Customer Experience - What Does This Really Mean And Can It Be Delivered?
The perception of good customer service is subjective. Everyone has their own unique requirements so customer service often means something different to different people.
The concept of good customer experience is much the same; however, customer experience also extends through to the end user.
Customer experience is often viewed as an exciting business opportunity. Studies have shown that retailers who provide leading customer experience have superior sales revenue growth. On average, customers that had the best experience spend 140% more than those who had the worst. For a retailer either entering the market or trying to improve the perception and reputation of its brand, the question is “HOW can good customer experience be delivered?”
On the face of it, the decision for retailers to turn to a third party solution provider or manage the process themselves does not appear tricky. If only this were true.
The decision to outsource specific or all elements of a retailers’ end to end supply chain is a huge decision that can have a massive impact on business strategy. The decision whether to put the groundwork and effort into developing a successful relationship with a third party provider or investing the time and resources into a retailer’s own infrastructure is far from simple and has to be viewed with a longer term goal in mind. The biggest factor is whether a retailer has the relevant expertise within its organisation and can it keep up with external advances in the marketplace. If this expertise is not already within the business often the natural decision is to outsource.
Outsourcing allows both the retailer and third party provider to do what they do best, where experts in their chosen fields will keep up to date with the latest technology, techniques, trends and consumer demand. Trying to be a jack of all trades puts a huge pressure on retailers that can be alleviated by forming a partnership with a third party provider.
Strides in low cost global manufacturing combined with
greater supply chain velocity has resulted in a marketplace that is becoming
increasingly disposable. At a time when consumer patience is at an all-time low
and our demands are at an all-time high, managing consumers’ needs and
expectations can determine the success or demise of a business.
With the explosion of global commerce we are, strangely, further detached than ever from the businesses we buy from. We have become more and more reliant on virtual salesmen, influencers, and constant social media/viral campaigns feeding advice about the ever-increasing list of products they want us to buy, which leaves us both more informed and more demanding than we ever have been. Expectations are at an all-time high with consumers demanding 24/7 purchasing power, faster speed to market and simpler, hassle free ways to return unwanted products at no further cost.
Where many of the old stalwarts of the retail world struggle to acclimatise to the fast changing retail landscape, others such as the rapidly expanding e-retailers are at the forefront of the retail revolution, pioneering the latest technology to suit their ambitions and forging paths into uncharted e-commerce territory allowing them to not just meet but exceed the end users’ ever-changing needs. The movement from single point stock holding and linear supply chain processes to omnichannel interactions being driven by enhanced engagement through tablets and mobile devices has transformed the global marketplace into a matrix of e-buyers.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your shopping basket………BREXIT. For any business, uncertainty is a threat that can have an impact on growth. Whilst BREXIT offers as many potential opportunities as it does pit-falls, to take advantage of these, it is vital that a preferred partner has a clear understanding of the retailer’s vision for the future and is able to fully support this.
The world of global commerce is currently ‘challenging’ however, for those businesses transitioning from the traditional bricks and mortar model to an omnichannel offering, the challenge of how to manage the evolution is even greater. Having a robust, defined strategy and a strong partner to support is vital.
It is essential that supply chain partners can provide the necessary experience and knowledge to not only deliver credible end to end supply chain models that are aligned with a retailer’s own brand values but that also have the strength and size to implement a sustainable, global solution.
Choosing a partner that
ticks all the boxes, however, isn’t simple or easy and can be both a timely and
daunting process. The wrong decision can be catastrophic to trade, finance and indeed
customer experience so having confidence that any chosen organisation has the
capability and vision to meet the goals of any long-term plans is vital.
basic definition of customer experience is “The product of an
interaction between an organisation and a customer over the duration of their
by definition, omnichannel has so many touchpoints between an organisation, its
providers and its end users that this is not a simple task and any successfully
delivered product is the result of a collaborative approach and a real
understanding of the retailers’ mission statement and future goals.
Close contact, between retailer and chosen partner, enables all parties to not only facilitate regular progress reviews but affords the opportunity to learn more about the brand values and aspirations of each party as they traverse the process, and having a partner whose values are aligned with the retailers is a valuable asset.
As IT has advanced, so has visibility of the supply chain, putting everyone from the smallest to the largest providers on equal footing. So with a set of basic requirements that anyone can achieve, customer experience becomes more about the quality of solution, creation and delivery. An eyes wide open approach based on innovation and future proofing should be the cornerstone of any project and long-term competitiveness should be a key driver for any partner.
So, customer experience does exist, we can quantify it and it can be delivered. Once there is a clear strategy for growth, a defined expectation of customer experience and a chosen partner who not only has the size and pedigree required to meet the goals of the retailer but who’s brand values and project plans are aligned then the expectation of retailer and consumer has every chance of being met in both the short and long-term which leads to a positive customer experience.