When I visited a local retail chain - last weekend - for our weekly family grocery top up- we noticed that the billing ques were disorganised as usual, but interestingly at the billing counter - the billing clerk pointed out a newly installed  device for providing rating feedback, next to the billing machine - a customer satisfaction measuring touch pad - with colour coded  five options for customers to indicate customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction level . After trying to handle us with unusual efficiency, the billing clerk suggested with an eager smile, that I give a good rating for our store experience(CX). What was good to observe was that they had started measuring customer satisfaction levels- and hopefully I mused, they would be doing correlations with sales volumes, customer loyalty, customer types - a good beginning is what I thought. Although there are lots of obvious things which can be easily better organised in the store, to improve customer experience(CX) - at least at the billing counter - there seemed some improvement, relative to previous visits. 

Amazon Go - as an example, has taken this to the other extreme - and radically improved customer experience(CX), by removing the billing counter completely - replaced by self-service billing - thereby eliminating the biggest pain area in retail stores - the billing que

Actual delivery across various touch points and stages of customer lifecycle- end to end- needs to be mapped & made friction less and customer experience measured at various customer moments, to ensure smooth  experience consistently – all easier said than done.

The loyalty card point’s redemption process at the same store was a bit rickety - they were ok with accepting the cell number for logging in the points, but wanted the actual card to be produced for points redemption. Similar CX breakages were all over the store - including extremely dis organised layout of items in different categories, making us move up and down the aisles multiple times, for goods which should have been in the same area and most of sales support staff seemed untrained/ unhelpful/careless - who were floating around, but  visibly did not want to be disturbed going by the preoccupied look on their faces and many were simply chatting amounts themselves, blissfully unaware of many customers milling around them. And when approached seemed inadequately knowledgeable  to proactively support customers navigating the aisles, searching for the right goods/brands.    how I wished the store's management that had a mechanism in place, to seek/capture feedback from customers to iron out all such breakages in the customer experience?

Delivering a superior customer experience consistently, requires tremendous operating rigor entailing  integrating org structure, operations, people, processes and technology with product fulfilment & service channels, into a well-oiled smooth operation orchestrated around the customer - with a no siloes approach/metrics, which not just delivers a good customer experience consistently, but simultaneously  welcomes, solicits customer feedback/complaints, and leverages the same to continuously drive product, process improvements & innovation. 

not just the brick & mortar store that I vested, many organisations including our newly minted digital avatars need to not just measure customer satisfaction but actively solicit feedback as a strategic & operational imperative - to enable continuous improvement cycle of customer experience (CX). Recognition of this feedback led improvement cycle, to be as important as sales or bottom line performance - is critical today- but so much ignored. While sales/profits indicate, what has already been done in the last year/quarter (i.e. is a lag indicator), customer satisfaction measures & scores can be an important lead indicator of future (i.e. if customers are satisfied – there is high probability that sales will be good in future. Below par satisfaction measures if measured objectively (critical to ensure by inter alia, running independent mystery shopping programs) and tapped on a real time basis, can also be an opportunity for management to intervene, before things get worse and sales deteriorate).

We’re often amazed to see how few organisations actually do customer journey mapping and/or objectively measure & map customer satisfaction? The number of organisations whose websites carry wrong phone numbers /email addresses for customers to call - also seems be ubiquitous. And while they do bench mark themselves (with peers), on traditional metrics like revenues, sales & market share, profitability, shouldn’t they first map the customer journeys’ & measure, benchmark customer / user experience(CX) delivered - and on an end to end basis, as seen from the customer’s eyes?


Your thoughts? do share/let us know…