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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Customer Experience Retail Reality Check

Visual customer experience, Wynn Las VegasWith Spring officially in place, I sense an opportunity to conduct a retail reality check on your customer experience.

The following resources may help to jumpstart the process and get you thinking about the customer experience you create. They all include lists with related elements...

In the June 2009 issue of DDI Magazine, two articles caught my attention: Choreographing the complete brand experience and 5 ways to build a positive in-store customer experience.

Unfortunately, I can't find links to them so you'll have to rely on my interpretation.

Choreographing the complete brand experience
I love the use of the term 'choreography' when it comes to retail [or brand] experience. A memorable experience truly depends on "seamless group synchronization." With that term in mind, consider doing the following as you embark on a retail reality check:

1. Auditing your business: what differentiates you, who are your customers, what do you sell and are all of your elements aligned?
2. Examining your competition: how much do you overlap?
3. Objectively reviewing your store environment: does it communicate all that you identified in your audit?
4. Testing, obtaining feedback, implementing and retesting in a continuous feedback loop that connects you with your customers.

5 ways to build a positive in-store customer experience
This article highlights how important it is to create a positive in-store experience to connect customers to your brand and facilitate purchasing. "The store remains the most important marketing tool, as it is the only place the actual product, the decision-maker and the money come together at one time." To do so:

1. Analyze your target market.
2. Tailor messages so they connect with what is meaningful to your core audience.
3. Make sure that you place signage where it makes most sense for your customers [can they see it?].
4. Create custom visual designs to better engage customers.
5. "Focus and refocus."

Retail Customer Experience shares insights from Forrester's Bruce Temkin in 7 keys to customer experience which includes:

Making customer experience a priority.
Truly understanding your customers.
Listening to customers not just via social media channels, but also traditional ones.
Embracing customer service.
Ensuring that your brand stands for something real.
Engaging your employees.
Understanding that customer experience affects customer loyalty, which in turn influences profitability.

Also from Bruce Temkin, The customer experience checklist which further concretizes the seven keys above:

There is a clear definition of target customers.
The needs of target customers are well understood.
There are clear objectives for how the project will impact target customers.
The experience is designed for every stage of the customer lifecycle, from initial roll-out to ongoing support.
There is a plan for testing the impact on target customers.
There are resources and time allotted to iterating on the design to improve customer experience.
There is a plan for gathering ongoing feedback to monitor the customer experience over time.
There is a clear definition of success, for both the company and for target customers.

Yes, there are similarities in these lists. I find though, that multiple takes on a similar topic help me internalize better what I need to do. Is is the same for you?

How do you go about doing a customer experience retail reality check?


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