Customer Experience: The Buck Doesn’t Stop with Black Friday and Cyber Monday


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Black Friday. Cyber Monday. They’ve become a national tradition right alongside the holiday turkey and stuffing. But what can you do to ensure your customers (and their family and friends) return to buy more, even after the sales are over?

Get serious about customer experience management or succumb to an expensive way to rent some unprofitable customers.

Holiday Shopping 101: The Facts about Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Historically, Black Friday has been regarded as the biggest shopping day of the year. A time when shoppers fill up stores, and retailers kick start their balance sheets to climb out of the red and into the black.

In fact, Black Friday is only one of the biggest shopping days of the year. According to ShopperTrak, an organization that measures retail foot traffic, the days leading up to Christmas also will see increases in foot traffic and sales. In fact, Dec. 22nd will see the biggest sales after Black Friday followed by Dec. 21 and Dec. 15.

Online companies enjoy their big day on Cyber Monday. Last year, it ranked as the heaviest U.S. online spending day in history, as sales increased 22 percent over 2010, hitting $1.25 billion. But, that’s only where the fun starts. Green Monday (I know, yet another gimmicky name), which falls 10 days before Christmas, saw 1.13 billion in online sales last year.

It’s tempting, then, to think of success as a series of one-off events. But here’s our point: Discounting to attract customers won’t pay off if they don’t stay to become loyal, long term profitable customers. The real profit will be the loyal customers you create, who will buy from you again and tell others to purchase your product and/or service for their holiday gift giving needs… and even for gifts and purchases in the new year.

It’s all about Loyalty

In our latest Customer Experience Industry Survey of more than 1,000 companies of all sizes across the world, we found that 69 percent of customer experience management programs use Net Promoter® So that means all those companies will be following up after a major sales investment like Black Friday to identify and energize their best customers – their Promoters, right? How about recovering unhappy customers who were just the target of a big marketing investment? Nope. Our survey also found that closing the loop with customers is considered one of the biggest challenges.

Here’s a huge opportunity to be one of the few businesses actually closing the loop after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can increase customer loyalty and see these customers buy from you again – and again – for the rest of the year and into the new year. So, don’t throw away this opportunity to get genuine Voice of the Customer feedback.

Ask the Ultimate Question and Why

Once you get your customers to open their wallets, follow up and find out more about their experience. Use a brief “transactional” survey to discover how your customers felt about this individual experience – either in-store or online. Ask the Net Promoter questions: How likely is it that you would recommend [your product] to a friend or colleague? And why?

Close the Loop to Recover Detractors and Mobilize Promoters

Once you sort your customers by Promoter, Detractor or Passive you can assign follow-up to the specific team members best equipped to resolve each issue. You’ll know why these customers rated you the way they did, so it will be easy to “close the little loop” and follow up with them individually to make sure their experience improves next time. With your Detractors, it’s as simple as a call or email to them to identify (and even correct) their issues and complaints with the goal of turning them into Promoters. The very act of following up gives you a chance to interact with the buyer, educate them, learn from them and bond with them.

Where the money really starts to pile up is with your Promoters. Get to know them, what they like about you and your products and, yes, “mobilize” them to take their endorsement to their friends and family. During the holiday shopping season, the opportunity couldn’t be more obvious. You want those Promoters to come back, and to energize their friends and family to do business with you, too.

So how do you do it? Social media makes this task easier than ever.

If, after completing the survey, the respondents designate themselves as Promoters, prompt them with a special offer they can share with friends on social media. You’re letting them know that you appreciate their time and their business… and you’ll receive word of mouth in return.

Still need inspiration? Look at how other brands, like, Costco, Belk, Lowe’s, Apple and Nordstrom reach out to customers during this time. We expect them to be top performers this year, since they ranked high in customer loyalty in our 2012 Net Promoter Industry Benchmark study.

Loyal Customer Buy Again, and Again, and Again, and Again…

The bottom line is this. You are making a major investment in recruiting customers. You need those Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers to come back many times and also tell others to buy your products and services during the next year.

To achieve that, you need to recover Detractors and mobilize Promoters. You’ll build a loyal customer base that will get you in the black sooner this holiday season, and if you play your cards right, even sooner in 2013.

Richard Owen
President and CEO of Satmetrix, Richard Owen co-authored Answering the Ultimate Question with Dr. Laura Brooks, which empowers organizations of all sizes to use the Net Promoter loyalty metric and customer experience management program to fuel profitable growth. Want to learn more about Net Promoter? Check out the Net Promoter on a napkin video.


  1. Good strategies for the holiday shopping blitz. More importantly, you point out that the experience they have during the busy holiday shopping season will set up the customer for future business. With all we do to get shoppers into our stores, we don't want to blow the opportunity to deliver amazing service, just because we're busy!


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