5 big things that make all the difference in a human- centric service organisation

Human-centric services means that the company is committed to providing you tailor-made services and solving your issue through understanding your business and what you need.

This type of service approach is focused on building a relationship with you and your business. It dramatically differs from the more traditional productcentric service that focuses on pushing your products or solving the issue and moving on. Generally, human-centric support means that you will experience a warmer and more “real”  conversation about the services and issues that you are having, allowing for a positive relationship between you and your service provider.

Many of our clients are moving in the direction of human-centric services as it allows for a better understanding of their customers hence providing an near personal experience that adds value to their customers problems. Skipping old fashioned segment approach, but value you for your needs and expectations and that specific point in your “customer life-cycle”. It’s an area in which I had the privilege of assisting my clients to think human-centric, not only from a customer point of view, but also think employee-centric. As they are the key to delivering real human experiences, off course assisted by the technological innovations that are available today.

If a company wishes to improve their services, why can’t they do it? Super service is a tough thing to measure.

Usually i start this type of projects by asking my clients the following question :  “What makes a great customer experience?” it is typical to get numbers and statistics back. There are off course Net promoter scores ( NPS ) ,  service level agreements (SLAs), or key performance indicators (KPIs). In contact center support “95% first contact resolution (FCR)” is typical. “Average speed to answer (ASA) of less than 30 seconds” is another favorite goal.  In customer service support “One hour time to resolution (TTR)”, and target referrals rates. I’ve even heard a mind-numbing “Our objective is to keep more than 90% of all types of calls to under five minutes.” Sometimes I’ll hear algorithms that crunch combinations of these stats i. It sounds simple, you can measure it with software, math, and automation. Perfect.

But if we are trying to care for customers, why are we only measuring performance using such hard measures when communication and service is a soft skill? 

Teams are made up of real people, with hearts and minds. Successful employees will deliver results against whatever thresholds that management sets.  What’s going on in those places where their service is delivered with a heart?  How is it that those teams really love what they do, care for each other, and genuinely feel for their customers?  What’s special there? Can we also measure this and what is the main pillar here?

It has been my experience that a leader in the heart of service teams can increase the quality of customer experience more than the manager who is adept at only using statistics. In this age of big data and metrics available from omni-channel in our service organisations, could it be that stats are better suited for understanding the operational aspect , rather than being the basis for rating customer experience in it’s totality ?

May I suggest : look for different standards of excellence, those with a more human-centric viewpoint. I further challenge us to look at how we lead through inspiring our people to really care about the way they interact with customers and how we can measure culturally aligned

 

So what does a company have to do in order to empower and enable their employees to be a dominating force in a competitive space ?

Besides dedication and commitment, it takes specific structure and focus on certain things.

I’ve identified 5 big things that make all the difference, and all 5 must be present.

Here’s how a company supports and builds a highly functional service organisation that can consistently deliver a world-class customer experience:

 

Education

The service employees must be well-trained and totally comfortable with the parameters of their job and beyond! They must be aware, adept, and curious of things outside their immediate job description. This means a complex matrix of curated documentation, knowledge transfer programs, peer coaching, ongoing education, attending customer sessions, and more.

 

Simplicity

Simplicity comes from sleek, stable, mature services. Robust self service options and agent-centric tools are paramount. 360 degree customer views are a necessity today, as is clean accurate customer data. [note: If yours is an omnichannel organisation, this is a tricky one, from its sheer inherent complexity.]

The company should make sure the support teams have bug-free tools, and be willing to implement tools that employees expresses interest in getting. Employees will think of things that the company never thought of, for their own processes as well as customer-facing processes and even service features. Listen to them. This is gold. Engage in bottom-up continuous improvement programs. Think lean culture!

 

Satisfaction

Businesses do not innovate or service, people do! Your employees are the ones servicing your customers. From sales to logistics, everyone is responsible for their own little part in the overall customer journey. How your employees perform on a daily basis, directly affects your customer experience. The more engaged and satisfied employees are, the more happy they will be to deliver a good experience to customers.

 

Altruism

It is a systemic structure that continually offers new knowledge or understanding to the customer in a passive way. In other words, the customer who calls in for support gets something more than just the removal of an irritation. They get something in return; maybe it’s an offer, or a tip or shortcut. But it’s something. And the company needs to make sure the employees can have these things ready to go for customers. Employees should not feel like they have to ‘ditch it’ when a customer calls, or when there is a new service launch.

 

Empowerment

Cultivate employees’ ability to fix stuff and make people happy, or even decline a problem customer’s unreasonable demand. Take on abusive customers yourself, away from your employees. Your employees usually are in support roles because they like to help people. Service & Support is where loyalty happens. This is where relationships are built. It’s also what feeds your employees’ souls and makes their days memorable. Empower them to have control over their choices, then reward the great ones they make. Celebrate great saves.
Management Summary

When the service teams are constrained through micromanagement of process, policy, and budget, it is opportunity missed and money wasted.

