you can avoid irrelevant or low-value communications in favour of more relevant ones. Put another way by Brendan Witcher, “If you’re saying things that aren’t moving the needle, then you’re missing out on messaging that could resonate.”
While Brendan discusses many ways organizations can shift toward customer obsession, one tip in particular stood out above the rest. “You can’t be an omnichannel brand without an omnichannel organization.”
What does this mean?
Your customers don’t see the data silos or the organizational silos, but they can feel them. If you want to deliver an omnichannel experience, it starts by breaking down the silos within your organization.
The Technical Dimension of Experience Management
Organizational change may be one side of delivering exceptional customer experiences, but the other key side is the technology you have in place. Brendan Witcher goes so far as to ask if it’s possible to “do the “sexy” work without doing the unsexy technical data work?”
While we wouldn’t say that the technical side is boring, he raises a good point in saying that the “wow” moment from your customer requires technology on the back end. To deliver an omnichannel experience, you need to be able to understand the experience on every channel. This is even and especially true when we talk about store locations and retail.
As stores transform to become better integrated with digital environments, the experience will continue to blur. If product reviews are available online, a store can make them available with a simple QR code that most customers can access by phone. “If I like these things online,” Brendan asks, “why wouldn’t I want them offline?”
Getting these experiences to feel seamless helps your brand feel omnichannel to customers. Even if different teams manage the in-store experience and the website—by using technology to connect the two experiences, a greater whole becomes visible and possible.
Another powerful technique is leveraging customer data in real time to drive better engagement. Consider company payments apps. Those tools may appear as mere rewards and convenience for your customers, but they can provide behavioural data that your organization can use to design a better experience for both that individual and customers as a whole. By tracking customer purchases, store visits and behaviour, you can know what patterns and flows customers participate in and how to influence them.
Knowing Your Customers Is a Journey in Itself
Breaking down organizational silos and using the full power of technology for the store experience are two parts of getting the customer experience right. However, finding success with either isn’t as easy as a single project or decision. By making the choice to put the customer first, to listen to customers, and to use technology to deliver a great customer experience, your organization can start down a path toward a more connected future.
The discussion in this blog only scratches the surface of Brendan Witcher and Rachel Frederick’s discussion in the webinar. We encourage you to view the recording, but if you only take one thing from this blog let it be these words from Brendan: “Break company assumptions. Don’t be behind or ahead of the customer.”
By keeping pace and challenging your assumptions, you can continue to make the experience better for your customers and deliver the most value at every interaction.