How can retailers be sure they are giving customers a reason to shop with them again?
Recent results indicate that most major bricks-and-mortar retailers in Australia have a lower than the average net promoter score (NPS) for their category. While results like this should be taken with a grain of salt, there is still a key message to take from this: Australian shoppers are not, for the most part, singing from the rooftops about their shopping experiences. Or perhaps more fitting for today’s society, they are not texting, tweeting or posting to their social network – who speaks to anyone in real life anymore anyway…
The question is, why aren’t they?
Many retailers assume their sales and customer service standards define an experience that will make their customers want to shop with them again, tell their friends about them and leave feeling highly satisfied with their experience. The reality is, customers don’t know your training standards when they walk into a store. The truth? They don’t really care, they simply have a shopping experience (which may or may not result in a purchase) and leave the store feeling either really great about it, indifferent or perhaps disappointed.
We all know the common ‘retail hygiene’ standards that relate to financial and brand metrics, like well-presented staff, or offering an additional item at Point-of-Sale (POS), are critical to sales and brand image. However, research shows that while delivering on basic hygiene factors is enough to ensure that you are not turning customers off, it’s not enough to ensure that you are turning customers on. Encouraging staff to deliver the ‘magic’ that turns a customer from satisfied to delighted is what will really drive customer loyalty and distinguish your brand from your competitors.
Wouldn’t it be powerful to know which elements of an in-store experience with your brand will increase the likelihood that your customers will leave wanting to come back, and shop with you again. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find out what elements make consumer want to tell their friends about their great experience with you, and what made them be highly satisfied when they left your store?
Yes? But how?
Ask them. Not randomly, out of the blue. Ask them as they leave the store (via exit surveys) or following a transaction (via email, text or survey invitation on receipt) so that they are answering questions while the in-store experience is still fresh in their mind. Test your current standards, potentially along with some new elements under consideration. Select your Customer Experience (CX) metric/s of choice and run analysis to determine which elements are strongly correlated with the metric.
We worked with Muffin Break to help them identify what the ‘delight factors’ were for their customers in-store via a tailored Drivers of Delight study. With the results, Muffin Break were able to allocate their ‘drivers of delight’ a stronger weighting in their mystery shopping program and communicate this to frontline teams. This resulted in driving positive behaviour change and allowed Muffin Break to recognise and celebrate the success of these metrics being delivered consistently. As a result, over 12 months, these drivers out-performed the other standards measured in their mystery shop program.
Like Muffin Break, once you know what the delight factors are for your brand, you can incorporate them into your training standards, or emphasise them further (if already included) and educate your frontline staff on what matters most to your customers. You can then measure and heavily weight the drivers of delight for your business via on-going measurement programs. The key here is for your frontline staff to (a) know what matters to consumers and why (ie. customers told you, these were not just standards that were developed by head office) and (b) to consistently deliver on those standards.
It actually doesn’t matter which CX metric you choose – it’s how you operationalise it throughout your business and use the insights to create increased customer value and improved experiences. Select the CX metric which best suits your culture so you can determine the drivers of it. The final step is to measure what matters and operationalise the insights so they can be easily adopted as a ‘way of doing business from the boardroom to the shop floor.
Don’t be fooled in thinking C-Suite roles are responsible for all business excellence. In retail, the most powerful position in your company can be the team member, sales assistant, store manager, customer service representative, and advisor – your frontline team. They have the power to make or break the experience for your customers which could either result in a customer turning into your next brand ambassador or walking straight out of your store and into a competitor. Which would you choose?
Kate Gorman is the National Account Director for The Realise Group. The Realise Group has been helping some of Australia’s leading brands understand their customer experience. Learn more at therealisegroup.com.au