Blind adherence in a randomly selected metric will usually cause unintended consequences. Constraining resources, and discounting service teams’ potential value will yield apathetic employees; the good ones will leave because they are doing the majority of the work for no payback from the organisation, even if they love their colleagues. Without continued efforts to free teams from mundane tasks, the creative ones will exit, making retention of high performers impossible.

If these unfortunate things happen, you will see it. Symptoms of missed opportunity may include high turnover, increased staff absenteeism, missed SLOs/SLAs, declining morale, and declining reputation.

If you see this, fear not. The good news is that it is also entirely reversible, because support personnel genuinely want to see things get better, and they are full of ideas on how to make that happen.

When an organisation empowers that service teams to function like a cherished, valued asset, that company’s service is poised to be a powerhouse of excellence, generating positive reputation and customer loyalty.

 

Vincent Defour

Digital transformation expert

M +32 495 45 75 71

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vincentdefour

 

 

Winning experiences in the post digital age

Today’s customer experience is characterized by the following:

Expectations are rising at an exponential rate:

  • Customers are adopting new technologies and tools faster than ever, expecting a certain level of convenience and user friendliness across all channels and industries;

 

  • At the same time they crave for authentic, relevant and emotional experiences that make them feel special and personally addressed.

Customers are not thinking in terms of channels, it’s no longer about what’s digital and what’s not. It’s all about their intrinsic need, emotions and experience.

 

Your challenge as a business is not only to create relevant customer experiences at the right time and place. It’s also about maintaining consistency of those winning experiences across all channels.

 

Global and local businesses around us, are slowly adapting to the above customer trends.

  • On one side of the spectrum, we see physical point of sales investing in technology and digital touchpoints within their traditional shopping journey. Think about the use of smartphones while shopping (for example searching product information by scanning QR codes or paying for your groceries with Android Pay or Payconiq), virtual fitting rooms and fully automated self-checkout systems.

At the same time, these originally ‘brick-and-mortar’ players try to emphasize their “physical” strengths by maximizing the emotional customer experience within the shop/agency. This leads to new concept stores (concept store Mediamarkt Wilrijk, CRU, …) where it’s all about sensing, feeling, experiencing…

 

  • On the other side of the spectrum, we see pure online players like Amazon and Cool Blue opening their own physical shops, because they also believe human interactions matter.

 

 

In order to face the above challenges and create winning experiences across all channels, we identified 4 best practice transformation tracks:

 

Walk the customer talk

Everything starts with truly understanding customer needs. According to Brian Solis, Customer Experience expert, you should architect the ideal customer journey for your target persona’s. Develop your touchpoints around micro experiences that stick.  Use storytelling to emphasize your company’s purpose (authenticity) and make it fast, easy, fun and simple (customer effort score). Think about online retailers who insert a personally relevant handwritten message into your ordered package.

 

Reinvent your core

It’s one thing to have an amazing marketing department which excels in designing winning experiences but putting these into practice is a business wide undertaking. That’s often the hardest part. As process experts, we still see most of our clients struggling with ensuring continuous customer value across all touchpoints. Common pitfalls are:

  • Troubles aligning business and IT to the ideal customer journey; causing friction and bottlenecks between the client facing roles and the back office;
  • Difficulties to create ‘channel less’ experiences;
  • Mismatch between modern front-end interfaces and tools and obsolete back-office applications; causing waste along the journey and affecting overall user experience;

 

Get your data sorted out

In addition to aligning and optimizing your processes, you should get your data sorted out. You never had so much data. Think of your social media data, transactional data, process data and all other digital touchpoints… a gold mine of information. The challenge there is to find the right patterns between all data streams in order to turn data into actionable insights for your marketing and sales departments. Personification, which is often seen as the way to raise customer loyalty, can only be achieved with the right algorithms. This requires digital skills and customer understanding across all business departments. Because getting this wrong, mistakes in your attempts for personal messages and services, does more harm than good.

 

Reinvent the human part

Digital excellence supports convenience and user friendly transactions but brand loyalty requires emotional experiences which you can only achieve via human interactions.  That’s why we believe your employees become key in today’s (post)-digital era. Your employees can help your brand and business on so many levels:

  • Service delivery (correct product/process knowledge and customer centric attitude);
  • Winning experiences (truly engaged and happy employees go the extra mile in delivery, showing passion, empathy and creativity);
  • Free marketing or brand advocates (truly engaged and happy employees will create a positive buzz);

Your challenge is to engage them!

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

Service Excellence all the way: from front to back!

Customers’ expectations continue to evolve, placing severe pressure on organisations to keep pace.

Many organisations have been investing a lot in customer experience during the past years: mapping customer journeys, creating persona’s, reinventing products and services to better serve today’s and tomorrow’s customers. Taking your customers as a starting point is surely the right way to go. For all of you who do so, BRAVO! However, this front-end approach is not enough.

