How Do You WOW Your Customers?

Down

– Ross Stokes

ETP Blog
[Image courtesy: Bain & Company]
 Ever since I’ve been spending my “pocket money” I’ve been a collector of retail stories and experiences.  There’s only 2 primary experiences that stick in the memory…  Both involve a WOW

WOW, that was awesome, I’m so happy!!

… and I want to go back and experience that again and share it with my friends, orWOW, that was horrible and can’t believe I wasted my time and money!!! … and I never want to ever experience that again and I don’t want anyone else to have to experience it either.

What MEMORIES are being CREATED?
I remember going into my favourite sports store as a kid and being welcomed by the owner like his buddy. He knew what sports I played, always had a new racquet to show me and would give me the “secret” details of why this was the one to have. He made it his business to know me and what I liked.  That was over 40 years ago and I still remember those special days when I got to visit his store of sporting treasures with my savings to happily buy my next racquet.  He knew the value of caring enough and making a connection.10 years ago I visited the Louis Vuitton store in Paris with some friends.  What a WOW experience.  We were given a guided tour and a lot of attention while our group browsed and tried on shoes.  We were made to feel special in a store designed to evoke a feeling of WOW.
ETP Blog
[Image courtesy: highsnobiety.com]

I walked out of there with a new pair shoes, not the best value for money shoes I’ve bought but definitely the most memorable pair.

So did I buy just a pair of shoes OR did I buy an experience wrapped into a pair of shoes?   Even after 10 years when I put on those shoes on I still get reminded of my time in Paris and that LV store experience. Buying is an emotional experience.

We all have horror stories and memories from bad retail purchases and store experiences.

These experiences are the antithesis of building customer loyalty and have a negative impact on a retailers profitability, particularly in today’s connected world of social media where stories and experiences are shared instantly.
I believe a retailers return policy experience is usually a good insight into how they value our loyalty.  They can choose to make a WOW experience that has us coming back for more or saying “never again!”.  There is no excuse using today’s technology for this to be a negative experience.
All these WOW experiences and the mediocrity in between are the result of people.  When leaders are engaged at all levels of a retail business, magic can happen.

Bain has written an article “A Fresh Look At Store Labor”

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The article highlights “Winners adapt their store labor model to what matters most to customers, they zero-base their operations instead of relying on what worked for them in the past, and they are systematic in mobilizing store labor for the required changes in behaviors, activities and processes.”

They include 8 useful starter questions to help a retailer explore whether they are empowering their store operations.

Are Store Staff Enabled and Empowered?
When I go into a store I’m always interested to see who is more informed about the products…  the store staff or me.  The irony is that most store staff have the technology skills and often the devices to be well informed and educated so they can add value to the customer experience however its not the norm.  Often store staff are distracted on their smart phones or the POS browser and the customer isn’t their focus.
The essence of retailing hasn’t changed.   Give a customer a positive WOW experience and they will reciprocate with their loyalty and cash!  Online retailers have used technology to set new benchmarks in customer experience. Taking what is that essence, putting the customer at the center of their business and making it the best, most seamless buying experience possible.

Nothing new other than the enabling technology.

The right technology solution with training can turn stores into 
productive, profitable WOW experiences.  

This article has been written by:
Ross Stokes, Regional Director, ASEAN-ANZ, ETP Group

 

Ross brings a diverse corporate and personal set of experiences to his role of Regional Director, Asia Pacific, for ETP. His business experience aids in understanding the various challenges retail owners and executives experience while growing their business and successfully supporting their desire to improve retail management processes and systems to achieve optimal profitability.

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