VoC Programs to Improve Customer Experience

A voice of the customer(VoC) program can be an integral part of delivering great customer experiences as long as the focus remains on understanding what to improve and how.camera

Voice of the customer programs are helpful in tracking customer complaints, choices and generally negative impressions. This is useful information if you know what to do with it. Monitoring customers and anticipating their intent is important but doing something with the information–quickly– will create more value for customers and shareholders than just focusing on getting the data.

The best VOC programs report human emotional responses as well as activities that can be counted. There is new observational technology such as video capture, motion sensing, text analytics and eye tracking that help uncover patterns in big data. Businesses that approach big data in this way are able to improve service and lower cost at the same time.

Improving the customer experience using data derived from a VoC program assists with continually tweaking the details that go into delivering the experience. It is possible to get a clearer picture of who your customers are and even a glimpse into desires that are going unmet in the market today. Being able to anticipate needs provides an edge in a competitive market.

There are other ways to gather data and insight into the customer experience, mystery shopping and journey mapping to name two. Regardless of how you collect the information, the important take away is to use the information in a holistic way integrated into experience design, service design and business design.

Ethan Allen Launches New Store Concept

In response to changing consumer trends, Ethan Allen is launching a new retail store concept with new in-store technology designed to enhance the customer experience.

Ethan Allen

Ethan Allen website

The new retail design comes with the launch of 600 new product designs reflecting the more casual lifestyle of their customers today and a new content rich website. Integration of technology within the store will include touchscreen kiosks in the Design Centers and each designer will have a tablet. Designers will use tablets to access products not displayed in store, create customized products and place orders for customers.

Use technology to offer a seamless customer experience across channels.

Omnichannel strategies are at the forefront of retail industry challenges. Ethan Allen will continue using the My Project App to bridge the gap from online to brick and mortar. The My Project App allows customers to interface with designers from their home and when customers are in the store, designers can work with their projects that started online from home. Apps like this provide real value for customers.

Responding to changes in customer preferences is necessary. By implementing an Innovation Lab retailers can continually experiment with ideas to not only keep pace with changes but also to be a forerunner in the industry. Read more about a Store of the Future initiative.

Retail Customer Experience Needs Connection

The retail customer experience will need greater connections than ever before as social media and mobile will play a big role in holiday shopping and beyond.iphone

In a survey conducted by MarketLive, one-third of the respondents indicated that they would make more than 50% of purchases on a mobile device. This trend underscores the importance for retailers to optimize mobile sites and to align the mobile experience with the brick and mortar. The survey also suggests that interaction with social networking sites is influencing shopping behavior to a greater degree. The primary drivers being product reviews and exploring gift ideas (especially through Pinterest) followed by product referrals from friends.

Get more stats from the survey in this article posted by MarketingLand.

Employee Engagement Shows on Bottom Line

Market Basket and the struggles they recently encountered highlighted the importance of workplace dynamics, specifically employee engagement.The short of it is that a new CEO took over at Market Basket and planned to cut employee profit-sharing in order to increase dividends to shareholders. This did not go over well with the employees.mktbasket

It seems that what the new CEO didn’t get was that his predecessor had created a workplace culture that engaged employees, resulting in serving the customer well, providing value for the customer and a memorable experience. This model had benefited the customers, the employees and the shareholders for years. When the system was challenged, the employees expressed their concerns and their customers rallied behind them. Most see this as a collective voice of the modern worker that wants to feel connected with the service they are providing.

Employee engagement is a key part of delivering great customer experiences and businesses that have actively engaged employees perform better across the board. Unfortunately, it is estimated that only 3 out of 10 employees feel engaged with their work, and the actively disengaged employees cost $550 billion in lost productivity.

The best 100 companies to work for outperform the rest of the businesses by a wide margin.

Best 100                     11.80%
S&P 500                     6.04%
Russell 3000              6.41%
Source-Russell Investment Group

According to Robert Levering, the curator of the list for Fortune: 100 Best Companies to Work For, the businesses that make this list all share a culture of trust and the employees describe the environment as a team or family.team

The thing is you can’t create this culture of trust, team or family by just using the language. And it can’t be created with a Mission Statement. It can be found when applying design to business, service and experience.

Employee engagement is the natural by-product of businesses Designing for Adoption where both the employees and customers are considered. The other natural by-products are great customer experiences and increased profit for shareholders.

Designing for adoption requires considering all stakeholders –customers, employees and shareholders. This is Triple Bottom Line Design, where something better happens for all stakeholders.

Market Basket may not have intentionally set out with a Triple Bottom Line Design but they ended up with the positive outcomes associated with this strategy. Connecting employees with the delivery of great customer experiences results in value for all stakeholders.

More about intentional design that creates value for employees, customers and shareholders.



Mobile Apps That Score with Customers

The market for mobile commerce is growing exponentially and shows no sign of slowing down. Fueling the growth are retailers that continue to improve the customer experience through responsive website design and mobile apps.mobilephones

The recent edition of Website Magazine illustrates three retailers that have been successful creating digital experiences through better navigation, responsive design and one with spot-on features that directly assist their customers with recurring tasks. Check out these three retailers that are winning customers with great mobile experiences.

Also be sure and check out Mike’s 7 Best Practices for integrating retail mobile apps with brick and mortar.