Today’s guest is a local Oregonian who is trying to bring the feel of the great outdoors into the store. Using a cold room that drops to about 45 degrees, customers may try on their favorite jacket and see how it stands up to the test of near freezing temperatures, and honestly this is a great customer experience!
In 2022 there was a survey titled, ‘what is the top priority for your business in the next 5 years?’, and out of the 1,920 business professionals surveyed, 45.9% stated customer experience was their top priority, followed by product (39.6%) and pricing (20.5%).
Gartner defines customer experience as the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, systems, channels or products.
In 2019, Bruce Temkin, Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute, released an insight report titled, ‘ROI of customer experience, 2018’. Temkin’s team built a model to estimate how a modest improvement in customer experience (CX) would impact the revenue of a typical $1 billion company across 20 industries.
On average, companies can gain $775 million over three years – that’s a 70% increase in revenue within 36 months. Software companies stand to earn the most ($1 billion over three years), while utilities stand to earn the least ($476 million over three years).
Here are some good examples of customer experience:
Ritz-Carlton, the only service company in America that has won the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award twice with a slogan of “we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” and has a policy that permits every employee to spend up to $2,000 making any single guest satisfied. Talk about an awesome customer service experience. If someone is willing to spend up to $2k on me to be satisfied, I’m in! But in truth all it takes is a few Bud Lights.
Disney is another great example where the amusement park encourages their employees to assist guests with photo opportunities. Also, have you ever noticed how remarkably clean Disney parks are for the sheer number of park guests? That is because Disney strategically places garbage cans every 30 feet throughout the park, an idea Walt Disney created himself, to ensure Disneyland was never dirty or filled with garbage.
Maybe this was just a 90’s thing, but Nordstrom was the master of the return policy, with some far-fetched stories of customers even returning used tires and getting in-store credit. Trader Joe’s has a try-before-you-buy policy and a pretty generous return policy (trust me, I try before I buy!). Nike created the RealID sneakers for customers to create their own colorway on some of their favorite Nike silhouettes, and there are a host of other customer experience models being explores like self-checkout stands at grocery stores or curbside pick-up from anything like a Starbucks coffee to your local weed dispensary.
There are so many unique ways for a brand to create a good customer experience. However, it is very important that the employee buys into the customer experience – a happy employee makes a happy customer.
Back before I went to college I was working at Hollywood Video in the evening while I worked at the hospital during the day – I was trying to save up money to launch my first business SLM Apparel – and the first thing employees were trained to do was welcome guests as soon as we heard the door chime.
The problem was the door chime was broke and didn’t actually chime, we had limited staff and, on a Friday, or Saturday evening, it was almost impossible to take a breather let alone welcome a guest into the store.
Needless to say, the customer experience model was not that good: the staff was not happy, the customers didn’t seem too happy, and about 5 years after I left, the Hollywood Video store closed for good well before the mass exit. I still drive by where the old Hollywood Video used to be – now a bank – and I cannot help but think of that door chime and our failed customer experience model.
As entrepreneurs we must be constantly innovating to find ways to bring value to our customers. Hindsight 20/20, I am sure then CEO of Blockbuster, John Antioco, would have willingly forked over the $50 million Netflix had offered to sell the company to Hollywood Video for. Antioco did not see the value in the customer experience Netflix was providing.
Now the only time I see a Blockbuster video is driving through Bend, or streaming it on the same streaming service that put the brick-and-mortar movie rental model out of business.