 

Customer-centricity should be embedded in your organisation as a whole, from front to back. You need to look at all operations from a customer’s perspective (end-to-end). You cannot setup a digital customer-centric service when your front office is supported by silo thinking, paper-driven back-office processes. CXSolutions.com estimated that 60 percent of customer dissatisfaction can be traced to back office inefficiencies!

 

“Too many companies digitally transform their customer facing channels, but keep working traditionally internally from a process and organization perspective”.

Möbius group CEO, professor Hendrik Vanmaele

We strongly believe focusing on customer-centric business process management can help to align and improve back office operations. Advantages include:

  • Higher consistency: which is key for customer satisfaction. Consistency in delivering quality across your organization and consistency across all channels (whether physical, by phone or online).
  • Higher efficiency: Mapping & analyzing processes enables us to identify waste, leading to cost reduction and higher profitability.
  • Employee & customer satisfaction. Nobody gets enthusiastic from redundant activities, tedious manual & repetitive work. Optimising your processes allows employees to focus 100% on their added value, customer impact.
  • Compliance & audit. Whether you need to comply to legislation or perform audits to achieve a quality certification, business process flows and work instructions help facilitate the process.
  • Increased transparency. A lot of companies still work in silo’s with marketing, sales and production operating separately. Managing the end to end process creates transparency across departments. Process flows facilitate communication to current staff members and new hires.

 

Convinced? Well than let’s start! Our recommended recipe for success includes:

  • Management buy-in and customer feedback: Lacking management buy-in is the number one reason why these kind of projects fail. Raise management awareness and involve them from the start. Making sure they believe in the cause will reflect in overall adoptability. We also recommend to involve your customers when aligning your back and front office operations.
  • A robust framework: Define your process landscape covering all your end to end processes, starting & ending with your customers. Since 83% of organisations admit to still be working in silo’s (AMAnet.org), we need to break the silo thinking and focus on the full sequence of activities. Additionally, you should define a clear roadmap for process modeling, improvement and alignment based on business and customer priorities.
  • Dedicated expert team: Call it OPEX team, BPMO or CXMO, you need a team to track progress, ensure you remain on the correct path and motivate employees.
  • Empower your employees: Customer centricity and quality should be the focus of each employee. They are your best source to identify improvement opportunities. Make sure they have the means, authority and enthusiasm to do this.

 

Jonathan Aelterman

M +32 499 33 65 59

jonathan.aelterman@mobius.eu

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanaelterman/

 

NPS-score: a simple metric … but what’s next?

NPS or Net Promoter Score is a powerful metric that is used to gauge the loyalty of your clients to your organization. The Net Promotor Score is based on the idea that an organization can divide their clients into three categories: promotors, passives and detractors. To measure NPS, one simple question is

sufficient: “To what extent, on a scale from 0 to 10, would you recommend [service x] to your friends & family?” This question is ideally followed by an open-ended question “Why did you provide [score y]?” which gives your client the possibility to motivate his or her score and offer suggestions for improvement. Each NPS is related to a specific touchpoint within the customer journey.

NPS has become an important tool to evaluate and optimize your customer service. However, knowing the score is only the first step in increasing customer satisfaction. Driving improvements within your customer service is the ultimate goal.

A key achievement is to turn passives into promoters, and to avoid detractors as much as possible. A high NPS means that your organization has a lot of promoters: people who rate your services with a 9 or 10.  They are enthusiastic and love doing business with you. Yet, a research by Wharton School of Business shows that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer products and services, but only 29% of them actually do. If you are able to get your customers more engaged, by converting them into ambassadors, this will lead to more revenue and growth. Hence the rising trends towards more customer advocacy and ambassadorship programs.

Möbius is partnering with a Belgian start-up that provides a very user-friendly NPS tracking software.  With this innovative tracking software you can track the NPS of multiple touchpoints and customer journeys within your company. The software is multi-device, meaning you can gather NPS data via mail, SMS, iPad … Nice features are the simple, user-friendly and insightful dashboards and the possibility to set alerts, enabling your organization to detect negative feedback and immediately react upon it.

 

 

 

With the existing tooling, gathering your NPS becomes easy. But that’s only the starting point…

Keeping track of the scores is one thing, to apply them in a way that benefits your organization, is another. With NPS, you can improve products, enhance customer experience and drive growth, but how? Knowing the score clearly isn’t enough. By not interpreting the score, you miss out on the following: increased sales and revenue, insight in customer turnover, turning passive customers into promoters, and discovering which services can be further improved. Promoters and detractors need individual attention because they can offer valuable insights into your customer experience. You can get feedback from detractors and find out what they dislike about your organization or service. Promoters, on the other hand, can specify why they feel connected to your organization, and suggest desirable improvements.

