Call me a cynic, but after working in marketing for as long as I have, I’m guilty of an eye roll or two after the mention of a customer journey. After writing about it for more than a decade, I can’t help but wonder if anyone is still listening. But this past year has restored my confidence that as CX and advertising professionals, we are making a difference. We continue to refine the customer journey, making it better and more personalized with relevant, positive connections during every interaction. And companies are taking our methods to heart to offer more connected, frictionless experiences for their customers.
Industry Insights: The New Connected Retailer, a recent Oracle CX virtual summit, touched on several customer achievements and provided context for new market trends. More specifically, it highlighted what I think (as a consumer) has come to be the new expectation: a connected experience with a brand for the lifetime that I own or use a product—one that builds trust and customer loyalty at every interaction.
Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Serving eBusiness and Channel Strategy Professionals Sucharita Kodali and National Retail Federation Vice President of Member Relations and Strategic Partnerships Artemis Berry kicked off the event with their insights on the importance of getting the omnichannel experience right. When it comes to meeting these new customer expectations, speed to response is critical to satisfy today’s consumers. And the shift toward the digital-first thinking and technological transformations we’ve seen during the last year to enable and enhance both store and online experiences is here to stay.
Sean Kelly, vice president of marketing and communications for ABC Fine Wines & Spirits, shared his experiences with operational agility and how to pivot quickly to handle consumer shifts. Particularly during the past year, ABC Wines executed a new strategy around a new set of customer expectations in a manner that demonstrated they were listening to customers, regardless of engagement channel. From introducing new technology to revising management processes, Kelly stressed that your team must be ready to adapt and establish new ways to connect with consumers to keep up with changing times.
Emily Rudin, head of loyalty strategy and growth for Oracle, shared her insights about loyalty as a by-product of exceptional experiences. “Inspiring loyalty is about connecting with consumers at every single touchpoint,” she said. “Consumers are looking for dynamic, real-time engagement at any time of day across any channel. And they will often switch brands to find the superior customer service and experiences they’ve come to expect.”
This connection she mentioned made me reflect on my own recent exceptional customer experience. During the pandemic, I moved to a new city. As you can imagine, every purchase had to be carefully planned and double- or triple-checked, especially if it involved an installation. While I had a number of positive experiences, one stood out to me above all the rest—an online retail experience that has set new expectations for any product I buy in the future.
Last winter, after a lot of shopping around, I bought a new Dell PC with all the bells and whistles. The purchase experience was spot on, but there was one twist: I had a question about delivery. Because of my upcoming move from Toronto to Montreal, I wasn’t sure which address to have it shipped to, so a sales rep called to collect additional information. After speaking to the rep, we decided on Toronto, and on delivery day, I received my new PC as ordered. Everything was as it should be. Then came moving day.
While unpacking and getting settled in my new place, my friends and I moved my workstation without locking the legs, and my still very new computer crashed onto my brand-new hardwood floors. I was in shock but couldn’t stop to deal with the issue at that moment. After two days, I called Dell to explore my options. The rep took my information and reminded me that I had purchased the premium warranty. More specifically, he reminded me of my initial conversation with the Dell sales rep who sold it to me. Long story short: Dell sent a courier to pick up my PC from Montreal and fixed it within four days. To top if off, I was en route to Toronto at the time, and they offered to ship it to my location of choice once it was fixed. They even followed through with a courtesy call. Now that’s quality customer service.
When we make a purchase, big or small, we have expectations about how it should go. We want to know we’re covered, that the retailer (whether brick-and-mortar, online-only, or a combination of manufacturer and retailer) has our back throughout our customer journey. Dell had mine from the minute I configured my new computer through delivery and repair, even after I dropped it on the floor. It was a completely connected, omnichannel retail experience—one I will remember for future purchases and one I’ll be sure to tell others about.
Successful retailers know such connected experiences must now be the norm. It’s what consumers want and expect with every purchase. As Oracle Global Managing Director of Consumer Markets Michael Forhez shared as he closed the summit, “In this world, it’s essential to be a connected retailer. When you truly know who your customers are and what they want, you’ll be better able to meet their needs at any point in time, becoming a true master of the customer experience.”
Want to hear more from these industry leaders about how Oracle can help you deliver a frictionless customer experience across various channels to drive long-term loyalty? Watch the replay!
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