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How to Improve Retail Customer Experience by Engaging Employees, and Answers to Other Burning Questions

Medallia: Retail Customer Experience

Russ Haswell, Solution Principal at Medallia, and Erica James, Senior Manager of Professional Services, recently joined forces on a Retail TouchPoints Webinar illustrating how enhanced employee engagement builds customer success. When employees are engaged in making a customer’s experience better, and feel supported to do so, retailers reap the rewards. In the webinar, Russ and Erica identified three key trends driving the convergence of customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX).

Experience is the New Product

Customers want the intangibles: convenience, access, comfort, personalized services… the list goes on. This trend is evidenced in the webinar by the story of a luxury retail employee who effectively leveraged intangibles to strengthen brand loyalty by creating a comfortable shopping experience for the whole family. And in a separate instance, customer feedback led to a major beauty retailer analyzing their in-store micro-journeys. This resulted in the implementation of a successful beauty advisory program where store employees help customers with product selection based on their needs.

Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.

– Richard Branson

The Customer Experience Bar is being Raised

To meet, or exceed, rising expectations, it’s imperative to understand if employees are being supported by the training, education and information available to them. Not only will happy, supported and engaged employees deliver more delightful experiences to the customer, but they will pay dividends to the organization by staying longer and being more productive.

Therefore organizations should systematically improve employee experience by applying the same journey lens used for customer interactions to the employee lifecycle, and by soliciting feedback at moments that matter. However, the key to improving employee experience is transferring that feedback into action.

Find out how companies can build a customer-centric culture by building trust.

Leveraging Engaged Employees is Essential

Once an environment of highly engaged employees has been cultivated, organizations should look to leverage employee input to solve problems and innovate.

The webinar shares an example of a retailer that noted that their repeat purchase behavior significantly dropped after customers explored the Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS) option. Customers were having to wait in line to pick up their items, so stores failed to make the process any easier than buying from the physical store. This savvy retailer knew their employees were their best bet for solving the issue and surveyed their stores where employees were crafting thoughtful pickup experiences by sectioning off pick-up lines and putting accessories and complementary products in the pickup areas. They successfully prototyped that across their other stores, a great example of successfully leveraging the voice of the customer through the voice of their employees.

You Asked, We Answered.

Here were some of the most frequently asked webinar questions. For the entire webinar and Q&A, click here.

Q: What’s a best practice in terms of sharing employee feedback (often anonymous) with people within the organization? Do you need to think about that differently than customer feedback?

The key to establishing a customer-centric culture in your organization is sharing timely and regular customer feedback with employees at all levels of the organization. That feedback should be relevant to their role and interaction with the customer, and provide enough information to drive action and learning—without being overwhelming.

When it comes to employee feedback, it’s important for organizations to strike a balance between ensuring anonymity, while also keeping leaders accountable for the experiences and ultimately the happiness of their teams. What’s key here is capturing enough feedback/data points from employees to identify true addressable patterns, and avoid cases where feedback can be traced back to individual team members.

Read how Medallia has become part of the culture at Sephora USA

Q: If a company rolls out an EX program, does it create an expectation that they are going to handle every complaint or piece of feedback. How do you deal with that?

It starts with setting the right expectations when soliciting the feedback, as well as considering the use case of the feedback you’re capturing. One example is that of a company requesting employee feedback in inventory management, where employees are asked to bubble up issues. Given the goal of this exercise is to solve problems in real time, it’s important to close the loop with employees so they understand when and how the inventory issue will be resolved.

In other cases where employees are asked for ideas for operational improvements, it’s important to call out that while each individual may not receive a response, their feedback is critical to advancing both the customer and employee experience. Being transparent about how that feedback will be used and celebrating viable employee ideas fosters input and builds trust.

Q: How long does it generally take to get a program like this up and running?

Over the past several years Medallia has evolved our product that incorporate industry as well as horizontal (e.g. Voice of Employee) best practices. This allows us to deploy “out-of-the-box” solutions over the course of weeks to a few months, which provide customers with pre-configured OCEM solutions and services that can be fully tailored to meet specific operational and brand needs.

You can view the full webinar here. And here are a few helpful links:

We’d love to talk to you about how Medallia can help take your CX program to the next level – contact us for a demo today.