10 Best Practices to Improve Customer Experience
In a session yesterday at the eTail East conference in Boston, David Levin, vice president of customer experience and digital innovation at Bob’s Discount Furniture, identified 10 best practices that retailers can implement to improve their customers' experiences.
"At Bob's Discount Furniture, CX is about transformation," Levin said. "How can we use technology to better understand our customers’ experiences, and then how can technology be used to improve the experience?"
Levin noted that brands today are defined by CX. With that in mind, he offered the below 10 examples of brands improving CX through different tactics, imploring the audience to follow these brands' leads.
- Craft your metaphor. Sugarfina’s cocktail party-like store experience is an example of this, Levin said. The candy retailer has a greeter at its front door with a tray of free candy for shoppers to try. This strategy works for Sugarfina because candy is cheap to produce, most of its stores are in malls and there's foot traffic to attract, and sugar is a drug — i.e., samplers are more likely to purchase.
- Thank every customer. Flip-flop brand Hari Mari sends customers a personal postcard after every purchase. Levin noted that this is difficult to do at scale, so find out what works for your brand.
- Create moments of wow. Levin cited Apple as a brand that does this well, identifying the act of downloading apps on your iPhone as a wow moment.
- Enhance the brand with in-store services. For example, Ulta added spa services within its brick-and-mortar stores, giving its customers another reason to visit the beauty retailer's stores, said Levin.
- Build the digital store of the future. Dunkin' is a good example of this, Levin said. The company realized that it can’t provide the same digital experience that its competitor Starbucks can, so it doubled down on being the leading on-the-go coffee brand. Levin cited Dunkin's decision to open a drive-thru lane specifically for digital order pickup as an example of its move to becoming a digital store of the future.
- Own your moment of truth. Luggage brand Away is the example for this best practice. The brand makes you want to travel in the way that it talks to its customers, Levin said. For example, Away includes a passport in each luggage piece that tells you how to best pack that piece of luggage.
- Craft your CX promise. This is different than a brand promise, clarified Levin. It's the promise you make to your customers about what their experience is going to be. Levin cited the U.S. Passport Office as an example of a business that has delivered on its CX promise. "It's so simple, so elegant — no trips missed. But more importantly, people, processes, systems can ladder up to that North Star. They can measure that reality. It’s measurable, and it's the KPI."
- Fix below the line of visibility. For this best practice, Levin identified Delta Air Lines and its CX promise of no cancellations. With inclement weather the primary reason for flight cancellations, Delta took a step that its customers couldn't see: it bought fuel reserves in advance at airports around the country, enabling the company to move planes more quickly in airports that are forecast to experience bad weather.
- Know your customers. Samsonite is the retailer Levin used as an example for this best practice. To help its store associates fill their down time, they're provided with customer data that enables them to engage with known customers shopping the company’s site.
- Listen for great ideas. Levin used another example from Delta Air Lines. The company has a voice of employee program, which has helped it get ideas for CX improvement from its front-line workers. For example, a ground crew worker made the suggestion that planes can be moved in and out of gates faster when parked at a 45-degree angle rather than a 90-degree angle. This approach has become the standard for Delta, among other airlines.