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Keeping a Digital-First Mentality: The Key to Exceptional Customer Experience

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By Published On: February 21, 20230 Comments

We sat down with Leanne Franks, Tryzens Global Head of Customer Experience to discuss the value of CX and how retailers can grow their CX initiatives.

While many companies are balancing offline and online commerce, why is it important to keep a digital first mentality to CX?

In today’s retail landscape, customers expect a seamless, fast and friction-free experience across all digital channels and this is certainly the foundation of good CX. Having a digital first mentality enables this by allowing you to understand your customer needs, map the holistic journey and deliver integrated digital experiences across the many touchpoints the customer interacts with. 

And how can companies maintain this mentality while meeting evolving customer expectations?

With the right digital solutions you can adapt to ever evolving customer expectations and buying behaviour by gathering data that can be used to build more compelling experiences. Those companies that are focused on digital first solutions will futureproof themselves and be truly omnichannel in their approach. 

 Customer loyalty programs are looking like they are key for retailers to keep customers engaged. What are other ways retailers can look to foster loyalty?

Most retail customers I talk to when gathering insights, view loyalty programs through a cynical lens. They don’t tend to place huge importance on sign up perks and member rewards – rather viewing them as a ploy for brands to take their data and bombard them with marketing emails in return. If they are not purchasing high volume, or often, they don’t tend to see value in this. Rather, the voice of the customer is saying that an overall experience which offers fast, friendly and reliable service is the key driver for loyalty and advocacy. There’s no denying that, done well, loyalty programs are a great tool to increase retention, but they’re no substitute for excellent CX. 

How can retailers optimise CX to deliver this excellence?

In my opinion, one of the most important things you can invest in to optimise your CX is personalisation.  And how do you nail personalisation? Know your customer. Understanding their motivations, expectations and needs will allow you to offer proactive service, personalised interactions and a connected customer journey.  

If they walk away with a lasting impression of a friendly, efficient, and reliable service you can bet they will not only return – but bring their friends with them. 

Can you define a good customer experience vs a bad one? Or is this subjective?

There are certainly essential principles that form the foundation of good customer experience. But not all customers are created equally and what would be considered good by one brands’ customer audience may not be true of another. Great customer experience is contextual. There’s also the ever-evolving customer expectations that come with this industry meaning that CX strategy must remain agile and adaptable.  

Generally, a good customer experience is born out of keeping the customer at the heart of everything you do. Good CX takes customer insights and uses these to drive ease, reliability and effectiveness across the entire journey. Good CX is invisible to the customer – they don’t have to think about it, they just know it works (read ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ by Steve Krug).  

Bad CX is a disjointed journey full of friction points and frustrations for the customer. They’ll notice all the things that go wrong and will reward you with abandoned carts, complaints to customer service and poor reviews. It’s clear to see a retailer who hasn’t taken the time to understand their customer and map their ideal journey across all touchpoints – resulting in what I like to call a ‘Frankenstein’ experience’. In summary, we can certainly differentiate a good from a bad customer experience, measured through customer satisfaction, loyalty, advocacy and of course the all-important conversion rate. 

But is it subjective? I would argue no. You can objectively judge any brand customer experience if you take into account their specific customer needs. If you know what these are and can deliver a holistic experience to satisfy those needs then you are on to a winner. 

What is the biggest mistake retailers make in the CX journey?

The biggest mistake, and one that will absolutely set you up for failure, is something that happens entirely outside of the CX journey. It’s forgetting about the importance of customer centricity within your internal organisation. If you do not foster a customer centric mindset with a unified goal to optimise the customer experience across teams, you won’t get very far. Place the customer at the heart of all business decisions and strategy, stop working in siloed teams and remove all assumptions by knowing your customer through validated data and insights. 

I could continue reeling off an extensive list of mistakes I see retailers make – seeing the journey as linear, focusing purely on the purchase journey, missed opportunity for in store and online alignment. But if it’s not informed by their customer in the first place then it’s all smoke and mirrors. Ultimately, understanding your customer is key to both digital business growth and revenue success.  

In the past year, have you seen customer expectations shift? What is the cause of this?

The post-Covid digital landscape has never been more dynamic, or competitive. Customer expectations have always shifted but this has been supercharged in the last few years. In general, customers expect fast proactive service, ability to buy it wherever and whenever, and personalised interactions across a seamless experience. 

And what can we expect to see demand for going forward this year?

Last year in particular we saw trends such as in-person experiences online, the rise in social commerce and the need for more payment options. Through 2023 we will see an appetite for AI conversation technology and hyper-personalisation (which will be challenged by changes to the use of Cookies). This shift in expectations ultimately comes from the rapid shift to online shopping and an explosion in new technology. This has raised the bar like never before. Retailers need to adopt the mindset that change presents opportunity – you can step up to that bar if you remain close to your customer.  

How can retailers exceed in meeting these evolving expectations? 

You can try to keep up with predicting consumer behaviour trends however the only real way to futureproof yourself is to stay close to your customer at all times. Conduct regular data analysis using behavioural data tools, build a CRO practise, create a framework for ongoing insight gathering and try not to focus on long term fixed digital roadmaps. 

Remain agile and focus on investment into digital capabilities and robust digital strategies. The elements of success come back to the customer and keeping the customer voice at the heart of all decisions – is it vital to know your customer, and as your customer needs evolve, it is imperative to evolve your business offerings to align with these needs. 

What can Tryzens offer their clients in 2023?

We work collaboratively with our clients as the trusted partner of choice to deliver a wide range of digital and consulting services including defining, prioritising and delivering successful digital roadmaps. Tryzens are proud to offer our clients ongoing support and strategic guidance to help navigate the retail sector especially in these ever-challenging economic climates globally. 2023 will be focused on digital efficiencies – knowing the customer and building engaging, and effective customer personas and user journeys. 

Additionally, Tryzens has a team looking after CRO – ensuring you’re getting the most out of your website. This team will review and provide opportunities to increase conversion via A/B testing. Tryzens partner with many local and international clients including iconic brands such as Treasury Wine Estates, Penfolds, Living Edge, Macpac, Dune, Whittards of Chelsea and Sweaty Betty.

To learn more about Tryzens and connect with us to book in a consultation, visit https://tryzens.com/ 

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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