CX Insight – The Joyless Shopping Experience

Alex Allwood ALEX ALLWOOD, Customer Experience, CX, CX Insight

Today, as customers, we expect both high-tech and high-touch experiences that make us feel good. As a practitioner in customer experience management I have high expectations of shopping experiences and, like most customers, expect that the online shopping experience should be delivered seamlessly in-store. I have to say that most of the time I’m not exactly wowed.

Its brands like Amazon, Apple and Airbnb that are shaping our rapidly changing expectations. They are designing experiences that are personalised and friction-free, so whether you’re shopping online, on social, on mobile or in-store, the experiences they deliver is consistently good across all channels. Got a question … no problem call us, web chat us, social chat or email … their approach to feel good customer experiences is distinctive and effortless.

Let me give you an example, if you’re a lover of shoes you might have heard that one of Australia’s leading department store retailers has recently opened a whole new floor, dedicated to luxury designer shoe shopping.

Let me say, they have created a truly wonderful ‘product experience’. But, they’ve done what big retailers often do; invested millions into delivering their product experience and neglected investment into the servicing and technology experiences that deliver a ‘feel-good’, high-tech, high-touch customer experience.

As I headed up the escalators my expectations of a ’world class’ customer experience were high. As I reached the top, the whole floor came into full view …. And then I heard it … the chat, chat, chat and realised the staff were standing around in huddles, much more interested in their conversations than helping customers.

Thinking I’d work around the problem, I jumped online. The digital experience was not what I expected and I was left wondering if I was even shopping at the same retailer. The lesson here for brands is to work cross-functionally to ensure your customer experiences are seamless.

Yes, the product experience – the shoes and merchandising were truly wonderful, but the servicing experience and digital experience were non-existent – I left with my credit card burning a hole in my pocket!

Today, it’s the feel good, high-tech, high-touch experience that enhances customer value and differentiates one brand from the next to deliver sustainable growth. For high performance brands like Amazon, Airbnb, Apple, this is the source of their competitive advantage – designing customer experiences that set them further and further apart from the competition.