Before I left the US for Australia in 2007, Nordstrom was one of my favourite brands and one of the companies I purchased from on a regular basis (the other being Zappos). I loved online shopping and Nordstrom made it easy and fun – easy to buy, easy to receive, fun collections to browse and easy to return. And they didn’t hesitate to throw in free gifts and show me how grateful they were for my loyalty. I felt heard, seen, appreciated and respected so I shopped with them.
And in keeping with their commitment to providing a superior customer experience, they have listened and learned from their customers to form Project 18, an invite-only group of 800+ of their most engaged customers in Los Angeles co-creating new offerings. This group helped build one of the newest lines for one of their Nordstrom Made brands that recently launched, the Zella Community Collection.
Customer-centric, location inspired – Nordstrom started the creative process by inviting around 100 of the Project 18 community members to build the collection. It was a diverse group who all shared a passion for fashion and an active lifestyle. The design team met with them to gather feedback on each piece to make sure what they created was reflective of what they were looking for in an activewear collection.
Nordstrom provided the initial product ideas and then worked in close collaboration with the members on features such as pockets, length, zipper placement, colours, fabrication and more. Member feedback also validated their hypotheses that selection, convenience and service on their terms was important.
The collaboration was far more than just a focus group – there were numerous iterations with the members to ensure everyone remained aligned. Members also had the chance to test the products during workouts and provided additional feedback to ensure everything looked, felt and performed well.
This partnership with customers culminated in a collection featuring nine styles across activewear apparel and accessories available in multiple colours, which are inspired by the landscape of Los Angeles with pale pinks, greys and blues as the anchoring colour themes of the assortment. An added bonus for the eco-conscious: all of the pieces are made from recycled polyester.
By partnering with customers to create an assortment that is reflective of what they’re looking for in an activewear brand Nordstrom redefined what it means to be customer-centric.
Customers still want the same things: simplicity, convenience, and personalisation—but the way in which these expectations are being met grows increasingly sophisticated.
1. Omnichannel the Customer’s Way
A few years ago, tying together various channels to create one unified customer experience was considered disruptive. Today, it’s a differentiator. Offering omnichannel services that are tailored to customers’ specific needs and preferences give a brand a competitive advantage.
Leading brands are:
– Enabling real-time data synchronisation across channels.
– A banking customer, for example, could begin filling out an application online and complete it at a bank branch, over the phone, or another channel without starting from the beginning.
– Facilitating various methods of fulfilment, such as buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), buy-online-return-in-store (BORIS) and buy-online-ship-to-store (BOSS).
– Investing in the infrastructure and logistics to allow buyers and consumers to track shipments at any point in the supply chain, anytime, anywhere.
9% of customers who use four or more channels spend 9% more than single-channel shoppers.
2. Prioritising Data Privacy
As more people welcome voice assistants into their home and office, brands need to think about how they’ll connect with consumers in a way that’s authentic but not intrusive.
Giving users the option of personalising voice assistants —enabling the assistant to recommend in-network doctors or nearby clinics, for example—will transition assistants from being just a device to an integral tool in people’s lives.
At the same time, the security of emerging voice assistants and active listening technologies are under increasing scrutiny and may face restrictions that could impede further development.
Despite the growth of the connected market, reports show that 41 percent of Australians are more concerned about cybersecurity than last year and 61 percent are concerned about their private information being exposed online, up five percent from the previous year.
At the end of June 2018, it is estimated that 1.5 million Australian households owned a smart speaker. It was less than 10,000 in 2016. That figure should hit 3 million by 2022.
3. Supporting an IoT world
In an increasingly IoT world, artificially intelligent devices are beginning to act on behalf of human customers. What happens when the customer is a machine?
From cars and refrigerators to smart speakers, more and more devices are acting on behalf of humans.
Google is allowing certain Pixel phones to make Duplex AI voice calls, such as to book a table at a restaurant.
HP’s “Instant Ink” service automatically orders ink when it senses a shortage, and LG has created appliances that can communicate with each other.
In fact, 85% of consumers say they already use at least one of six devices or services (e.g. navigation apps, music streaming, virtual assistant) that feature artificial intelligence, according to a Gallup poll.
By 2020, 5% of all digital commerce transactions will come from a smart machine.
4. Balancing humanity and automation
Sensors, cameras, and algorithms are altering customer interactions with human staff. More companies are using digital technology to automate tasks previously handled by humans and speed up transactions.
Amazon has opened a handful of cashier-less stores and is considering opening as many as 3,000 such stores by 2021.
Insurance companies are deploying drones for damage inspections and fraud monitoring.
As traditional roles get automated, consider whether customers would value speaking with associates in other roles, such as nutrition experts or insurance specialists for nuanced situation.
Drones could replace $127 billion worth of human labour and services across several industries over the next few years.
Tips for companies who want to create customer-centric cultures:
– Quick CX wins don’t work long0term. To stay ahead of the competition, truly customer-centric organisations must commit to a long-term transformation. Customer experience is not a department – it has to be a way of thinking. Leaders can promote this notion with accountability systems that tie rewards and compensation to the customer experience.
– CEOS must take responsibility to CX. 42% of CEOs whose companies have a digital initiative underway indicated culture to focus on CX changes are necessary versus 37% of CEOs without a digital initiative, reported Gartner. CEOs need to make the culture of their companies more proactive, collaborative, innovative, empowered, and customer-centric.
– Ensure employees have the necessary talent, knowledge, and mindset to drive transformation and in light of the skills gap in technology, invest in re-skilling and retraining programs. A lack of available or appropriately-skilled personnel are one of the largest obstacles to digital transformation, according to industry reports.
– AI integration becomes the norm as customers expect support services to be available anytime, anywhere, and from multiple channels. To keep up with demand, companies are doubling down on automation, AI, and knowledge tools to help associates increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience.
This information was gathered from CX Trends, 2019 Edition by ttec.