Friday Feb 20, 2015

Look Beyond Marketing When Considering Customer Experience by Gib Bassett

Most people think Customer Experience is about marketing, or the activities associated with the last mile of the shopping journey. However this misses the bigger picture of many factors that support a successful customer experience.

A great example of a company doing it right is 7-Eleven. As shown in this video, 7-Eleven leverages a common foundation for what it calls the “digital guest experience,” as well as its merchandising and accounting systems. In this way, 7-Eleven serves its customers personalized and mobile in-store offers. Where it goes beyond is in applying purchasing and behavioral insights to its merchandising and assortment strategies.

Less forward-thinking retailers could take a lesson from 7-Eleven’s approach. Consider the case of specialty retailer Wet Seal. I have followed Wet Seal for a few years – the company has been very progressive in its use of in-store mobile and social shopper engagement.

So I was surprised by recent news that the company was closing two-thirds of its stores. Reportedly, Wet Seal struggled to keep pace with fashion trends (style and price) – and experienced reduced foot traffic in the malls where it invested. Given their progressive shopper engagement practices, and the data and insights these efforts generate, I would have thought Wet Seal was in a better position to foresee changes in its customersand make different decisions regarding merchandise and assortments.

Wet Seal is not alone. Without an analytics-first approach to consumer engagement that encapsulates all facets of customer experience, retailers run the risk of focusing too heavily on the marketing aspect of the shopping journey.

For example, with deep analytics, Wet Seal would have noticed changes in customer behavior, such as greater price sensitivity, and merchandise indicators such as social chatter about preferences for competitor assortments. With such predictors of change in hand, Wet Seal could have altered pricing, promotion and assortments to stay ahead of customer preferences.

We should first accept that all shoppers are demonstrating connected behaviors, which make it essential and easy to understand what’s happening with them digitally. That’s certainly the case with 7-Eleven’s customers. Mobile and social channels can help shoppers navigate deals, alternatives and new customer experiences. Retailers can use this information to stay a step ahead.

In summary, retail customer experience should be based on an integrated view of the various business operations that support the customer’s experience. Marketing, store operations, online sales, merchandising, inventory, and service should operate off the same view of the customer providing agility and deep business intelligence.

Gib Bassett

CPG and Retail Industry Principal

Twitter @gibbassett

Wednesday Jan 22, 2014

Customer Experience is an ‘Outside In’ Job by Krassimira Iordanova

What Customers Want

As a consumer, customer experience is simple: you want to be served whenever you want, however you want (channels). You expect the company to know you and make relevant offers. If things go wrong, you expect quick fixes. You hate to repeat the same story you told the call center agent a week ago.

You also expect to be surprised in a positive way. Sometimes you really don't know what you want, but if they show you something cool, you might buy it.

For example, I remember browsing at Bungalow 8, a mind-blowing store for home furnishing in Mumbai. When I entered, they asked me "Ma'am, is there anything special you are looking for?" I said, "I'm not looking for anything in particular, but if you show me around, I might end up buying something I like." And I did.

Companies Have it ‘Inside Out’

As a company, you might have a tough time with all this customer experience stuff, because you're focused on process efficiency. Process efficiency is an ‘inside out’ view; customer experience is an ‘outside in’ view. To understand the difference, contrast most airlines’ boarding procedures (inside out) with Apple’s Genius bar (outside in). Which experience do you prefer?

A Change in Perspective

Customer Experience Journey Mapping helps you flip your perspective to ‘outside in’ so you can identify every moment of your customer’s experience, whether it is a specific interaction, or an entire relationship with your brand across touch points. As the Harvard Business Review says,

A company that manages complete journeys, would not only do its best with the individual transaction, but also seek to understand the broader reasons for… the call in the call center, address the root causes and create feedback loops to continuously improve interactions upstream and downstream..."

You can best visualize continuously improving interactions by diagramming your customer's journey across the buy and own lifecycle. This helps you see where you need to make changes. And if you deliver a great experience across this cycle, then it becomes an infinite loop where customers remain loyal because you deliver on your brand promise.

Take Action

Start cultivating an ‘outside in’ customer perspective of your organization by participating in a hands-on Journey Mapping Workshop. You will leave with practical insights you can apply right away.

Upcoming 2014 Journey Mapping Workshops:

Upcoming 2014 Journey Mapping Workshops in Europe:

Upcoming Journey Mapping Workshops in Asia-Pacific:

Find more information on journey mapping here.

Wednesday Dec 04, 2013

Humanizing the Digital Service Experience by JP Saunders

What if you could take your best Sales Rep, your best Service Rep, and your best Support Rep, fuse them into one person, and assign that person to each of your customers for truly personal service?  Now you can with the Oracle RightNow Virtual Assistant Cloud Service, released in November 2013! The Virtual Assistant provides everything you need to offer your customers the best personalized service during their online experience.

It has…

  • A custom branded face that can be tailored to appeal to your segment.
  • The foresight to know when to engage proactively and when to be on standby ready to assist on request
  • Robust, human-like conversational and language capabilities to truly understand and respond in HUMAN speak
  • Intelligence (with session memory) to remember and predict HUMAN intent (with deep Natural Language Processing)
  • Deep insights, access, and learning through its connectivity to data, channels, and knowledge to personalize the interaction
  • The ability to make related recommendations and offers during transactions to boost sales
  • The ability to know when to hand you off to the right channel (like chat or phone) based on the customer’s value and your agent’s availability

AND … it does all this while hand-holding customers through questions and answers, chats, and forms to ensure they get to resolution.

For more information on how a virtual assistant can help you deliver a radically different level of service to your customers, check out the demonstration of the Oracle RightNow Virtual Assistant Cloud Service.  To learn more about the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service November 2013 release, you can read the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service November 2013 Capabilities & Benefits data sheet or view the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service November 2013 Overview recording.


The place to get informed about customer experience and how it impacts your success.

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our RSS feed.


« December 2015