Women with personalised shopping experience

Using Net Promoter System® in Retail chains for Exceptional Customer Experience

Written by: Kushal Dev | Co-founder, Customer Guru

If you own a brick and mortar store and sell what no one else sells in this world, then you need to wake up. Most or all of what is sold in stores is available online and maybe by a few other stores across the street. In this competitive world if all you offer your customers is a product then the best you can do is hope that the consumer chooses you over the others. The plethora of online price comparison sites with discounts and offers all around means that you are in a game which you cannot hope to win.

Online ventures are well funded and they are splurging this money to lure customers. Global investors are pouring money into markets for customer acquisition providing the liberty of offering huge discounts. According to analyst firm CB Insights, between 2010 and Q2 2015, the U.S., India, and China were the top markets for funding to e-commerce startups. Combined, they accounted for 62 percent of global deals and 71 percent of total funding going to physical goods e-commerce startups.

If you rely on discounts to set yourself apart, it’s an abysmal pit to disaster.

So what sets you apart? It is the Customer Experience. Period.

Offline retailers have the privilege of giving a personalised shopping experience that online stores are unable to deliver, or at best marginally achieve through the use of technology – still lacking the human touch. The only way of making the product secondary. Great customer experience enables you to create a band of promoters who not only buy from you but also refer to friends and family. Capturing customer behaviour, listening to them actively, and correlating the two, plays a crucial role in enhancing your customer’s experience continuously.

How does Net Promoter System® (NPS) help?

Using a metric like Net Promoter Score® to measure customer experience simplifies the process and helps you focus on taking action on delighting customers.

If you want to motivate shoppers to come to your store for a personalised shopping experience and not just to buy a product cheaper than anywhere else, your team needs motivation and opportunities to move away from just arranging clothes in the store. Using an ‘easy to respond’ feedback provides your store staff a touchpoint to strike an engaging conversation and also understand the customers needs and motivation to shop. Listening to customers carefully provides invaluable insights on what customers expect for an exceptional experience and helps you improve everyday.

While there are numerous ways of using Net Promoter Score® for both customer and employee engagement, if you are a retail superstar and are looking to use Net Promoter Score® effectively you need to setup the right process to succeed with it.

Once retailers have setup the right process and started listening to customers, there is a lot they can do with a well oiled Net Promoter System® in place

Study globally and act locally

Retail brands who have been in business for long, have a strong perception on what they stand for and what customers want from them. However, are they aligned with their customers’ expectations?

In order to provide this holistic experience, retail chains need to align what they believe is important for their customers with what their customers’ real expectations are. The best way to find this is to ask the customers directly. Getting insights on customer expectation from across your centres helps identify the customer experience drivers at an organisation level and store level. Benchmarking stores helps identify the ones that are doing well and the ones that are not so well.

Use this information at group and individual store level to replicate the good and eliminate the bad.

Plan and implement your marketing and Service mix

Classifying your customers into Promoters, Passives and Detractors also allows you to plan your marketing and service mix. If you are hard selling your detractors, be assured of facing the customer. Detractors are already unhappy and trying to market them is only going to aggravate them further. Your promoters however said they would recommend you to friends and family. How about a creative referral campaign to help them do so?

Would it be valuable to identify folks who were detractors earlier and become promoters now? Looks like an up sell or cross sell opportunity to me! On an opposite scenario if someone has moved from being a Promoter to Detractor then it is a point of concern for you. If it is someone with high lifetime value. That’s an even bigger red flag!

Bring the VoC to your team directly and help them the own it

Bring the Voice of Customer to your team’s desktop and phone screens in real time. It will increase the team engagement, motivate them to excel, and also bring accountability. A first hand experience of the Voice of Customer motivates everyone to act as owners and manage expectations proactively. This way team will be upbeat about the initiative, driving better results. Your role shifts from being a task master to a buddy working with the team to improve customer experience.

Make daily huddles a fun activity

Daily huddles is a morning routine which can be very effective in charting out a daily plan. Exchanging notes on good and bad customer feedback received on the last day, and comparing with other stores instills a sense of competitive gamification of customer experience in your organisation. Using Net Promoter Score® allows the team to track and improve a single number which is a direct measure of the customer experience.

The idea is not to bash your team for a negative feedback but to motivate them to meet the company average, if they are on the lower end of the spectrum, or compete with another store to reach the “Hall of Fame!”

Save time, money and travel

Sitting in your head office, it is not easy to track the Voice of Customer across the organisation and individual stores on a particular day. Keeping tab of your customer’s voice on the store experience helps you identify the trends and drivers of customer experience. Operating in a global environment this is a difficult feat to achieve physically. The amount of time you can spend at a store would depend on the scale you operate at. Technology is an enabler here. A solution like a Net Promoter Score® based feedback form on a tablet device helps you stay connected with your customers across the stores in real time with the flexibility of operating from your Head office.

Did you use Net Promoter Score® in your organisation to drive customer engagement. We would love to hear your story.

Reach out to me on kushal@customerguru.in