I Can See Them, They Can’t See Me…Lifting the Curtain of Customer Experience


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I buy most of my things off the web (Amazon Prime Member) and find that many other people today are doing the same. I respect the way they (Amazon) treat me, even though I’ve never met the guy who ships my package, and have rarely ever talked with anyone there.

Today, more and more retailers have gone on the web, and global consumerism on the rise. Many retail stores continue to close and it’s rare to come across a store where you are made to feel special. It is often challenging (at least to me) Delivering outstanding experiences consistently on a wider world wide web platform is even more so. It is not easy to win the ongoing respect and admiration of customers when you can’t see them.

There is no doubt that “Customer Experience” is the new differentiator that distinguishes brands and is a competitive advantage in the retail/eCommerce industry. Awareness and an increased choice in products and prices have, no doubt, led to an increase in customer expectations. A recent research report from RightNow indicated that 85% of customers will pay more for a good customer experience.

Consumers now have access to multiple communication channels and companies that sell 24/7 (bricks & mortar, internet, call centers, catalog, kiosks, etc.). So, companies need to deliver consistent customer experiences across all these channels which is more challenging than ever. The pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase touch points at each of the channels need to be mapped, measured, and managed in order to understand customer behavior and deliver a customized “you got me” experience, that says I hear you, I see you and care about you.

To make this happen, I believe, you need a culturally aligned model that starts in the “C-Suite” before it hits the ground and customer. As a guideline, the following checklist is a guideline which might help create a consistent experience for customers across multiple retail channels, be they bricks and mortar or web based:

Pre-Purchase Experience – Is the website working, and is the message clear? Customer interaction is created as soon as a customer becomes aware of your company. Generating impressive pre-purchase experiences is important for visitor-to-customer conversion. Since a majority of retail customers depend on the Internet for information prior purchase, it is important that companies are supported by a strong online presence.

In-Store Experience – Is your store clean, crisp, colorful and “feel” good? If it is online or brick and mortar, a store experience is important to persuade your customer to make a purchase. Online or offline store design that allows for easy location of products, store aesthetics, quick billing, personnel assistance, easy parking, all constitute in-store experience.

Product Experience – Do you need an PhD to use it? Obviously, the quality of the product matters. Complementing this with variety, without going overboard, enhances customer’s product experience. Make the product experience easy, simple and sweet.

Service Experience – Can you communicate and connect? A cup of coffee at Starbucks enlivens not only your taste buds but your spirits as well, thanks to its cheery employees. Amazon is reputed for its speedy and customer-focused problem resolution even in cases where the customer dissatisfaction is a result of an outside merchant.

Don’t tell me that you care about me and have me wait! An irate customer following a long hold time in the queue is a common call center agent experience. WestJet Airlines, Canada, makes both its customers and agents happy by filling the wait-time with jokes and trivia. Your service reflects your attitude toward your customers. Enhance it with innovation, technology, and an empowered workforce.

Multi-Channel Experience Alignment – Is it a 360′ experience? Customers expect the same type of merchandising from multi-channel retailers. So, your products, pricing, and regulations, should be uniform online and offline. Equally important is the seamless functioning of each of these channels.

Ensuring customer satisfaction on all the levels mentioned requires a clear vision and culture that is infused across the organization. Your vision should be based on deep insights into your customer expectations and your company’s strengths and weaknesses. This should be followed by the resonance of the vision across all levels through such resources as newsletters, emails, intranet, employee training, and staff meetings. This cascading is important as it enables each employee understand his/her contribution to realization of the vision. Task prioritization, and problem identification and resolution, are also made easier this way. Communicating from the inside out is a cultural job, and your “C-Suite” is responsible for holding the vision and spirit.

While this is only a beginning it might help move your company forward. Remember, a complete brand experience results from a consistent delivery of the above experiences, which translates into loyal customer relationships, and consequently, a great brand.

Keith Fiveson
A driven communications, customer care, operations, transformation consultant. Helping clients develop people, using convergence based technologies to brand, expand and optimize the customer experience globally.


  1. Very good points Keith. For online retailers in particular (but also for bricks-and-mortar players to a lesser extent), easy-to-miss problems with your website can severely damage the customer experience, especially at those vital “moments of truth”. By deploying an easy to use feedback tool like Feedbackify, you can be the first to know about such problems, which may otherwise go unreported.

  2. Adrian, great to hear from you and also glad to see you suggest Feedbackify, and other tools are available as well. Personally, I would like to hear more about Feedbackify, so you will be hearing from me soon, no doubt.


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