When shopping malls began dotting the American landscape in the late 1960s and 1970s, they presented a new and exciting customer experience.
Today, it shouldn’t be news to anyone that things have changed and malls in general are struggling. Discount retailers are partly to blame, but the real culprit is the internet. Why would you change out of your pajamas and scout for a parking place when you could buy the same stuff online, from the comfort of your couch?
As the Tampa Bay Times reports, malls are responding by seeking tenants who are “internet-proof”, providing something that you can’t just order up from Amazon. You don’t have to leave the couch to buy a new pair of pants, but you’ve got to come to the mall if you want to eat at California Pizza Kitchen. By attracting destination tenants, mall developers hope to keep occupancy levels up and bring in people who will also buy from other stores. Increasingly, malls include destinations like grocery stores and gyms.
That’s why, for example, a Saint Petersburg, Florida mall’s tenants include several spa/hair salon type businesses, an H&R Block, two eyeglasses stores, a shoe repair shop, a carpet and flooring store, a dentist and a tattoo parlor. Imagine getting your teeth cleaned, your taxes filed and a new tattoo, all in one trip!
Tesla announced that all of their cars will be self-driving cars. Wednesday’s announcement, delayed two days from the original announcement scheduled for Monday October 17th, stated that all of its cars will have the ability to drive themselves, referred to as level 5 autonomy.
Before the announcement, many experts and industry commentators had little idea what it would be. They knew, however, that while the delay of the big announcement for a couple of days is unusual for such a high-profile, public company, it wouldn’t likely cause any loss of confidence by their long-time fans.
Tesla Breaks Top 20 for Customer Experience
It’s safe to say at this point that Tesla has a loyal following. Tesla was the only carmaker that made the top 20 for Best Customer Experience. In the research mounted by Group XP, Tesla came in number 20. For Customer Experience ranking, the research team used four criteria, which included:
Customers are not loyal because of the Customer Experience you provide. They are loyal because of the Customer Experience they remember you provided. Furthermore, customers don’t remember the entire experience but only bits and pieces. It is important to get these memorable bits right, or your customer loyalty will certainly go to pieces.
The human memory isn’t as reliable as we would like to think. Don’t believe me? Try this: explain the Pythagorean theorem right now without Googling it. For all but a small majority comprised of middle and high school math teachers and well, “math people”, you didn’t remember, did you?
Okay…that was a bit of an unfair question because unless you use Euclidian geometry every day, you wouldn’t remember it. Let’s try something more mundane: what items did you buy at the market last Tuesday and how much did they cost? Stumped again? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. The chances are high that you don’t remember all of the details, particularly if it was uneventful.
We live in the data age. Data is collected about our personal behavior everywhere. From the searches we instigate online to the products we order (and when) to the movies we choose in our Netflix Queue, sometimes it seems as if every move we make ends up in a database somewhere.
So why this sudden interest in whether we watched all 14 seasons of ER or returned the Samsung Galaxy S5 Phone Case? In a word: Personalization.
The Era of Personalized Marketing is Here
Personalized marketing, aka one-to-one marketing, uses the data in these databases of seemingly insignificant details about your personal behavior to present a unique product offering built just for you. Each of these recorded actions sifts down into the database as 1 and 0s. Then, it waits for the time when a marketer wants to find every person that searched for a Pet Rock last holiday season so he or she can target them with the release of the fabulous new and improved Pet Rock 2.0. Although, to be honest, I don’t think it is possible to improve on the perfection of Pet Rock 1.0!
When striving for the next level of Customer Experience, it is critical to understand how your customers make decisions. However, it’s probably not happening the way you think it is.
As Customer Experience Consultants, we see our clients presume that customer evaluations of an experience occur at the product level. This presumption is only partway true. People do evaluate at the product level, meaning how much it costs or how it tastes, and it is important. However, people also reference their other expectations, as in how much they think your product should cost or how delicious they predict it will taste.
Sometimes, even with clear expectations and the ability of the product to meet those expectations, there are other influences on the customer’s evaluation of his or her experience. These influences can be surprising.