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    A Customer Experience RX for Retailers

    Michelle Uehlinger, Vice President, CEM

    It is become imperative that businesses have a clear and consistent view of their customers’ experience. In a now global marketplace where customers regularly traverse from bricks-and-mortar to online purchasing, companies face constant and ever-growing competition for each customer’s trade.

    In this new environment, Customer Experience Measurement (CEM) has become more important than ever before, specifically with a renewed focus on how data is reported. It’s critical that businesses have an accurate, up-to-the-minute view of how customers are viewing their experiences and, by extension, the business. That’s why more and more retailers are investing in CEM programs that provide up-to-the-minute information in a clear, consistent, actionable and accessible format.

    Identifying Opportunities to Succeed

    One perfect example of the wide-ranging value of CEM is Toluna’s engagement with one of the world’s largest pharmacy chains. The company wanted to deliver the most value to each individual customer at every “touch point” (specific point of customer interaction) to improve overall customer experiences. That meant analyzing those interactions at specific stages in the customer life-cycle to measure its ability to deliver the right message at the right time.

    Company and store managers needed to know how each customer perceived her experience from the very beginning of their shopping experience, through purchase and after. It was critical to evaluate every stage of the interaction, identify opportunities to provide a positive customer experience, and establish metrics to evaluate performance. 

    Measuring Success

    In any one of the chain’s 7,500 stores, the Customer Experience Measurement (CEM) process begins when a customer uses her loyalty card. Card use initiates a process by which an email is sent to computer users with a link to a survey, or a mobile-ready survey sent to those preferring mobile access.  The surveys probe issues related to both basic needs and emotional concerns. On the practical side, did the customer find the products they were seeking? And on the emotional side of the coin, were they treated with courtesy and respect?  Were they addressed by name?

    Continuously updated results are available for corporate, district, and individual store managers, so they can constantly stay abreast of how customers are viewing and rating their experience.

    Each month, each store receives a scorecard showing them where they stand in the customer experience realm and establishes the targets they should aim for over the next 30 days.  These reports are available via a wireless device, and easily understood by virtually anyone within the organization.  More than 15,000 interviews are collected daily from the company’s stores.

    Analytics and their Importance Today

    Once upon a time, the world was a straightforward and comfortable place for the corner drugstore, restaurant, and retailer. Each store had a cadre of loyal customers.  How things have changed! Most pharmacies are now part of multinational corporations, retailers now sell everything from groceries to hardware and gardening supplies.  Customers’ loyalty is more important than ever, and companies need to do what they can to over-deliver and differentiate themselves from the rest.  CEM is a critical discipline to achieving this goal.

    In an age when one-to-one marketing is one of the new watchwords, more and more companies will be seeking ways to peer into the minds of individual customers to discover just how satisfied they are. And we believe only market research companies that master and continue to explore the newest technologies will be able to offer their clients that crystal-clear view.