Winning the “Experience Wars”: Lessons from Today’s CX Leaders

Gear up, the Experience Wars are here. 81% of today’s companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience, and shoppers are putting their money towards experiences like never before. Whether your business is well-established or just getting started, it (quite literally) pays to keep up with the latest trends in customer experience. Read on to learn how the most influential companies have crafted CX strategies that rise above the rest.

Nike: Delivering an Omnichannel Experience

Many companies strive to engage their customers across various platforms, ranging from brick–and–mortar to mobile, but a truly omnichannel experience creates an effortless sense of continuity between these touch points. This is where Nike differentiates itself from the rest. While in proximity to the Nike Store in NYC, shoppers can open the Nike App and receive updates about the store’s exclusive offers. Upon arrival, they can get around using the in-app store layout and scan products to have them delivered to fitting rooms. The Nike experience doesn’t end there, since customers can use the Nike Run Club app to track the progress they’ve made with their new athletic gear. 

Nike skillfully accounts for each platform and product that its customers utilize in order to craft an integrated experience, one that starts before the store visit and continues after the purchase. These efforts surely don’t go unnoticed: Shoppers show more loyalty towards brands that can engage them across a number of channels. A recent study by  Harvard Business Review found that within six months of an omnichannel shopping experience, customers “logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the retailer’s stores.” Not only that, but they were also “more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those who used a single channel.” What’s not to love about that?

Amazon: Fueling the On-Demand Economy

online CX

Amazon has led the way in providing quick and convenient transactions for its customers— in fact, some could say that the company has shaped today’s “on-demand” economy as we know it. With Amazon’s Prime membership and “One-Click” purchase feature, customers no longer need to navigate a complicated checkout process, pay for shipping, or wait weeks for delivery. “Dash” buttons have even made it possible to restock household items at the blink of an eye, all in one place. 

The striking popularity of these features has set the bar sky-high for online retailers, and consumer standards are shifting more than ever. A 2018 survey reports that 43% of U.S. consumers expect companies to offer much faster delivery times than previous years, and 53% have abandoned an online purchase due to slow delivery times. With this in mind, it’s imperative that companies strive to maximize convenience and minimize waiting times if they want to grow their customer base. Next-day delivery, online reservations, and curbside pickup options have become the new normal when it comes to delivering the most streamlined customer experiences. 

Apple: Creating Emotional Connections

It doesn’t take a world-class psychologist to understand that the way customers think and feel will predict how they act. This is why emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers, according to insights by the Harvard Business Review. Companies that employ emotional-connection-based CX strategies enjoy improved consumer loyalty and financial outcomes, and Apple is no exception to this phenomenon. 

The tech giant’s Genius training manual emphasizes the importance of making customers feel welcomed, happy, and eager to return. In order to do so, employees follow their Five Steps of Service:

………………..Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome.
………………..Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs.
………………..Present a solution for the customer to take home today.
………………..Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.
………………..End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

Apple’s CX strategy goes to show that “customer satisfaction” isn’t enough— connecting with customers at an emotional level and understanding their fundamental motivations is key. It’s time for more companies to follow Apple’s example and shift their focus from solely brand delivery to emotional impact. Such an approach empowers companies to fulfill each individual’s needs in an effective and memorable manner, all while building long-term customer relationships along the way. 

Crate & Barrel: Taking Customer Education Seriously

One overlooked component of the CX agenda is whether companies can offer the resources necessary for consumers to successfully utilize their products or services. Crate & Barrel’s distribution of “Mobile Totes” at select locations offers a great example of how customer education is elevating marketing strategies and emphasizing company value. According to Businesswire, these handy tablets “provide shoppers with product information, recommendations, inventory availability, and styling options as they build their digital collection of home furnishings.” On top of that, the device’s CloudTags platform allows customers to access product reviews on-demand, all without having to download an app.

Mobile Totes are truly bringing the best features of digital commerce into Crate & Barrel’s stores. Even better, by providing a variety of educational content—ranging from how to stage a piece of furniture to what customers have to say about it—the company frames itself as a voice of authority in the industry. So, for those companies who want to set themselves apart from the competition, providing a seamless and informative in-store experience is the way to go. 

Sephora: Personalizing Each Experience

For the third year in a row, beauty pioneer Sephora has claimed the top spot in Sailthru’s Retail Personalization Index. Sure, many things don’t get as personal as the products you apply to your skin, but that’s not where Sephora’s sole advantage lies. Instead, the company has spent years building customer profiles as a means of personalizing the shopping experience across various platforms. 

The magic starts with Sephora’s in-store Color IQ technology, which scans customers’ skin to help them determine the perfect makeup products for their skin tones. Customers can add their Color IQs to their digital “Beauty Insider” profiles, which in-store associates can access to provide relevant recommendations. Sephora’s marketing tools also provide in-app messages and emails that are tailored to each shopper’s profile.

Companies have a responsibility to leverage the characteristics that make their customers unique, and the few that fulfill this responsibility will have the competitive advantage. In Sephora’s case, its innovative CX is to credit for its “strong revenue growth and gained market share” over the first quarter of 2019, according to LVMH. As marketing technology advances and competition grows along with it, we can expect more companies to follow Sephora’s example and personalize each customer’s journey. 

Moving Forward

So, how can your company reach the heights of today’s CX leaders? For starters, it’s worth acknowledging that today’s customer experience relies on how each brand’s digital and physical environments intersect, as well as how they enhance one another. Nike’s highly-integrated mobile platform, Apple’s sociable customer service, and everything in between testify to the fact that meaningful interactions and convenient tech-based solutions bring out the best in every customer experience. 

This is where RSVD comes in. Not only will our reservations system empower your customers to wait less and safely experience more, but our built-in marketing functions will provide them with the personalized attention they expect. RSVD makes it easy to gather valuable insights on customer activity, keep customers engaged with custom messages, and create unparalleled value for future visits. 

Learn more about how RSVD can help your company manage demand, improve customer satisfaction, and market smarter. Because crafting an exceptional customer experience is no longer an option—it’s an expectation. 

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