By: Jenny Anderson
When it comes to customer experience, retailers and most restaurants are struggling. We can see this clearly from our CEBenchmarks™ program, which tracks customer experience activity across eleven different industries. While we believe that companies should use the best customer experience metric that predicts business outcomes, many retailers are currently using what’s commonly known as the net promoter score. The chart below looks at net promoter scores, one of many possible measures of “delight” (% scoring 9-10) minus dissatisfaction (% scoring 1-6) for retailer and restaurant segments. We use this for comparison purposes only.
Full Service Restaurants fare better than most, as you can see with a score of 49. If you take a look at all of the eleven different industries combined, the NPS is 36. The rest of the restaurant and retailer segments are trailing, with department stores at the bottom with a score of 9.
What could retailers be doing to provide a better experience for their customers? I have actually had several recent retail experiences that were great and each one centers on sales associates that paid a little bit of attention to me and responded to my shopping needs—sometimes before I had even asked for any help.
I am a new mom and as cliché as it sounds—life is forever changed in an amazing way and time management skills are a top priority. With two parents working full-time and a little person ruling the roost, even mundane tasks and duties can take a good amount of time and effort. For example, my shopping habits have evolved–I do a lot more online shopping than pre-baby, but some shopping is just not easily done online and warrants an actual trip to the store.
So, on a nice Saturday morning, I took our 9-month old daughter along to a specialty retailer, Lucky Brand Jeans, to see if I would be able to accomplish my goal of finding new jeans—with the hope that a specialty retailer would not only provide more selection and options, but more importantly—I was looking for good, old-fashioned help. So, stroller in tow—I strolled right into Lucky and was greeted in a very friendly and “not annoyed with your baby and stroller” kind of way.
The sales associate asked me a few quick questions and then went off to grab handfuls of options. She would swap out selections that didn’t work for new options, until I found jeans that I liked. This was great because I could entertain my little lady during “down time” and then focus on reviewing the alternatives to evaluate quality and decide if any would work. My shopping time was optimized and pleasant—and I walked away with two pair of jeans.
Lucky Brand seems to be doing something right, but what are others doing wrong? Could it be as simple as staff that is accommodating and pays attention to the unique needs of each customer? They exceeded my expectations and made it very likely that I will return to the store again. I prefer to spend the limited shopping time I have on deciding what I should purchase vs. attempting to browse through racks, run back and forth to the dressing room, sprint to other parts of the store—all the while entertaining an active baby, in that scenario, my baby always triumphs.
Isn’t that a win-win? It is for me, and I’d bet so for customers with similar characteristics and buying behaviors to mine: providing a pleasant shopping experience + optimizing limited free time = more likely to find something to purchase. The importance of understanding key customer segments and delivering what matters most to them is paramount to a great customer experience. For my recent experience–this is exactly what happened. Paying a little bit of attention to each customer’s unique needs can make a huge difference…
Have you had a similar retail shopping experience where someone met your unique needs? I’d love to hear about it!
For alternative views on the net promoter score, see Randy Brandt’s blog post: Customer Effort Score™ and NPS: Gangnam Style Metrics