Big brands should be looking beyond traditional metrics like return on investment and measuring the return on experience, according to the latest Global Consumer Insights Survey from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC).
In their 10th annual survey of over 21,000 consumers globally, they note the age of a digitally savvy consumer means a superior customer service is how retailers stand out from the crowd.
Here’s an insight into the value of the customer experience, and how PwC believed retailers should measure its effect.
Return on Experience
“Whether your organisation sells household goods, health services, cars or financial services, delivering a superior experience will be what makes you a winner” – John Maxwell, PwC’s Global Consumer Markets leader.
The customer experience has increasingly been a catchphrase in retail over recent years, with big-name brands rolling out all sorts of technology and initiatives in a bid to offer a frictionless purchasing journey for their clientele.
From smart fittings rooms that offer suggestions on accompanying fashion items to shopping via social media, and augmented reality that allows consumers to virtually experience products and buy them, the pursuit of a customer journey that entertains, delights and values the consumer is seen as the bridge that unites the online and bricks and mortar world.
PwC argues this customer experience is now so critical, retailers and customer-facing organisations should be measuring it with “laser focus”, introducing a metric they call “return on experience” or ROX.
Measuring the Return on Experience
PwC explains: “Measuring return on experience, or ROX, will help companies understand the return they’re getting on investments made into the parts of the organisation directly related to how customers interact with their brand.”
But how do you quantify the customer experience and what criteria should you be measuring?
They propose six essential areas to measure and focus on ROX.
1. Fuse customer experience and employee experience
Employees are at the frontline of any consumer’s interaction with a brand, and PwC notes their experience and attitude to a brand will directly translate to that of the consumer.
“For retail, ROX starts with employees who know the product, understand how to bundle or accessorise products, and are clued in about current ‘cool’ factors,” PwC reflects.
2. Build communities with a purpose
Whether it’s through social issues, value, quality, the history of the brand or its environmental commitment, PwC explains fusing the customer experience with the employee experience is easier when both parties feel connected to and motivated by what an organisation does or stands for.
“It’s important to figure out what employees and customers care about and to communicate your shared values,” they note.
“Find opportunities for meaningful engagement with both internal and external audiences, especially using mobile and social tools, since engagement on these platforms is growing.”
3. Build on discrete moments in the customer journey
The digital era means customers can switch allegiance from one brand or product to the next via the simple push of a button or by searching the next alternative.
To combat this, PwC calls on retailers to create “magic moments” in the customer journey that forge an ongoing relationship and loyalty “beyond the next search”.
4. Understand your customer’s behaviours
To know what your customer wants, you need to understand them, which requires insightful data on your customer’s behaviours, attitudes and decision-making triggers in far more in-depth detail than just demographics.
“Armed with that information, you can bring together all of your commercial investments — including promotions, content, e-commerce and advertising — to deliver seamless, end-to-end experiences tailored to a specific shopping context.”
5. Treat data with respect and deliver value in exchange
PwC notes although customers are willing to hand over their data, they expect it to come with a reward and they will walk away from a company who misuses it or fails to protect it.
“Anticipate this demand and rethink how you use consumer data, how much control you give consumers, how you value data, and how you’ll deliver value by using it.
“Consumers are making it imperative for companies to be transparent about their data policies and proactive about publicising the value they offer in exchange for it.”
6. Win the trip
Ultimately winning the customer experience race is about anticipating your customer’s needs and making it easier for them throughout the customer journey.
Whether it’s through offering a choice, providing education, facilitating easy navigation of products and services or delivering customer service that is second to none, PwC notes ROX is about consumers easily attaining their goal.
“For instance, by connecting consumers’ online research with their in-person visits, you can win the trip and deepen loyalty.”