Once all those NPS data come in, the following questions typically arise:

  • How do you convert passives into promotors?
  • How do you convert promotors into real ambassadors?
  • How do you respond to detractors (convert them to promotors)?
  • How do you link your data sets to become smarter (CRM data, NPS data, cash registry …)?
  • How do you implement a customer centric culture (NPS philosophy) amongst all employees?
  • How do you ensure the representativeness of your NPS data, making sure you keep measuring the right touchpoints, moments of truth?

Möbius supports you in answering these questions. We offer a project-based approach to create a flawless customer service and facilitate a customer-focused culture, which will ultimately lead to higher revenue and growth.

 

Multichannel vs. omnichannel. A story of consistency and customer centricity.

The term omnichannel is all around us. It is often seen as the only way to survive for retailers, as is seconded by Gino Van Ossel, Marketing Professor at Vlerick Business School in his book ‘Omnichannel in Retail’.[1] Möbius is a partner of Vlerick Business School and in this blog, we’d like to elaborate on his book and discuss the importance of omnichannel.

In many news articles and blogs, the terms ‘multichannel’ and ‘omnichannel’ are used interchangeably. However, they differ greatly. Often, when an author makes the distinction, omnichannel is termed as ‘multichannel 2.0’ and while one can understand the reasoning behind this terminology, it wrongly suggests that both omnichannel and multichannel are fundamentally based on the same principles. However the two are fundamentally different both with regards to the organization (internally) and to the customer (externally). The difference explains the main reason why omnichannel is necessary to survive, according to Gino Van Ossel.

 

Now, what is the difference?

Over the last couple of years and decades, the different steps that a consumer takes before the actual purchase of a product changed dramatically. In the old days, consumers went to a shop, received information from the shop assistant, chose a product and took it home. Now, consumers can shop using many different channels (physical shop, app, website, etc.) and they receive information via all sorts of ways such as recommendations from their friends on social media, ‘independent’ customer reviews, newsletters, in-app advertisements, etc. The customer journey nowadays puts spider webs to the blush.

How the different channels, available to the customer, relate to each other explains the difference between omnichannel and multichannel. Multichannel refers to the availability of multiple channels, hence multichannel. These channels, for example physical stores and a web shop, are installed by the company and are at the disposal of the consumer. However, in multichannel, these different channels operate separately from each other (often engraved in the company by separate reporting structures and revenue goals). In a sense, a multichannel offering is passive since one channel exist freely and independently next to another.

The term omnichannel, on the other hand, indicates that all different channels are completely consistent with each other and form, so to say, one ‘omni-channel’. As such, the different channels are aligned in an active way. In omnichannel, the different channels that are available to the customer function much more as simply different ways of addressing the company, without being different content-wise.

Although the difference seems small, the impact for both the customer (external) and the company (internal) is important.

Consistency – the external omnichannel

Let us illustrate the external difference between omnichannel and multichannel by an example.[2] A customer in the USA wanted to buy a treadmill online at Target. However, the price of the treadmill in the eBay store of Target was much lower than the price of the treadmill in the Target web shop. The customer bought the treadmill via eBay, but at the moment of delivery, the trucker could not unload the package since he did not know the package was heavy. When the customer ordered a new delivery date, his treadmill seemed to have moved to a warehouse of Target. After some calls with the contact center of both the shipment company and Target, no one could tell exactly what went wrong. Frustrated, the customer sent out a tweet and to his surprise he got a quick and helpful response. He was asked to send some documentation but after doing so, he received an answer from Target that they could not help him since he bought the treadmill in the Target store on eBay and not in the Target web shop.

There’s no doubt that the customer experience could have been better in this example. But most importantly, each time the customer contacted Target via a different channel (normal web shop, eBay store, shipment company, Twitter, customer contact center…) he felt like he was interacting with a different company. The most striking example, but which is seen quite often, is a difference in price between different channels. Offering an optimal customer experience would require having a consistent approach towards the customer via each channel. This is exactly what omnichannel aims to achieve.

Customer centricity – the internal omnichannel

Defining omnichannel and explaining the added value of consistency is easy, but implementing it is another task. The inconsistent multichannel offering is the consequence of the internal organization of the company. Traditionally, companies tend to maximize the performance of each channel separately. The company is likely to be organized in ‘swim lanes’, according to Stacy Schwartz, a digital marketing expert, consultant, and adjunct professor at Rutgers Business School.[3] In a sense, this internal structure is pushed out to and reflected in the customer experience (this is sometimes termed ‘inside-out’). This results in the consumer interacting with different departments of the company when using a different channel.

