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The 3 I’s of retail customer experience: Intelligence, improvement and impact


The CX world has been turned on its head. Even before the global pandemic changed customer journeys forever, many organizations experienced the rapid growth of Customer Experience (CX) teams, only to see teams slashed just a few years later due to lack of performance. 

In today’s world of big data, the downfall of many CX programs is a foundation built on data collection and measurement methodologies that drive massive amounts of information, which lose sight of business goals.

For retailers looking to increase the return on investment of CX programs, it is critical to start by focusing on specific organizational goals designed to address real business problems. By keeping three simple tenets in mind, Intelligence, Improvement, and Impact, business leaders can collect the right data to help uncover what truly matters to customers, removing data silos, keeping teams focused on driving incremental improvements and realizing real business impacts. 

#1. Intelligence

Ensuring retailers have the information needed to make reliable and timely business decisions hinges on having a single source of truth for key metrics. If, for example, a regional store manager observes declining monthly upsell rates at a particular location, wouldn’t it be important for that manager to be able to investigate the underlying causes without manually analyzing multiple, disjointed data sets?

By pulling together multiple sources of information, like Point of Sale data, Voice of Customer feedback, and results from Daily Cleaning Inspections, retailers may uncover that on days where cleanliness inspections score 10% lower than normal, an increase in negative online reviews related to the location were observed, and upsells were 45% lower than the store average. Retailers can also then hone in on key drivers of performance, correlating things like team members, time of day or day of the week that potentially influence results.

In the past, generating this kind of deep analysis was challenging. But nowadays, it is not necessary to have a data analyst on payroll to gather meaningful insights. There are tools that exist to help retailers easily uncover the correlation between customer satisfaction and financial metrics, as well as the underlying key drivers that lead to satisfaction. Finding an easy-to-use CX intelligence tool optimized specifically for multi-location businesses will empower retailers to gather a deeper understanding of the customer journey, enabling them to anticipate patterns, needs and expectations that influence business outcomes.

#2. Improvement

The next step on the path of maximizing ROI is to drive high-value actions that result in continuous business improvements. Armed with real-time CX intelligence, retailers can easily act on the feedback driven by Voice of Customer programs. This can result in small incremental improvements that when taken as a whole, have significant impacts on overall business goals. 

Using the example of the regional store manager above, in the past, this manager would have likely waited until month-end to analyze why monthly upsells were on the decline. In contract, this same store manager would now be able to use cleanliness scores as a leading indicator to flag potential problems, and systematically trigger automated workflows to assign tasks that address issues around store cleanliness, such as enhanced cleaning audits.  

With the right intelligence at a retailer’s disposal, success criteria can easily be defined for critical points along the customer journey, enabling the effective management of the cases that fall below desired performance benchmarks. This ultimately results in a mindset of continuous and incremental improvements becoming part of the DNA of the business.

#3. Impact

When brands evolve beyond the arbitrary collection and measurement of data, a holistic organizational view of the customer journey can be achieved. By starting with goals that address key business challenges, retailers can make sure they are focusing on delivering the CX intelligence needed to drive continuous improvement, resulting in real business impacts for the organization.

By keeping in mind the 3 I’s of retail customer experience, retail businesses can create CX programs that promote organizational change and drive-revenue generating improvements that can be proven and validated to stakeholders. Close the loop on every interaction, build a company-wide culture committed to the improvement of customer experience, and deliver real CX impact more effectively and efficiently than ever before.



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