So a couple of months ago, Lorraine and I headed out to our local Jeep dealership. And thus began an excellent case study in how NOT to treat your customers.
When we arrived, I told the salesman I wasn’t going to buy anything that day. But the salesman cornered me into a negotiation anyway. I sat in an uncomfortable chair for most of the afternoon while this fellow disappeared time and again, emerging each time with a new lower price written on a sheet of paper.
Taking care of your best customers is an age-old concept. It has lasted all these years because it works. Loyalty programs are one of many ways you can do this for these top priority people. When it comes to loyalty programs, you cannot forget certain vital features, and according to a recent report, one of them is easier than you think.
In our customer experience consultancy, we spend a lot of time educating people about the components of a great customer experience. Some companies get it and they’re creating an emotional connection that brings them loyal fans.
But many others look to technology. If customers just had a gadget that could do more or electronic kiosks they could play with in the store, or a virtual reality app – well, then the customer experience would be great. But technology alone is never the answer.
If you haven’t read Jeff Bezos’ latest letter to his shareholders, put it on your to-do list pronto. There are many takeaways from his letter, but one that stands out to me most is this: “Obsess over customers, not competitors.”
Most companies are obsessed with their competitors. Their mission statements might suggest that they are dedicated to their customers, but in reality, all they do is constantly check up on what their rivals in business are up to and try to emulate them. Here’s the thing though. What works for their competitors, may not work for them even if they are in the same space. Moreover, it won’t work for their customers. As Bezos pointed out, the key to success is not to copy, match or one-up the rival. It lies in listening to your customer. Amazon listened, every step of the way and this is reflected in all that they do.
Retailers are using technology used in espionage efforts to remain relevant in today’s online shopping world. Throughout Europe and the U.S., brick and mortar retailers are employing high-tech spy techniques to obtain information about a shopper’s in-store experience—and using it to improve their Customer Experience.
Spy Tech and the Customer Experience
According to theTelegraph, Retailers are using installed technology to learn more about customers’ moment-to-moment experience. It can be motion detection sensors, software, thermal imaging cameras, or cameras hidden on a mannequin. Whatever technology the retailer uses, it is invisible to customers. The technology can read facial expressions, monitor heart rate changes (which could mean there is an emotional response to a stimuli), and detect pupil dilation (which could mean there is interest or, er, sexual stimulation). These physical reactions can be from any number of stimuli, but some examples relevant to the retail experience would be frustration about the inability to find what he or she needs, or feeling deep desire to buy a product or anxiety about the buying decision.
I was shopping for a graduation card the other day, and all of them seemed to say something like this: “Dream big and reach for the stars, your goals are within reach and you are on your way to an amazing future.”
If I was just getting out of school I would find this rather terrifying. I think I’d much prefer a hearty “Congratulations – well done!” instead of a bunch of vaguely inspirational words reminding me how far I had yet to go.