According to Gino Van Ossel, having such silos for each new channels is not a problem per se, but it is an intermediate stage towards an omnichannel offering1: “Typically, a small team starts selling via a new channel and only the project leader is focusing on the new channel fulltime. When the channel is gaining importance, it becomes a separate silo, parallel to other silos in the organization. This prevents the initiative from being overruled by the interests of the existing business.”1

As a result, implementing an omnichannel offering is fundamentally different from a multichannel offering. Being a truly omnichannel company might well be the perfect example of customer centricity since this involves putting the customer first and building the company around his or her specific needs or journey, not the other way around. As Rik Vera, CEO of nexxworks, puts it: “As a company, you used to be the flower and you needed to attract as much bees as possible. What we see now is the customer saying “I’m not a bee, I’m the flower, I’m in the center”. As a consequence, companies can no longer define or map a customer journey. At best, they can monitor it.”[4]

Transforming the company in a customer-centric way is often termed ‘breaking down the silos’. Indeed, companies remain to be organized in silos that ‘throw data over the wall’ from one silo to another. Breaking down these walls (both technical and organizational) is far from easy and will take a significant amount of time. It is, however, the only way to go. In the end, how could a customer experience a truly seamless experience if the involved teams in the company cannot work together seamlessly?

Holacracy – customer centricity as an organizational structure

Implementing an omnichannel offering will require companies to invest in technology, infrastructure, marketing and almost all other aspects of their business. In recent years, a new management and organizational system was invented to make a company truly customer-centric: Holacracy. In literature, the online clothing store Zappos is often given as an example. To continue the metaphor of Rik Vera, CEO of nexxworks: “Zappos tries to be a swarm of bees and to see each of their clients as a flower. ‘Try’ is very important since they do a couple of things, learn from it and adjust constantly.” They realized that if you want to put the customer centrally, you cannot force them into customer processes. Therefore, the employees of Zappos are not forced into specific processes either. Zappos provided some key values and gave a lot of empowerment to their employees. This new organization system decentralized decision power and distributed power in the company in such a way that employees can perform their jobs the way they want as long as they put the customer centrally and keep focused on the company values.

 

At Möbius, we believe Holacracy has many benefits and is a great tool to organize a company in such a way that it can react very agile to a changing environment. One year ago, a part of our company started to adopt the Holacracy. The benefits of this organization structure became clear, which is why some of our employees became certified trainers to implement Holacracy. Currently, we started to organize our entire company via the principles of Holacracy. Therefore, we defined clear company values and our organizational structure is changing in such a way that all of our employees are empowered in their jobs. In this way, we are much more customer-centric and we believe that we can assist companies better in making a similar transformation as a part of their road to an omnichannel offering

[1] https://www.vlerick.com/nl/about-vlerick/news/omnichannel-betekent-overleven

[2] http://marketingland.com/opposite-omni-channel-targets-last-mile-e-commerce-customer-service-failure-112164

[3] http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/Editorial/Feature/Multichannel-vs-Omnichannel-Marketing-Is-There-a-Difference-and-What-Does-It-Mean-to-You-102361.htm

[4] http://www.bloovi.be/nieuws/detail/als-je-je-klanten-centraal-stelt-moet-je-je-medewerkers-ook-centraal-stellen

Balancing bricks & clicks

Omnichannel best practices succeed in offering one seamless experience for customers. In many cases, both digital and physical channels are in place to offer the customers what they need, when they need it. Still, the question remains how the physical and digital channels should be balanced. To answer this question, once again, we should focus on the customer.

 

The first question we should ask is whether a physical store is still relevant. Studies have shown that about 80% of consumers use digital channels such as computer, smartphone, tablet or in-store technology in shopping. More importantly, however, 73% of consumers also use physical stores next to these digital channels in their shopping journey.[1] In addition, other studies point towards customer experience as being the key brand differentiator.[2]

 

Customer experience is subjective and personal, but the concept can still be used to balance physical channels against digital channels (or bricks vs. clicks). Although a digital-only company can use all kinds of high-tech tricks to make their website look and feel as cool as possible, a truly amazing customer experience is rarely created via digital-only channels. A physical store has much more capabilities in terms of appealing to a customer’s subjective appreciation of the shopping experience. A cosy shop, some products to test and feel, helpful advice in person, accessible drop-off or pick-up point… can all boost the customer appreciation level higher than a digital-only shop ever will.[3]

 

Offering physical stores next to digital channels offers so much more possibilities for a company to meet the customer’s demand and trigger a true ‘wow’ experience. A few years ago, shops tend to complain about customers that came to physical stores to determine what to buy, but they bought the product online (often via cheaper online retailers). In recent years, however, ‘reverse showrooming’ is booming: customers analyze and compare online, but buy the product in a physical store.

 

Customer experience, however, is more than creating the ‘wow’ experience in a physical store. Customer service also influences a large part of the customer experience. A proper service should be a major focus of organizations since it can affect customer satisfaction in both ways. A lack of customer service will make your customers turn their backs on you, while most customers are willing to pay more for decent customer service. In that sense, physical store should focus on serving the customers instead of selling products.

