Thanks to The Wise Marketer for the following.
Providing an excellent customer experience has never been more essential for retailers, according to research firm Rapide which has highlighted eight key strategies that should leave customers feeling more loyal and engaged.
Recent research suggests that 70% of customer defection is down to poor customer experiences, and that 96% of unhappy customers don't tell the company involved! And we've all heard that a 5% reduction in defection can increase profits by up to 50% (according to Bain & Co).
So, what are so many retailers missing when it comes to the customer journey, and what are the eight simple strategies that can help keep customers coming back repeatedly?
In brief, they are:
- Make all of your customer communications both convenient and relevant throughout the entire customer journey;
- Bring the online and offline worlds together seamlessly, so that customers see the same messages and offers no matter which channel they prefer to use when interacting with the brand;
- Embrace and empower your employees, because a good customer experience starts and ends with them;
- Engage your customers actively at every point of interaction;
- Turn "moments of truth" into moments of opportunity by allowing your customers to voice their ideas, opinions, praise, and complaints, and to tell you how they feel;
- Act on every piece of actionable insight you can gather, proving that customers are important to the brand;
- Mobilize and enable your brand advocates through every channel possible, including mobile and social media;
- Do everything in real-time, making sure that all information is gathered, processed, analyzed and acted upon immediately.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, no consumer experience happens as often, grabs share of wallet, and stimulates the senses more than grocery shopping. And in the face of commoditization the grocery sector has turned to the customer experience to help grow top lines and maintain margins.
The company reported that engaging today's shopper, who is usually armed with mobile apps and virtual offers, depends on offering exactly the right blend of self-service and helpful staff.
The report went on to define five key behaviors that companies can adopt to both enhance the customer experience and to create more value:
- Make it Fast!
Fast lines matter the most in convenience. Fast checkouts account for 30% of memorable great experiences. Be transparent with "waiting" by empowering customers with information on checkout times and wait times. Boost digital convenience and savvy with mobile checkouts and coupons that let shoppers check out on their own via smartphone apps and staff handheld devices.
- Create an emotional shopping experience
Create relationships with customers by evoking positive emotions based on what they care about. With 10% of premium customers willing to pay for a storewide discount loyalty program, personalize shopper experience by investing in robust loyalty programs to reward customers with personalized deals. Customers embrace brands that reinforce their lifestyles. For example, expand organic offerings to lure the fast-growing number of consumers who care about their organic lifestyle and are often willing to pay a premium for organic produce. With growing awareness of global warming and recycling, invest in sustainable solutions to bring shoppers in the door.
- Balance high-tech with high-touch
As the most important factor in determining preference, staff quality impacts where customers shop one-third of the time. As most customers still shop for groceries in person, invest in employees to deliver engaging experiences, motivating shoppers to return and employees to stay. While high-tech self-checkouts are essential, some customers feel more at ease with conventional methods and will pay a premium for attendant checkout to avoid technology difficulties.
- Avoid spoil
Shoppers are easily frustrated and 40% of customers never return after a bad experience. Customers often do not provide feedback to their grocers, but they are quick to warn their social networks instead. Create a vigorous social media strategy to listen intensely to your customers to fix issues and create incentives for customers to provide feedback. Develop a thorough, well-advertised service recovery strategy that includes a catch-all return policy.
- Empower customers to make satisfying choices
While 20% of shoppers rank product selection as a top purchase driver, customers are inundated with product information and seek ways to make easier shopping decisions. Invest in a labelling strategy to help customers cut their clutter. Establish yourself as a trusted go-to resource by offering recipes, nutrition tips and advice to create stronger relationships. Offer new product samples and let customers try new products and return them if they aren't satisfied.
With 98% of shoppers still shopping for groceries in a physical store, staff can make or break a shopping experience - and rude employees account for almost one third of bad experiences.
To keep customers coming back, grocery retailers need to make even greater use of the latest technologies and innovations - such as geo-tagged mobile coupons - in addition to other tried-and-true interactions (such as a cashier's friendly smile) in addressing the most demanding customers.