Customer Experience – Keep it Simple Silly !


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I’ve learnt that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel – Maya Angelou

Does Customer Experience require information technology? Or let me rephrase the question, is it necessary to purchase – configure – operate an arsenal of information technologies to improve customer experience? Which is my way of asking, is it necessary to turn customer experience as a business philosophy / value proposition into CRM: an information technology?

It occurs to me that it is a mistake to collapse information technology and Customer Experience together. I say that your organisation can impact-improve the Customer Experience in many ways that do not require information technology. Where is my proof? I have a story to tell.

Why didn’t I buy from two well-known retail brands?

I needed some trousers; my preference was for Chinos. So I drove to a shopping centre in the town. I went to the first shop, found what I was looking for. And in the process I came across summer shorts. So with a handful of trousers and shorts I headed to the fitting rooms. Long queue. No movement for three minutes. No staff around to help out. I put the goods back on the racks and left crestfallen.

On-wards to the second retail brand, which just happened to be next to the first store, within five minutes or less, I found myself exiting this store empty handed again. Why? One, they just didn’t stock trousers that fit me. Just about every trouser that caught my attention was regular length and regular is too short for me as I am tall and have long legs. Second, no staff members around to ask for help in finding longer length trousers. Third, the prices showed up as being too high; I remembered what I had paid for the Chinos I was wearing.

Here, I would like to divulge a contrasting online experience I witnessed at qualifiedhardware. A couple of days back I was searching for an exit alarm replacement for my garage door and came across their landing page. Unlike the fashion retailer who didn’t have the right SKU, QualifiedHardware had a plethora of options judiciously detailed out.

Spoilt with choices, I wasn’t able to decide which product to buy and I happen to come across a unique feature unlike I’ve seen anywhere else and this feature was send us a picture. Since I was happy with my last purchase, I simply uploaded my old alarm’s picture and the website gave me exactly similar option and I made my purchase within minutes and without any hassles. That right there was my moment of Aha!

Why did I buy from the Zara store?

Having had enough, I headed directly for the Zara store. Why? Because this is where I had purchased, some years ago, the Chinos I was wearing and was happy with. The store showed up as friendlier-easier as it was much smaller in size, I could clearly see two sales assistants, and they looked happy. I spent over $250 and walked out of the store with several Chino trousers and shorts. Why did I end up buying from Zara?

• They stocked the products that I was looking for – Chino trousers and a range of summer shorts
• I found the particular style I was looking for – Classic
• Each range of trousers came in a range of sizes including the size which I was looking for
• I found it easy-quick to try on the apparels as there were enough fitting rooms with little or no queue
• The ‘checkout’ experience of paying for these items was quick-easy and delivered by a friendly sales assistant

And then there was a moment of delight, a moment of WOW. Upon checkout I found that I have been charged 30% less than what I had expected to pay. Why so? Because Zara had a promotional sale that day and I had not noticed it as it had not been well signposted. (Something for Zara to focus upon)

I draw your attention to this: No information technology was needed other than the POS till. Zara ended up the winner simply because it did the basics of clothes retailing right: store design (size-layout-signposting), the right product, ability to trial the product, good customer service, and pricing that is in tune with product quality and customer expectations.

I also noticed that I had a stronger bond to Zara, and now with QualifiedHardware, and Zara did not have to engage in any customer loyalty or outbound marketing program to generate that bond. How has this strengthening of the bond come about? By stocking the kind of products that I am looking for, by asking the kind of price I am willing to pay, and by making it easy-pleasant to buy from them: not just once, but every time I have bought from them.

No matter what your business is, there is this feeling, a feeling to proximity that you want your customers to have about you. If your customers have a genuine affection for you, if they simply want you to succeed as a business, then – ultimately – it’s more likely you will.

Maybe genuine customer loyalty isn’t measured just in dollars and cents, but in feelings and emotions.

What’s your take? Leave a comment.

Rohit Yadav
Axtria Inc
Rohit Yadav is a customer experience evangelist helping companies identify and make the best use of their key performance indicators and generate insights to improve their customer experience. Rohit is a regular writer on technology, analytics and customer centricity for various leading forums like KDnuggets, Data Science Central, CX Journey, Analytics India Magazine, and


  1. Exactly! It’s not more complicated than that!

    But then why companies are still spending loads of money in expensive CX concepts, tools and set ups, while they are completely missing the basics of the basics?

  2. Rohit, good points that you make; however there needs to be some consistency – and then technology – when it inevitably comes to channels on top of the retail store. I would name the approach: Think big, act small. That implies starting with the simple things and first getting the basics right. I have written a few posts about this, too, e.g.:


  3. Exactly my point Xavier. Why are companies forgetting the basics and jumping straight onto the IT bandwagon.

    I really liked the term you coined Thomas, Think big, act small. The success lies in getting your basics right. Read some of your posts, really insightful.



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