 

To meet the customer’s demands in the best way possible, exploiting both physical and digital channels is appropriate. Online channels offer clear advantages for ordering products or comparing prices. Physical stores can be organized in some specific ways to offer a customer experience that digital channels cannot[4]:

 

  • Flagship store: Nicely designed shop where a significant amount of products (with a focus on the new ones) can be tested and experienced. In this shop, the customer should be amazed in each possible way.
  • Specialty store: Clearly dedicated store where a customer can get all the information, advice and special products he or she desires.
  • Service store: Only a few products can be bought in the service store, since the main focus is on personal advice, pick-ups, reparations and returns.
  • Outlet store: Special store to sell old collections at cheaper prices. This avoids large discounts on a website, which might reduce the brand image.
  • Pop-up store: A pop-up store offers an ideal way of testing the options of a physical store and meeting your customers in person. The pop-up store can create quite a buzz, which is favorable for the familiarity of the brand

 

At Möbius, we strongly believe in this win-win situation that can be created between online and offline channels. Together with our clients, we spend a lot of time understanding the customers and mapping the shopping journey they follow. Digital transformations, in our, opinion all start from ‘walk the customer talk’.  As we showed in this article, the physical and digital channels each have their own key benefits. It is absolutely crucial to know what your customers want, what they like about your current offering and what they would improve. Only then can a company determine which specific benefits a physical store can have over a digital channel and vice versa to determine the right balance between bricks & clicks.

Together with our clients, we at Möbius engage in this journey to discover the customer needs and we guide our clients in including all required aspects to be able to offer a true omnichannel experience.

 

Simon Wostyn
Consultant
+32 479 51 32 12

[1] https://hbr.org/2017/01/a-study-of-46000-shoppers-shows-that-omnichannel-retailing-works

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2015/05/18/customer-experience-and-the-with-pleasure-principle/#3223555b240a

[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2014/10/06/44-facts-defining-the-future-of-customer-engagement/#20b2cda3fa26

[4] https://www.frankwatching.com/archive/2015/03/25/van-clicks-naar-bricks-hoe-bouw-je-jouw-webshop-uit-met-fysieke-winkels/

Physical retail stores need a reboot. Here’s why.

In a recent study, the Digital Transformation Institute at Capgemini investigated the value of physical retail stores for consumers by means of a global survey spanning 6,000 consumers and 500 retail executives.[1] Results from this study highlight several factors that point to a mismatch between changing customer expectations and the current physical retail stores. Here, we summarize some of their key insights.

Shopping behavior of 21st century consumers has changed dramatically and the physical store is losing ground compared to e-commerce. One third of consumers prefers washing dishes over visiting a retail store and 40% sees shopping in physical stores as just another chore that has to be done. Needless to say, the physical store has lost its charm.

 

Consumers in a digital age

In recent years, consumers have discovered several benefits of e-commerce such as home delivery or easy price comparisons. Current physical stores often function merely as a space to buy products, which is why consumers feel no urge to visit them.

Installing physical stores that regain interest from the digital customer will require adding some functionalities to current stores. Checking product availability before a store visit or same-day delivery of in-store purchased products are some of the most important consumer expectations of physical stores. However, this will only match the functionalities of the store with those of the digital channels and will not lure customers to physical stores. Therefore, to regain interest from consumers, the store should leverage some benefits it has over digital channels such as the ability to touch and feel products or the possibility to engage all five senses of consumers in a full customer experience.

 

Mismatch between customer and store

On average, 81% of retail executives believe a physical store to be important, while only 45% of consumers agree. Researching the Net Promoter Scores (NPS) for several brands, revealed that retailers underestimate customer dissatisfaction to a large extent. The mismatch between what consumers want, as was explained in the first paragraph, and what stores offer is expressed in several frustrations during the shopping experience. Long queues, difficult comparisons between products or not being able to locate products are some of the reasons why consumers avoid going to physical stores. This is confirmed by the result that 71% of consumers would be happy to bypass retailers and buy directly from manufacturers through small, local retail stores to handle the last-mile logistics.

 

Retailers are lagging behind

The survey showed that 54% of retail executives think the digitization of physical stores is happening too slow. Three reasons are mentioned as to why this digitization is not gaining speed: ROI of digital initiatives is difficult to assess, store managers/associates are not promoting digital initiatives enough and digital requirements such as Wi-Fi or data integration are still being rolled out.

Next to these digitization obstacles, another mismatch between retailers and consumers is observed in the sense that not all digital in-store initiatives are useful. Those that do implement the right initiatives are termed the ‘digital sprinters’. Some key characteristics of these retailers are that they have a clear vision and strategy, they prioritize digital transformation and have strong governance practices. They also use data to the best of their knowledge and motivate people to relentlessly focus on customer experience.

 

The new physical retail store

As was stated above, matching digital channels on proximity, selection and price is a must, but will not lure consumers to physical retail stores. Physical stores are obliged to go the extra mile and prioritize customer experience. In general, appealing to consumers of the 21st century will require injecting technology into the physical stores. However, this does not mean adding some fancy high-techy stuff to the store, but applying technology as enabler to address consumer requirements.

