CMO magazine ran a feature recently that described how the Australian department store Myer is using technology to reconnect with customers. As the Myer case study illustrated, there are many areas where technology can be used to immediately improve the in-store experience. For example, one situation mentioned in the case study involved a customer requested a particular pair of shoes. The store assistant checked stock availability on an iPad in front of the customer thus eliminating the need to leave the customer waiting while the clerk headed to the backroom. If the shoes were available, the assistant could request a runner to retrieve them so the assistant could continue talking to the customer while the shoes were delivered.
Another example is when a customer goes to the changing room with clothes. If the Myer team knows the customer then they can ensure that Spotify is playing their favorite music in the changing room. What customer would fail to notice this attention to detail?
When I read this Myer case study it made me think about three key areas where the relationship between a brand and the customer has changed in recent years:
- The customer journey has changed;this is a dramatic shift. Customers no longer just consume adverts before a purchase and call the customer service team after a purchase. They develop a relationship with brands long before a purchase and will continue engaging long after a purchase. Think about the brands that do this really well like Nike or Harley Davidson. Customers engage with those brands regardless of whether they are in the process of buying a product. Brands need to understand this complete change in how customers engage.
- Customers expect omnichannel;customers just expect that your brand will offer the same great service and experience across all channels. It’s not acceptable to have great service in stores and a terrible online site, and vice versa. Your customers find you and want to interact across many channels and they all need to be equally great.
- Your marketing team needs to understand service;because of the fundamental shift in how the customer journey works there is no longer this idea that marketing and service are different. You need to blend all customer-facing services so that your brand is building a relationship with the customer at all stages of the customer journey. A company that has a traditional departmental structure where marketing, PR, advertising, sales, and customer service are all separate teams with different agendas will find that it’s very difficult to manage the modern customer journey.
Today, marketing is less about the projection of a brand and more about how to build an engaging relationship with customers. Working with the customer service team – and even blending teams – is vital to managing the modern customer journey.
Photo by Daniel Hoherd licensed under Creative Commons.