Eric Feinberg, Senior Director, Mobile, Media, and Entertainment, ForeSee examines where leading retailers are gaining from a mobile customer experience aligned to all touchpoints, and how customer experience analytics can point to and focus resources, to increase loyalty.
There's no question about it - we now live in an era ruled by the customer. It’s an age that is multichannel, multi-device and requires a multitude of measures in order to get a better understanding of the customer experience. From the CMO’s perspective especially, understanding the strategic power of data is now critical since it can help to demonstrate expertise, exceed expectations, challenge the internal status quo, magnify the voice of the customer, add value and proactively plan improvements.
Without a doubt, the impact of mobile on the retail industry is tremendous.Whether a customer is using their smartphone at the airport or sitting in their living room browsing on a tablet, customers are able to connect with brands recognise that customers will move fluidly between channels, so content needs to “remember” them, whether they are on the web, their smartphone or tablet.
Two huge players in the industry that have grasped this notion of remembering the customer are Amazon and Netflix .When a customer is shopping on the web and adding items to the shopping cart or wish list, those same items will be found when they log on their phone. Other items will be recommended based on products that were viewed on different devices or channels.
Organisations that apply customer experience analytics and act on the findings can work to define the lines that connect the multiple customer touch points, which in turn, help them to drive strategy and create a complete picture of the customer. In short, it’s a no brainer to measure, but why then do many companies not carry this out in depth - or rely on a simple Net Promoter Score (NPS) to track customer loyalty? In my experience it’s because they aren’t sure how to tackle the issue across multi-platforms and devices – where to start even, or what anywhere and at any time. Mobile serves in two essential roles within an organisation. First, as a conversion channel by gaining new customers and converting them to other channels.The second is to serve as a companion channel that supports the other channels and ties them together. It’s essential for organisations to exactly they should measure.
It’s also important to remember that the NPS was developed more than a decade ago now and as a metric it’s a reasonable indicator of loyalty, however it falls short of today’s sophisticated – and very mobile - customers. By only measuring “likelihood to recommend”it inaccurately assumes that if someone is not recommending, they are detracting - it also doesn’t accurately represent negative word-of-mouth, and it’s not an actionable metric or a predictor of growth.Times have indeed changed and whilst still important, organisations can no longer solely rely on NPS which simply hasn’t kept pace with today’s complex ecosystems. Other metrics worth considering and adding to your armoury include rigorous customer experience measurement.
FROM HOW AND WHAT, TO WHERE?
Armed with the metrics and analytics tools of your choice, retailers and brands need to ensure that every channel or touchpoint open to its customers are included within the measurement and data capture scope. Of particular importance more recently is the mobile arm of any business. With usage evolving at such a fierce pace, organisation’s now have really no choice at all but to try and appeal to smartphone and tablet users by offering dedicated mobile sites and apps – and measuring satisfaction across these is no longer an add-on for companies to consider. Phones and tablets are an integral nexus of online traffic and serve as companion channels to virtually every other customer touchpoint. Recent industry stats indicate that mobile now accounts for between ten and fifty per cent of digital traffic to most brands, and this is expected to continue to grow.
It is widely known that sales completion rates are lower on mobile, but what the industry has yet to fully grasp is that users are then going to other channels to complete the purchase. Through customer experience analytics, retailers are able to get more insight into the customers’ mindset. To give you an example, one of our retail clients had been disappointed by low sales conversion rates within their mobile channel so they used analytics to find out what was going on.
HOUSE OF FRASER - case study
Satisfaction analytics are the cornerstone of improving customer experience at House of Fraser . The retailer is committed to providing its customers with unparalleled service and quality – as such the call centre management team uses a variety of metrics to manage, motivate and train contact centre agents. To strengthen the metrics even further, the team looked to ForeSee to provide satisfaction data and actionable insights to identify root causes of service issues and improve contact centre operations. Particularly helpful was the ability to compare the contact centre’s score to the scores from the website and store locations, which provided managers with a greater context and better understanding of the contact centre’s role within the organisation.
By providing a complete view of the customer experience, ForeSee Analytics also allowed House of Fraser to better understand customer issues related to the company’s business overall. The feedback provided credible and detailed information regarding the challenges faced by customers.
House of Fraser always encourages its staff to “Be You at Your Best” every day, and by utilising a consistent, reliable metric to measure customer satisfaction, contact centre managers are able to motivate their team, including the top performers, to continue to make improvements that will increase overall customer satisfaction.
They started sending text message surveys to customers 90 minutes after they closed the mobile session to determine what their next action was and they discovered that a large portion of customers would research on mobile and then complete the sale through the contact centre (the mobile channel was actually driving sales through the contact centre).
Now traditionally, retailers don’t want sales to convert through more expensive channels (contact centre is more costly than mobile), but because of some unique characteristics of their customer-base, they were able to streamline the contact centre to reduce costs and speed up the sales process).
Simply having a mobile presence isn’t going to be enough to attract and keep customers moving forwards – company leaders now have a responsibility to ensure that customer experiences (across all channels) with the company are good and consistently so.This is why measuring customer satisfaction scores across all channels is essential - because satisfaction is the best indicator of future success.When done correctly, extensive research shows that a good customer experience is predictive of loyalty, recommendations, sales, and brand preference. A strong measurement can pinpoint areas of improvement to help company leaders to make the best strategic, tactical, and operational business decisions.This is especially true in mobile where expectations are going to be high from the start thanks to mobile leaders such as Amazon and Apple who have set the bar high.
MAKING MOBILE YOUR BEST FRIEND
In my opinion, mobile is the ultimate companion channel as it can be used in-store, to look up something seen whilst at home watching TV from the couch (or the tablet or laptop) - plus it’s the channel that can be most easily used as a companion to virtually every other channel customers are using to interact with retailers.This is why it’s so important to capture customer data from this touchpoint.
By understanding how mobile shoppers are using their phones and tablets, retailers can make key decisions, led by their data, across the business and prioritise accordingly.