ABEL A. COR­REA, HEAD OF IT – STRAT­EGY & PROJECT GOV­ER­NANCE, ARVIND LIM­ITED

The Cus­tomer Ex­pe­ri­ence (CX) ex­er­cise is suc­cess­ful when a cus­tomer sees the or­gan­i­sa­tion talking of the cus­tomer’s ben­e­fit rather than the busi­ness profit, or at least a bal­ance be­tween cre­at­ing value for them and turnover.

Images Retail - - CONTENTS - About the author: Abel A. Cor­rea is Head of IT – Strat­egy & Project Gov­er­nance at Arvind Lim­ited

The End Re­sult of Cus­tomer Ex­pe­ri­ence Must Be Height­ened Re­la­tion­ship with the Con­sumer

Con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence does not nec­es­sar­ily mean dig­i­tal as pro­jected by the soft­ware ven­dors in the mar­ket. Dur­ing my days at Pi­ramyd Re­tail as Head of IT, we did some­thing dif­fer­ent. It was hot sum­mer sea­son in Mum­bai so we de­cided to give wa­ter­mel­ons (big ones) for any­one who shopped for Rs 500/- and above – no agenda for upselling but just a lit­tle fun for con­sumers while shop­ping. A cor­ner was also cre­ated for cus­tomers to take their pic­tures and keep the post­card we printed it on as a keep­sake. Those were the days when we cre­ated memories and re­la­tion­ships. To­day, such op­por­tu­ni­ties have quadru­pled with the coming of the Mil­len­ni­als. There is com­fort with the am­ple ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy. Gam­i­fy­ing the Selfie gen­er­a­tion.

Con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence is not just about

Giv­ing dis­counts

At­tach­ing a sales per­son (head count) to the con­sumer when they ar­rive at the store

Of­fer­ing Free Wifi (fo­cus on the out­come and not just the means) The end out­come of any CX has to be height­ened re­la­tion­ship with the cus­tomer and this can hap­pen only when the cus­tomer sees the or­gan­i­sa­tion talking of the cus­tomer’s ben­e­fit rather than the busi­ness profit, or at least a bal­ance be­tween cre­at­ing value for them and turnover.

Lot of re­tail­ers talk about cus­tomer loy­alty but the way to look at it in to­day’s gen­er­a­tion is how loyal is the re­tailer to its cus­tomer base. One needs to keep a keen eye out for change in cus­tomer be­hav­ior by min­ing POS data – for ex­am­ple: if a cus­tomer who used to buy Rs 800 shirt has started buy­ing a shirt for Rs 2200 could spell an op­por­tu­nity for the re­tailer to of­fer him high-end ac­ces­sories, or any­thing in the higher price range. De­liv­er­ing con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence on a tech­nol­ogy plat­form can­not be ful­filled if the fol­low­ing points are not taken care of:

PRO­CESSES: A high de­gree of cus­tomer cen­tric pro­cesses that are backed by an ap­pro­pri­ately em­pow­ered em­ployee base. My re­cent visit to a pizza store helped me un­der­stand this. I vis­ited a pizza place with my son and asked for an XYZ pizza. My son pointed out that there is an of­fer on the pizza that I had or­dered – Buy 1 Get 1 Free.

So, I asked for the same. It was then that the staff in­formed me that this was only for con­sumers who or­dered food on­line, and not for walk-in cus­tomers. Here I was be­ing de­prived of a ben­e­fit just be­cause I walked in. I spoke to the store man­ager and he re­sponded pos­i­tively. “Let me see what I can do,” he said. He made a call to some­one (pre­sum­ably im­por­tant) and just like that, they ex­tended the of­fer to me. End Re­sult – I walked out of the store happy. The Point of the Story: An

em­pow­ered em­ployee took care of cus­tomer de­light. Will I go there again with right ex­pec­ta­tions? Ab­so­lutely yes.

CLEAN MAS­TER DATA:

Your mas­ter data has to be ab­so­lutely clean and some­one should own that piece in re­tail. An ex­am­ple that comes to mind is

We as re­tail­ers send out email­ers dur­ing EOSS: “Please visit our stores as we are of­fer­ing 50 per cent dis­count”

Cus­tomer gets into his car, drives a few miles, takes the trou­ble of park­ing and then gets into the store only to find out that the store does not have his shirt size. Now the mer­chan­dis­ing and mar­ket­ing teams should have thought this through. They should have known that EOSS has only cut sizes kept in the store. The Mar­ket­ing team should have also known the cus­tomer’s size pref­er­ence, and hence should not have sent him the in­vite / pro­mo­tional mes­sage.

HORIZONTALLY CON­NECTED OR­GA­NI­ZA­TION IS AN AB­SO­LUTE MUST: Con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence gets de­liv­ered through var­i­ous touch points and any such touch point is a cul­mi­na­tion of in­ter­de­part­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion meet­ing the cus­tomer at that touch point. The Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment team should be aware of the event to make sure goods are de­liv­ered on time. The Mer­chan­dis­ing team should know which stocks need to be liq­ui­dated and the Mar­ket­ing team should clearly de­fine the set of cus­tomers that will be served through the event / touch point. Based on my mar­ket ob­ser­va­tion, de­spite higher reg­u­la­tory con­trols, banks in In­dia have un­der­stood the cus­tomer jour­ney far bet­ter than re­tail­ers. I see that all com­mu­ni­ca­tion from banks is crisp, pro­cesses are wellde­fined, and em­ploy­ees are well-in­formed.

While a lot of time is spent on dis­cussing “Dif­fer­en­tia­tors”, I be­lieve it also has a lot to do with con­sis­tency. Con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence must be con­sis­tently de­liv­ered and it’s a prom­ise that gets ful­filled even if it means mov­ing moun­tains to de­liver every time, on time.

Con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence starts from the point cus­tomer has de­cided to buy a prod­uct or stated his in­tent on so­cial me­dia and con­tin­ues till the cus­tomer has taken the prod­uct home and is us­ing it for his en­joy­ment. This means re­tail­ers must map the en­tire jour­ney in­clud­ing but – not lim­ited to – the re­turns pol­icy. I find that a lot of times, in­ter­nal teams do not fol­low the 80:20 prin­ci­ple while defin­ing the cus­tomer jour­ney and its pro­cesses. There will be fringe cases of some­one break­ing the rule (20 per cent), but then don’t de­prive 80 per cent of the cases.

Re­la­tions are built on a dia­logue where the cus­tomer has a voice. If your or­ga­ni­za­tion does not pro­vide the abil­ity (IT plat­form ap­proach) to have a dia­logue then don’t bother to worry about con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence.

I was on a late-night flight from Delhi to Ban­ga­lore re­cently, I or­dered a cup of noo­dles and did not like the con­tents, so I de­cided to write an email to the cus­tomer care and the mail bounced back – for­get get­ting a re­sponse. Great will be those re­tail­ers who have the abil­ity to con­vert things gone wrong into build­ing a bridge with the cus­tomer – it’s costly to ac­quire a new cus­tomer but cheaper to re­tain the ex­ist­ing ones.

Con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence starts from the point cus­tomer has de­cided to buy a prod­uct or stated his in­tent on so­cial me­dia and con­tin­ues till the cus­tomer has taken the prod­uct home and is us­ing it for his en­joy­ment.

**Th­ese views are of the Author in per­sonal ca­pac­ity.

Abel A. Cor­rea

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