It’s hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner. But since last year’s festive season, it’s fair to say companies have recognised the vital role of customer experience (CX).
Retail, in particular, has been soul searching. The US had a record Black Friday, but we didn’t see a comparable boost in the UK – November sales dropped to the lowest level since the 2008 recession, with footfall at shopping centres, retail parks and high streets falling 3.2%. Even online giants are feeling the pain – ASOS issued a profit warning after ‘unprecedented discounting’ hit trading.
The 2018 takeaway is that heavily discounted, generic offerings no longer meet expectations – and that customers want flexibility and consistently high service across channels. So how do you incorporate that lesson into your Christmas CX strategy? These 3 tips will help you build relationships this holiday season and beyond.
1. Your customer is for life, not just for Christmas
Sales have been coming hard and fast in the run-up to the 25th. People are awash with promotions – advertised across online and offline channels. The key, however, is to remember that Christmas is just one season in your ongoing relationship with customers.
So take a more holistic approach to those relationships. Map out their journeys and then connect data across touchpoints so you can find effective ways increase lifetime value.
2. Technology is here to help, so use it to your advantage
Digital transformation is no longer a nice-to-have. Consumers have a digital-first mentality, which means there’s an evolving preference for speed and personalisation (which companies can only deliver with the right technology and culture).
For example, we’ve seen this in the surge of mobile searching and purchasing, as well as in the rise of chatbots, artificial intelligence and messaging apps. Our latest research found that 32% of organisations are actively investing in new technology to provide greater customer insight. The right technology is an enabler and a simplifier, giving you a cost-effective way to communicate authentically and personally.
3. Optimise digital, but don’t forget in-store festive spirit
In our Managing the Fragile CX whitepaper, 25% of consumers said a disappointing in-store experience was a key driver for going to a competitor. What’s more, 36% are drawn to retailers offering a better in-store experience. Although people want quick and effective service, they also want to feel taken care of. After all, there’s a big emotional element when it comes to shopping and service.
Companies are definitely taking this on board, making sure they’re integrating digital transformation into the in-store experience. This isn’t just about digital POS; it’s about promoting a customer-centric culture among staff. And our research shows that 78% are allocating budget to CX improvements, and 28% are investing in upskilling employees.
All I want for Christmas…
When you’re writing your Christmas list, don’t just focus on the December and January sales figures. Think more widely about how you’re using the Christmas rush to build relationships that will last for the remaining 10 months.
And that means taking a look at how the entire business is contributing to your CX – from hiring and leadership development to marketing, supply chain, logistics, IT infrastructure, product design and service.
After all, it’s the season of giving – so why not give your customers something meaningful?