Total experience (TX) bridges customer, employee, and user experience disciplines into one transformational retail experience that unifies every customer touchpoint, aligns a retail brand across every channel and platform, harmonizes business functions, and establishes complete trust within the customer journey. TX is focused on creating stronger, more holistic experiences for those who engage with your brand. Its goal is to drive greater customer and employee confidence, satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, according to Gartner.
A TX strategy involves assessing your retail organization’s current state, building a framework, and gaining alignment.
Assess Your TX State and Experience Maturity
It’s unlikely that TX will be successful without understanding your total state; make an honest assessment of:
- The Business: State of your current CX, including all customer touchpoints, interactions and experiences; overall sales and service value streams; and major initiatives.
- Your Technology: State of enabling technology capabilities, such as customer data assets, insights, and predictive/proactive capabilities; digital conversational maturity, including automation, artificial intelligence, and overall conversational commerce experience; user experiences (both customer and employee) as they pertain to digital interactions; standardization of disparate CX technological solutions; and existence of a unified CX platform that enables hyperpersonalization.
- Operations: Employee experiences; leadership and associate-level incentives and how they align to the customer and advance an exceptional brand experience; the existence of operational and system silos; and the operating model to drive efficiency.
Now chart your experience maturity:
- Limited: When CX has minimal channel offerings and limited access to customer and employee data, leading to siloed data and inconsistent customer and employee experiences; lack of defined journey maps, IVR, and inquiry routing technology; and disparate key performance indicators.
- Ad Hoc: When strategy isn't integrated across channels and KPIs neglect the operations side of your business. A reactive vs. proactive customer service/contact center, and limited insights that fail to meaningfully inform experiences.
- Reliable: More consistent customer and employee experiences that are integrated and predictive, dynamic journey maps, formalized research processes, and robust data insights that are incorporated into design.
- Embedded: When CX and EX are embedded across the organization, with an experience vision, strategy and design that reflects the strengths of a true retail omnichannel environment that integrates systems, data and processes across all channels, devices and throughout the ecosystem. With sophisticated analytics and key insights that inform on a continuous, real-time and accurate basis. Data is simplified and streamlined onto a central dashboard, accessible by everyone.
Build a Retail TX Framework
- Evaluate: Understand your customers and how they perceive your brand. Define customer segments and personas to build strong profiles of your target consumers.
- Envision: Develop ideas into fact-based experience designs that drive growth and reduce costs. Establish your blueprint, business case and road map.
- Execute: Strategically and carefully orchestrate the retail experience. Build new sales and service delivery models to eliminate friction. TX almost always requires a change in the operating model — how your organization is configured to deliver its strategy and how it leverages people, processes, information and technology to deliver both customer and business value. The operating model must support the execution of the TX strategy. Ensure that business capabilities, structure, incentives, processes, data assets and investments support advancement of the TX vision. Develop needed capabilities, implement design thinking, and launch the TX strategy.
- Engage: Consistently and clearly engage your customers and employees.
- Evolve: Create feedback loops, measure and monitor your successes, and evolve your initiative.
Gain Alignment to Build Effective Governance
Buy-in has been important from the start of your experience initiative — way back in the day when retailers were still learning how to spell CX.
Revisit best practices for keeping experience strategy top of mind:
- Identify and confirm a sponsor at the executive level.
- Educate and inform on the importance of continuously enhancing experience as a differentiator and business driver. Tie into the overall culture of customer centricity.
- Highlight results to date of CX and EX programs; create awareness of the positive returns for the business.
- Show compelling proof points from your recent voice-of-customer and voice-of-employee feedback, highlighting how and where the company has opportunities to meet still-unmet needs. Translate this data into potential return scenarios to the business.
- Engage your “design thinkers” — people involved in building new sales and service delivery models, for example. If needed, realign incentives that are tied to TX outcomes.
While it’s easy to see the steps involved in establishing a Total Retail Experience, it can be overwhelming to process everything that’s involved. TX takes time, resources and investment. However, with a strong methodology you can build a differentiated retail experience that pays for itself by enhancing efficiency and engagement, increasing customer happiness and retention, and establishing solid competitive advantage and financial results.
Brian Lannan leads the TTEC Digital retail experience team in developing go-to-market strategy and new IP to expand offerings to the retail industry, helping customers transform and differentiate by delivering innovative, personalized, and engaging experiences for their customers.
Brian Lannan leads the Avtex retail experience team in developing go-to-market strategy and new IP to expand offerings to the retail industry, helping Avtex customers transform and differentiate by delivering innovative, personalized, and engaging experiences for their customers. Brian joined Avtex, a TTEC Digital company, in 2021 from Target, where he led the guest experience team and was responsible for experience strategy and insights, guest-centric culture development, voice of guest, and brand and reputation insights.