Several initiatives (usually powered by niche startups) showed benefits of some interesting technology applications. The benefits are mostly found in boosted sales, although cost reductions can be achieved as well. Some examples of customer-facing initiatives are personalized messaging, in-store navigation, facilitating social experiences or in-store convenience (e.g. cell phone chargers). Technology can also affect operations by supporting store associates, installing robotics for inventory management or using in-store analytics.

 

The road ahead for retailers

Next steps for retailers depend on their current situation. ‘Early gainers’ have realized some benefits of digitization, but should scale their efforts. Usually they should focus on using consumer data better to boost customer experience. ‘Strugglers’ have invested heavily in wide digitization initiatives, but have failed to realize the expected benefits. According to the survey, these retailers should rethink their vision and governance for the digital future. ‘Laggards’, at last, are failing at each aspect of a digital transformation. To boost their efforts, prioritizing digitization at the C-level is a crucial initial step for them.

 

 Möbius to the rescue

As the survey showed, unlocking benefits of digitization is not easy and involves tackling many different aspects. Möbius can offer the required expertise and experience to assist companies to succeed in the digital transformation from vision to implementation. At Möbius, our approach to digital transformation consists of addressing these different aspects through several steps:

Walk the customer talk: get to know the specific needs of your targeted consumers

Reinvent your core: rethink daily operations to support the desired outcome

Inject technology: use technology as an enabler in the customer experience

Stabilize your culture: install a culture of digital leadership and an innovative mindset

 Read More about how we can help you 

 

Simon Wostyn
Consultant
+32 479 51 32 12

[1] Available at: https://www.capgemini-consulting.com/resource-file-access/resource/pdf/retail-store-research_dti.pdf

What defines a good omni-channel customer experience

An exceptional customer experience is more than the sum of its parts: You need to orchestrate and architect every interaction, across all channels, to create an experience that flows and that keeps customers satisfied and coming back for more.

Through our experience in projects aiming to achieve just that, we have identified 5 key factors to a winning omni-channel customer experience

 

1. CONVENIENCE

Today’s consumers are time-strapped, and this means that convenience is not just a benefit—it is a central principle of a strong customer experience. Customers are lazy. Think how you can save their time , lower their effort to buy from you and make life easier for your customers. As we are all creatures of habit, improving convenience will result in customers coming back for more.

When you think of Amazon, you might think of low prices and big selection. I can name dozens of other companies, both online and brick-and-mortar that do the same thing. Amazon knows it competes with all retailers. So, they broke out of the low price and big selection game with convenience. They want to save time and make life easier for their customers. They created the Amazon Prime program that gets merchandise shipped to you, without shipping charges, in two days or less. They created the Dash button that allows you to purchase merchandise with the simple push of a button. They want to eliminate as many steps as possible from the time a customer is thinking about purchasing a product until that product is delivered. Speed and simplicity is what they are about.

Zalando now picks up returns at your doorstep, no need for the hassle of going to the postal office to send back your returns, enhancing the convenience of buying and building competitive advantage over other online retailers.

 

Today customers expect convenience. They expect to view the same pricing online and offline, they expect to be able to buy online with a few clicks and pick up in-store or buy in-store and get goods delivered to their door. Etc.

 

We see companies investing heavily in convenience however, only a third of companies have operationalized even the basics such as store pickup, cross-channel inventory visibility, and store based fulfillment, return handling etc.

 

2.CONSISTENCY

Remember: you are only as good as your last interaction!

Consistency is vital when building a true omni-channel business,it may not seem sexy, but consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy. It is also indispensable to create experiences based on a unified brand presence that consumers can trust. However, it’s difficult to get right and requires top-leadership attention.

 

Customers want to have confidence that you will deliver on your promises every time, not just when it’s convenient. You need to consistently deliver good products and services across your organization, you need to mean what you say and do what you say.

Customers expect a product and service offering to be the same across multiple channels, they expected support to be consistent across online, offline, and social touchpoints.

 

Companies largely still operate in silos, which by design introduces friction into the customer journey. Each department often acts as on its own, designing and managing their respective touch-points differently and adhering to deferring standards and metrics thereby causing challenges in ownership, responsibilities, etc.

Customer-facing departments don’t talk to one another. Marketing doesn’t talk to product development. The digital or web support teams talks to customers via a ticketing system. And everyone seems to be bypassing the value of IT.

The traditional customer funnel mindset contributes to the problem. Customer journeys are no longer linear. The steps that are supposed to guide customers through each stage of engagement are distributed across different departments and the people that support them.

 

Building consistency throughout the complete non-linear customer journey means focusing heavily on end-to-end processes, policies, guidelines and re-structuring all teams to be able to collaborate together to provide a consistent experience from sales towards support and IT.

 

3. RELEVANCE

The new consumer expects interactions to be real-time, highly personalized, and tailored to buying preferences, transaction history, and user behaviors. Consumers would share personal details and are comfortable with brands collecting personal data  in the name of creating a personalized customer experience. Data analytics can realy boost the personalized experience. You can use data mining to autonomously tell you which offers to make to which customers with a full explanation as to why . By using predictive analytics, you are able to deliver custom-tailor messages to specifically meet individual needs of your customers.

