It’s well established that a great experience can make all the difference in keeping a customer beyond their initial purchase. The best customer experience is when you can make their interaction with you so pain-free and simple that it becomes a no-brainer to return for more.
Healthy stock levels, useful product info, error-free payment processes, and prompt delivery – they’re all hygiene factors if your business is to provide a good customer experience. However, for a great customer experience, you need more. You need to think smarter.
Talking of smart, there are undeniably smart people at Tesco. Anyone familiar with the brand will know their Clubcard is a thing of CRM legend. Some very smart thinking went into that, understanding that utilising customer data to increase spending, whilst offering relevant discounts and additional rewards for being loyal, was going to be key to growth and market dominance.
That Clubcard has now arrived, to much acclaim, in the Apple iPhone App Store. Whilst its convenience is undeniably smart, it is the less heralded Tesco Finder App that caught my eye.
If the Clubcard App is the popular and attractive Prom Queen, the Tesco Finder App is the geeky Maths Club President who probably goes on to develop the next Google.
To be clear, this is not a sexy app. It doesn’t look spectacular and it undoubtedly has its flaws. It appears to be a work in progress, an experimental plaything of the Tesco R & D team. However, there is a smart idea behind it.
What they have done is to look at their internal tools and have asked themselves whether opening them up to their shoppers would improve the customer experience. In doing so, they realised that a tool they had built to speed up product selection for their Tesco.com Home Delivery Pickers, would in fact, make an ideal tool for those less familiar with store layout and content– such as their customers.
So now using the App, you can type in Green & Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate and you’ll be able to find it in-store in ‘Aisle 8 on the right side counting 15 units along then the 8th shelf up from the floor’. Simple, but very smart.
Your Hidden Gems
Now think about this for your own business. What internal tools or information do you have access to that make your life easier? And now what would happen if you put those in the hands of your customers?
In this digital world, we have an abundance of data. We probably only use a fraction of it. How could you use your data and tools to improve your customer experience?
Here are a few ideas to start you off:
Stock levels – how many items do you have left in stock? Can you save time and frustration for a customer who will discover their item can’t be delivered when they want it?
Expected delivery dates – internet retailing is about speed and convenience. Make this information clearly available to inform the buying decision
Best time and day to advertise – if you deal in classifieds (jobs, cars, dating, etc.) share this data to help your customer get the best response to their ads
Help guides / instructions – don’t make me ring a call centre to order a new copy of the instructions that were missing from my flat pack wardrobe, put them on the website for me to print off
Appointment availability – if you run a hair salon, doctors/dentist surgery, or MOT garage put your booking system online, so I can secure my appointment slot when it’s convenient for me, 24 hours a day
Hotel room selector – your may know which room overlooks the great sea/mountain view, but why not empower your future guests and let them select the vista they want? (Whilst you’re at it, add panoramic video views so I can really tell what it’s going to look like)
New product development list – you don’t want to give away all your plans, but why not make customer suggestions more freely available to others and collect votes to determine priority?
Think about how many of the above (or variations on the theme) could save your business money through reduced manual servicing, as well as producing happier, more satisfied customers.
You already have that ability in your hands; you just need to put it in someone else’s.