RETAILWIRE DISCUSSION TOPIC:
Creating a ‘Wow’ Shopping Experience – 1/18/08
While rare at retail, a “WOW” shopping experience generates four times the word-of-mouth than a problem experience, according a survey from Verde Group and Wharton.
The survey showed that customers receiving an especially positive experience are likely to tell seven other people on average about the experience while those receiving a negative experience told 1.5 people.
But it also showed that such experiences are fairly rare – only 51 percent of women admitted to having a “WOW” experience in their entire shopping history, and only 39 percent of men did.
Is it practical to train or inspire sales associates to create “WOW” shopping experiences? What are some retailers known for top customer service doing to help create incidents of “extraordinary service”?
It is not only practical to train and inspire sales associates to enable “WOW” shopping experiences, it is essential. Note that I said “enable” vs. “create”. It is folly to assume we can create these experiences. The creation process is mutual, between the associate and the customer and is defined by both individuals and the situation.
Keys to enabling WOW experiences:
- Have a WOW culture. A company culture that is all about a vision of wowed customers and wowed associates. Yes, the associates need to be wowed too. Wowed to be a part of a company so in tune with why they would choose to work there, and wowed to be a part of a company so determined to provide wonderful product to their beloved customers in positively memorable ways.
- Make it easy. Examine every customer touch point and every associate touch point. Seek out, identify, and remove without ceremony anything standing between your associates’ and your customers’ WOW experiences. Things like unnecessary reports, policies & procedures, unclear marketing or merchandising, etc., all create barriers. Knock them down!
- Recognize, reward, recognize, reward. Look for ways to recognize and reward associates and customers for exhibiting desired behaviors. And not just the big ones – the best recognition comes daily for the small “ordinary miracles” referenced in the article. When you find them, reward them – usually a sincere and specific “thank you” does the trick – for both associates and customers.
Why isn’t this already happening for most retailers? The choice has not been made to focus on #1. The choice has been to focus on short term financial results, to the detriment of not only customer experiences, but talent development, product development, marketing, store design and more. My hope is that retailers are using the current business climate to reassess what they have been focusing on and realize that they must focus first on their people and their customer and then the long term, sustainable growth and profits will follow. Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! strategist
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