You can create behavior-based segmentation to find trends and make custom recommendations. Use all data insights to further increase your segmentation. This builds more relevant content based on what the customer wants to receive.

Using data to enhance your relevance is not only imperative internally to gain a clear, value-based understanding of your customer base but also to your customers to ensure a highly personalized customer experience.

Data allows you to show your customers how much you care on an individual level and ensure loyalty for years to come.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Theodore Roosevelt.

 

4. EMPOWERMENT

Did you know that revenue for most companies comes from 20% of their loyal customers? That cross-sell and upselling to a prospect is 5%-20%, whereas the probability with an existing customer is  60% – 70%?

Most organizations understand the basic truth that even the best customer experience strategies can be derailed if customer-facing employees don’t do their part. Your workforce is the lifeblood of the company and your primary point of contact with customers. Employees can make the company, the service and the customer experience look fantastic—or not. When service suffers, the challenge isn’t in deciding how valuable your employees are, it’s determining why your employees aren’t executing the customer service strategy you’ve laid out.

All too often, bad customer service is written off as apathy, laziness or an unwillingness to comply with company expectations. That may or may not be accurate but the reality is that these problems are usually symptoms of a different issue entirely—a lack of employee empowerment. If the people you hire to interface directly with customers don’t have the authority or the resources to ensure a positive customer experience, it’s virtually certain they won’t be able to deliver superior service. Conversely, if an employee is put in a position to succeed and meet the customer’s needs at every touch point, your chances of maintaining a contented customer base increases exponentially.

All of this begs the question: How does one empower their employees to the point that they are positioned to deliver excellent customer experience across the complete customer journey? It’s an imprecise science that varies depending on your company, product, industry and a host of other factors.

Employee empowerment is a win-win proposition. Your customers enjoy the benefit of great service hence staying and becoming loyal customers. Your employees get better job satisfaction, engagement and experience

 

5. AGILITY

Companies designed in the 20th century have very little capacity to evolve and adapt. They are rarely adaptive organisms, at least on more than a superficial level.

Technological acceleration now means that capturing connected customers depends on the companies ability to take an agile approach. Businesses must adopt to market changes and shifts in buyer behavior, as well as organize themselves for autonomous and agile teams, scalable and fluid processes and systems that enable fast action when opportunities present themselves.

“The key to doing better,” argues Oxford economist Eric Beinhocker,“is to ‘bring evolution inside’ and get the wheels of differentiation, selection, and amplification spinning within a company’s four walls.”

An approach we use ourselves @ Möbius is called Holacracy. It offers the possibility of doing just that: embedding an enhanced capacity to dynamically and continually evolve, within an organisation’s core DNA. It helps create organisations that are fast, agile and succeed by pursuing their purpose, free from the tyranny of top-down planning or the time-consuming pursuit of consensus. It’s not a silver bullet – it takes hard work and practice to make the shift into such a dramatically different way of organising, but those who see and experience it in action are excited about its results.

In the words of David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done” and a business leader with years of Holacracy experience in his own company,

“Holacracy is not a panacea – it won’t resolve all of an organisation’s tensions and dilemmas. But, in my experience, it does provide the most stable ground from which to recognise, frame, and address them.”

Still powerful customer experiences are not just about maintaining consistency, relevance, empowerment, convenience and agility at any cost.

It is about creating equally seamless customer dialogue across every stage of the customer journey, from pre-purchase research to post-sales touches.

 

Vincent Defour

Digital transformation expert

M +32 495 45 75 71

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vincentdefour

Trends artikel CEO MÖBIUS Group: “Nog teveel bedrijven kiezen voor technologische veranderingen, terwijl ze intern traditioneel blijven werken”

Om hun overlevingskansen te vergroten, moeten bedrijven zich bewust zijn van de steeds evoluerende digitalisering van onze wereld. Een gesprek met Hendrik Vanmaele, CEO van de internationale groep van business- en technologie consultants Möbius.

Are you digital : looking back at an inspiring event, tx to www.ab.be

12 jaar. Dit is vandaag de gemiddelde levensduur van een bedrijf. Amper 12 maanden geleden was dat nog 15 jaar en 50 jaar geleden leefden bedrijven zelfs gemiddeld 60 jaar! Ja het gaat snel. Steeds sneller. Hoe ga je daar als bedrijf mee om? Het antwoord: jezelf continu transformeren en telkens opnieuw vervellen. Zoals een kameleon. Of anders gezegd: forever young (yup, zet die bekende Alphaville song maar loeihard).

Dàt is wat organisaties vandaag moeten zijn. Dit is maar 1 van de inzichten tijden het ‘Are you digital’ event van Möbius op vrijdag 29 september. Vanaf het begin is het duidelijk: collega Lien en ik zullen ons hier geen moment vervelen.

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