Stand Out from the Crowd with a Unique Customer Experience

By Shaun Smith

Shaun_smith_1 Richer Sounds is a UK based HI-Fi retailer which achieves the highest sales per square foot of any retailer in the world. Why? Because Julian Richer, the Chairman, believes that the customer and the employee experience are inextricably linked and so he uses uncommon ways to create a great employee experience and reward them for creating an exceptional customer experience. He creates a distinctive employment experience for his best performing “colleagues” by providing these employees with the loan of company Bentleys for the weekend and trips on the company jet.

Yet any other retailer attempting to copy these very unusual employee practices is likely to fail because they would not be linked to the customer experience strategy.

The fact is that unless your customer experience and employee experience are carefully aligned with
the strategy for your brand you are unlikely to stand out from the crowd. The issue is not what these companies do but why they do it? Best Practice assumes that what works for one company will work for another. In our view, it is far more important for organisations to first decide their strategy and then decide how they can bring it to life through creating and managing a customer experience that delivers this every day. Only then can internal processes and policies be designed to reinforce this.

Unfortunately, all too often, it is the technology that drives the strategy or customer experience. Expenditure on CRM systems grew from $20billion in 2001 to $46billion in 2004 yet Gartner Research estimated that 55% of CRM systems drive customers away and dilute earnings.

Most CRM systems are installed without any thought to how they will be used to deliver the customer experience. These powerful data bases allow companies to collect knowledge about the customer that can be used to offer them products and services tuned to their particular needs and preferences yet many organisations (and banks are the worst) use them as a blunt instrument to stalk, rather than woo, the customer: many customers think that CRM stands for Constantly Receiving Mailshots!

John I. Todor, Ph.D.

Shaun, This is an extremely important topic for the success of customer experience initiatives. The Gallup organization has estimated that 75% of employees in America are at least partially disengaged from their job. That means they are physically present but not fully there psychologically. This disengagement communicates indifference which is the antithesis of good customer experiences. John I. Todor, Ph.D, author of Addicted Customers.

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