Recently, we chatted with customer experience expert, best-selling author, and Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations Shep Hyken to find out what he thinks is most exciting and interesting about the retail industry today, and what we have to look forward to tomorrow.
In this 3-part blog series, we highlight some of Hyken’s thoughts on these topics—retail, technology, customer experience, and more—to help retailers think about what to consider as the industry landscape continues to change and evolve.
Let’s jump right back in where we left off:
A winning CRM will combine the customer information with a really good personality. And we need to emulate the experiences on both sides, in-store as well as online.
Something I’ve been talking about for the last two years is the concept of personalization—how to go about creating a personalized experience for the customer and engage them at a different level than you would transactionally. I think it’s amazing how retailers can better personalize the experience with the tools available today.
Think about Amazon. It’ll go, “Welcome back, Shep. Last time you were here you looked at this, so now let me recommend a couple of other things. Hey, I noticed that you just bought this book. Next time you might want to consider this book.” AI is creating a more personalized experience using your background data.
A good CRM system will allow any retailer to say, “You’ve been here before. What’s your name?” “Shep Hyken.” Then, they could pull me up on a computer and say, “I know the kind of stuff you like. Are you looking for something similar to this purchase? Are you looking to change your wardrobe?” I can have really intelligent conversations based on what’s happened in the past. A winning CRM will combine the customer information with a really good personality. And we need to emulate the experiences on both sides, in-store as well as online.
On augmented reality:
To me, augmented reality is about taking something real and superimposing something over the top of it to change it. If I’m going to buy a piece of furniture, it’s cool that I could have a picture of my living room and merge it with an image of a sofa I’m interested in.
Sephora has taken this to a whole other level. You can go on an app on your phone, and use the camera to try on different shades of lipstick. You can give yourself a makeover, or somebody in the store can offer recommendations and give you multiple makeovers in minutes. Then you decide which one you like and all of a sudden everything becomes itemized, and the app points you to where the eyeliner is, or the lipstick, or the blush. Do you want to buy it? Boom! You buy it. They’ve used AR to create a truly personalized experience where you’re actually interacting and engaging with them virtually. I don’t think you could be more personalized outside of actually having the person painting your face.
Retailers should map out the journey of every type of customer they have.
On being “omnichannel”:
The customer typically has no idea what ‘omnichannel’ means.
When it comes to the customer’s journey, the customer has a need, wants to go out and buy what they want, and wants to be happy. If you can give them a good experience along the way, you might garner repeat and loyal business in the long-term. The friction points have to do with several different things.
Retailers should map out the journey of every type of customer they have. Not all customers buy the same way, and not all customers journey through your company the same way. You might have an informed shopper, who knows exactly what they want so they don’t need to ask questions. You’ve got the mission shopper, who doesn’t even want a salesperson. They just want to get in, get what they want, they want to get out. You’ve got somebody who does need help. You’ve got a social shopper who just likes the idea of learning and asking a lot of questions. Then, you’ve got the customer service side, where after the sale, something happens—that’s a whole other journey.
Map out every one of these customer journeys and find every touchpoint along the way. Where does a customer touch the company in any way whatsoever? Are you enhancing those experiences? Is there any friction along the way?
One pain point might be in a store when a customer goes in during holiday and has to wait 40 minutes in line to check out. How many of them check out mentally before they actually check out and pay for their item? Online, I get frustrated when I shop with a new company and now need to become a member and log in. If I can log in as a guest, at least I don’t have to go through the whole process of creating and remembering passwords. Look at where all the friction points are—anything that could cause a customer any discomfort. And you don’t get to choose those points as a retailer—the customer gets to choose where those points are. You have to really be good at listening to customer feedback.
There used to be a show called Bob Newhart way back. He was a psychiatrist. One of the funniest skits of all time, the patient came in with a problem, and Bob says, “Well, this is really easy.”
The patient says, “What should I do?”
“What do you mean?”
“That’s the advice you’re giving me?”
“Yes. Stop it!”
If you’re hearing the same complaint over and over again, stop it! Figure out what’s driving that complaint. Maybe it’s not going to go away 100%, but there’s got to be a way to mitigate the problem. It’s something that happens over and over again that shouldn’t happen over and over again.
Now that’s tweetable.