Customer Experience is a deceptively simple concept. That it should be a key focus for retail might seem obvious, but that wasn’t always the case.
A quick online search reveals that more and more executives are now discussing customer experience. But does that mean they’re getting it right?
A much repeated quote reads that by 2020 CX will be more important than product or pricing. And yet here we are. Still debating its importance.
“By 2020 CX will overtake product and price as the key differentiator”Jacada Group
Modern Customer Expectations
Over the last twenty years, technology has changed how we as customers shop. In the digital world, customers have lower attention spans, are increasingly mobile first and trust friends and family over advertising. Modern customers demand excellent service delivered at speed. While the shopping experience has to be as convenient as possible, the logistics of retail are more complex than ever before.
The store was once the ultimate showroom and transactional touch point for commerce – but this has changed. As retail futurist Doug Stephens says, it’s not so much ‘what retailers sell, but how they sell it”. Today’s shoppers are fully immersed in omni-channel, and marrying the convenience of online with the tangible pleasures of in-store has become the ultimate ambition for forward thinking retailers.
CX is the sum total of every touch point with your brand. Owning the ‘customer journey’ is a complex job. Digital and physical touch points must complement each other flawlessly. Consistently meeting and exceeding customer expectations is the new normal. Being able to measure the customer experience at every step is simply mission critical.
Customer Experience Today
For Annette Franz, CEO and founder of CX Journey, customer experience is not something to be taken lightly. “It’s hard work. You’ve got to move mountains. And silos.” Ignoring CX today, is simply kicking the can down the road.
“Headlines like ‘CX will be the only competitive advantage in 2020’ kicks the can down the road for those companies…ignoring (or not getting it) that the customer experience is critical today.”Annette Franz, CEO and Founder CX Journey
While many retailers now speak to CX, there is still a problem with executing against expectations. A 2005 report by Bain & Company identified a ‘delivery gap’. While 80% of companies believe they provide a superior proposition, only 8% of customers agree.
Many businesses still do not have a consistent way to measure customer experience on the ground. And until this is fixed, the delivery gap will be here to stay.
To learn more about CX in modern retail, explore the other posts from this series.
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