All retail businesses understand that an improved customer experience is worth the investment, and there’s no doubt that creating greater customer loyalty drives revenue and growth. But the challenge for those of us working in the CX field now is: how?

With retailers facing another year of disruption in 2020, there will be much tougher scrutiny of CX investment and a need to demonstrate how these programmes actually deliver business value and ROI.

Hazel Morton leads Critizr’s UK marketing team and was named in CX Networks 30 under 30 game changers within Customer Experience in 2018.

Hazel Morton of Customer Feedback specialist Critizr works with some of Europe’s biggest brands and businesses. Here she explains why money, measurement and empowering the whole company should be top CX priorities, and shares four useful strategies to keep retail programmes on track.

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  1. Build a strong money story: Forrester’s recent report states that 1 in 4 people working in CX are at risk of losing their jobs if the investment in their role can’t be justified with a demonstration of ROI (Predictions 2020: Customer Experience, Forrester, Oct 2019). Building a ‘money story’ for the company’s senior team that shows exactly how the investment delivers for the bottom line is crucial. That means investing much more effort in measurement, analysis and a deeper understanding of how activity will deliver greater revenue and growth. Understand your company’s level of CX maturity and the current drivers of CX performance, lay out predicted revenue uplift and when can it be expected, and benchmark against competitors. A rigorous interrogation of the financials and a strong case for the resulting business benefits must be at the core of all retail CX programmes. 
  2. Use the right metrics: A programme of customer listening will capture insights for your CX programme, but are you using the right mix of metrics to measure and analyse your feedback? CX scores come in and out of fashion, but having worked with some of Europe’s biggest retail brands, it’s clear that a single CX score can never provide the depth of understanding that’s needed for a complete view of the customer. One size definitely does not fit all. Understand how the different scores work and build your strategy around a bespoke mix, tailored to suit individual business needs – whether that’s customer satisfaction, intention to buy again, customer effort or the Net Promoter Score.
  3. Engage your customers: consider the quality of your data and how you can make the feedback and collection process across each channel better for customers. Survey fatigue and low engagement are threats to CX success, so keep processes simple. Neither your staff nor your customers have the time for lengthy, overly complex surveys. Make your engagement with customers open and conversational to improve the quality of insight and build loyalty. And focus on closing the feedback loop, making it easy for customers to stay loyal and spend more with your business. 
  4. Empower your staff: As CX and customer-centricity scale as business priorities, it’s important to think about how to turn every member of your business team into a customer champion: from HQ to frontline teams. Using customer insights to shape strategy and long term trends is of huge value. But empowering staff with actionable insights at local level can have a transformative effect on CX ROI. We’ve seen many businesses realise that, no matter how golden their customer data is, if it’s stuck in a spreadsheet at HQ, it’s of no business value. By embedding customer feedback at local level, staff can easily tune into their own customers and take action in real time – whether that’s a quick revamp to improve queue times or planning for a seasonal promotion. A senior executive from our client, the French retail group Galeries Lafayette, summed it up well when she talked of a ‘cultural transformation’ in the business, alongside a technological one. This is what drove a renewed customer-centricity in their business and an improved customer experience as a result.