Tag Archives: dissatisfaction

Why the Customer Experience May Fail

7 Aug

For many consumers, the shopping experience is as important as — or more important than — prices in influencing their purchase behavior. And with today’s extensive amount of competition, consumer patience is at an all-time low.

Melissa Global Intelligence is a firm that provides in-depth data quality tools and services. It recently published “What Kills the Customer Experience?” by Nathan Safran:

“Melissa recently commissioned NAPCO Research to complete a wide-scale survey of 126 E-commerce managers. Participants were asked to speak specifically about their perceptions regarding 1) obstacles to customer conversion and loyalty and 2) the role of improved data accuracy in approaching these challenges. Our findings revealed that in the life cycle of the online purchase, two primary ‘pain points’ are evident: checkout and delivery. For customers, these intersections can yield a sense of dissatisfaction sufficient to cause shopping cart abandonment or even refusal to shop at the site in the future.”

 
Click here to access an interactive, scrolling version of the article.

Click each image below to access the individual pages of the article in a large format.

 

10 Tips on How Companies Can Be More Customer-Centric

17 Nov

A while back, Professor Joel Evans of Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business wrote an article about “Customer Centricity” for Promo Magazine (now part of Chief Marketer.)

The essence of that still rings true today — even more so given the level of competition faced. Here is that article (with only slight edits).

We are now in an era where the marketplace is so cluttered that it is more difficult than ever for any one firm to stand out from the competition—or even be recognized. As a result, a customer-centric approach is imperative.

Most firms promote as fact that they are customer-centric. Many even believe they are. But, one of the most abused terms in business is customer-centric. Here are three true examples to illustrate the point: (1) A leading department store branch is busy. In the women’s apparel section, the checkout line is long. In the shoe department (which is not leased), no one is waiting on line. The sales clerk refuses to ring up any apparel sales. The department store prides itself on outstanding customer service. (2) A customer buys a $100 gift card from a leading consumer electronics chain. The gift recipient spends $90 at the chain and asks for the balance to be remitted in cash. The request is refused. The chain prides itself on outstanding customer service. (3) A local bookstore promotes a policy to “beat any prices.” The policy is good for only three days after a purchase. The bookstore prides itself on outstanding customer service.

There are several things that firms of any type or size can do to truly be customer-centric. Here are 10 ways to facilitate the process:

ONE — Be your own customer. Interact with salespeople. Visit all your facilities. “Think like a customer.”

TWO. Be proactive. Use mystery shoppers to engage your employees in various types of situations. Do customer surveys. Adjust practices as necessary.

THREE — Encourage employee empowerment. A number of firms have cut back on employee flexibility in “bending the rules” for fear of hurting profitability. Yet, research shows that customers are more loyal when they feel the company listens to them.

FOUR — Small gestures can be big. Take a look at “Simple Truths of Service” and see how.

FIVE — Be as honest and informative as humanly possible. Don’t run a full-page ad with the word “SALE” if not all the items in the ad are actually on sale.

SIX — Every firm should offer a meaningful loyalty program. There’s no better way to be customer-centric than to reward continued patronage.

SEVEN — Match your sales staff requirements to your positioning. It is okay for Walmart to have a limited number of sales workers on the floor because of its low-price, self-service approach. Likewise, it is proper for Best Buy to have a lot of staff on the floor since it promotes more personal service.

EIGHT — Use customer-friendly signage. I once addressed a group of supermarket executives and made what I thought was a rather non-provocative suggestion: Have a large sign at the entrance depicting the full layout of the items in the store. My reasoning: With more men starting to shop in supermarkets, better signage was needed. The intense negative reaction to this suggestion was stunning. The supermarket executives thought this would cut down on impulse shopping. My response: If shoppers feel more comfortable and knowledgeable, there will be more impulse shopping—not less, I lost that battle. Supermarkets (and many others), for the most part, still do not have enough customer-friendly signage,

NINE — Run special-themed promotions throughout the year that are NOT price-oriented. Too often, firms view promotions only as “sales,” and run them frequently. However, promotions do not have to just focus on price. (Such tactics typically encourage customers to wait for the inevitable sale and not buy on full price). Examples of good promotions: Contests don’t only have to coincide with special events, such as the Super Bowl. Similar activities can be done at other times. Be creative!

TEN — Encourage employees to be more customer-centric. All those who personally interact with customers should have name tags—from the sales staff to senior executives. Every person who answers the phone (or makes calls) should state his or her name. Employee photos should be prominently placed. Recognition of good employee performance should be posted. One nice thing that I always observe is when a company has a parking space designated “employee of the month.” This is a signal that the company cares about people.

 

Fed Up with Your Cable TV Provider?

25 Sep

If you answer yes to that question, then you are not alone. For years now, many subscribers have been very unhappy about the “bundled pricing” strategy of cable providers — whereby they must pay for channels in which they have no interest. These subscribers would much rather have “a la carte pricing” — whereby they pay only for the channels they want.

New research indicates just how widespread discontent about cable TV pricing really is. So, what should be done about it?

As Paul Bond writes for Hollywood Reporter:

“A la carte television programming is a popular concept among consumers who presume they’d save money by ditching channels they don’t watch, but given that only 38 percent would be willing to pay more than $3 per channel each month, it’s not likely the idea will catch on with TV providers who aren’t inclined to stray from bundling. Not at that price.”

“A new study out today from PricewaterhouseCoopers says that 44 percent of consumers would like a total a la carte system and that 73 percent of consumers would prefer a la carte or at least more customization of packages than is currently offered. Only 14 percent are satisfied with the status quo.”

Click on the image to read more.

 


 

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