No one said the path forward in 2021 would be easy.
Over the past several months, a growing number of research studies points to the extreme customer upheaval many brands have endured. As consumers were increasingly disappointed by the brands they patronized, they took advantage of the ease with which they could simply shop around online – and keep trying until they found something that made them feel valued, cared for, and satisfied with their purchase.
I’ve written a lot lately about the urgent need for consumer brands to reconnect with lost or at-risk customers – and to more deeply engage with the ones that have, so far, stuck around. For so many sales organizations, 2021 continues to be a customer experience crisis. When I read Heikki Väänänen’s recent piece for Forbes, I appreciated his perspective on what retail businesses will have to do, starting right now, in order to build their businesses.
While he points to three necessary steps, he also underscores a key – and often overlooked – success factor: the mindset of the leadership team.
What is capturing – and holding – your attention these days? Is it laser focused on CX and its undeniable connection to your ability to grow relationships, retain your customers, and increase profitability? According to Väänänen, that’s where it needs to be.
I agree. And I’ll go a step further. You can’t get there without a solid customer contact partner who fully embraces your brand mission and delivers on your brand promise, on every call, with every customer. When you’re ready to start looking for a better customer care partner, please reach out. We would love to talk!
Creating A Customer Experience Growth Mindset Is The Key To Growing Retail Businesses In 2021
By Heikki Väänänen
In a time of unprecedented demand and increased adoption of online ordering, customer experience (CX) data has never played a more important role in increasing customer retention and ensuring businesses continue to succeed. In fact, statistics from Zendesk’s 2021 CX Trends Report show that 50% of customers will switch to a competitor after just one bad experience.
Despite knowing this, some retail businesses are still failing to foster a mindset that promotes the utilization of customer experience data to drive decision-making within the company and, as a result, are not equipping themselves with the tools they need to grow and take on new challenges. In order for businesses to successfully navigate the evolving retail landscape in 2021, they must turn their attention to optimizing customer experience as a means of building and maintaining longer-term relationships with customers and facilitate lasting growth within the organization, all the while accounting for budgetary restraints, balancing both cost and ROI.
Throughout 2020, as many retail establishments were forced to close their doors and move exclusively online, it was quickly recognized that it is no longer the case that good customer service is equal to good customer experience. If COVID-19 has taught the world one thing, it is that consumer expectations surrounding how retail businesses operate and the way in which we shop both online and in-store have shifted.
As a result, businesses must now take steps to adjust the focus of the organization and make valuing customer experience a priority while implementing quick changes to avoid financial strain. Only through implementing new operational strategies can transforming businesses ensure that they are truly meeting the changing needs of the customer.
Set Targets and Invest Time
It is no secret that growth is not something that happens overnight, but rather as a result of an accumulation of small wins over a long period of time. Typically, within retail, there are a number of operations that can be improved upon if only the business took the time to gather data sets, such as feedback, to help understand the pain points of its business and customers.
In order to support a company-wide shift in mindset and work towards embracing customer experience as a priority within an organization, retail businesses must first set CX targets for employees to work towards. These targets should sit in-line with both what is appropriate in the current market and the organization’s overall strategy. As such, targets should not be too high, as it will become too expensive to implement, nor should they be too low, because businesses may end up losing their customer base. In the end, targets are determined by strategy. Some companies will choose to prioritise lower prices or a large selection of goods over CX, but each company’s decision will have lasting impact down the line.
These targets could include improving Net Customer Value Growth (the difference between the number of new customers the business gained in a given period, minus the number of customers the business lost during the same period), receiving a certain number of high net promoter scores (how likely is it that a customer would recommend the business to a friend, family member or colleague) or working to increase the number of word-of-mouth referrals as a result of good customer experience online or in-store.
By creating an environment where it is common practice to consistently set qualitative targets for customer experience, retail business leaders can ensure that CX plays a key role in employee KPIs and thus motivates staff to consider it as a crucial part of their jobs.
Analyze Data and Encourage Creativity
When looking to change the mindset of the business and incorporate CX as a foundation from which to propel growth and development, it is important that stakeholders are given the opportunity to get involved in the process.
As such, every employee within the business should regularly be offered the chance and encouraged to assess the company data (including CX data) that has been collected, particularly when it is relevant to their role and the work they do within the business.
Involving the entire company in the analysis of all data, including sets such as basket size, footfall, cost and CX data, regardless of whether that be marketing staff at headquarters, or employees working on the ground in-store, will help employees to understand and also encourage them to propose any future changes that might be needed to keep the competitive position in the market. Another advantage is that it ensures each employee becomes part of the conversation, helping them to understand the many small changes that will eventually enable the company to reach new heights…
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Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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