Consumers have so much to entice them. Retailers have to stay on top of their game to keep those customers coming back for more. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) feels that the time is ripe that companies measure not just return on investment (ROI) but concentrate on return on experience (ROX) too.
What is ROX? PwC’s 10th annual Global Consumer Insights Survey (GCIS) attempts to explain this, and it does this with the help of 21,480 online consumers in 27 countries spread across Europe, Asia, Middle East, the US, Canada, Brazil, South Africa and Australia. The survey shows that technology has put consumers in a position “to demand a tailored, channel-agnostic, socially conscious and social media-powered experience”, the PwC
report stated. More than ever, people are shopping via smartphones than their computers. The survey showed that 24 percent of the global sample were using a mobile phone to shop at least weekly, compared with 23 percent using a PC and 16 percent using a tablet. The younger generation is doing almost everything on their phones (or laptops) -- from paying their bills to streaming multimedia content and even getting their news from social media (39 percent) more than other sources. Shorter attention spans
This also means that attention spans are getting shorter and distracted people often go elsewhere, to seek their next high. In order to keep their customers engaged, everyone who has anything to do with them, or to sell to them has to make their interactions as friction-less as possible. Be it through voice technology or by designing better mobile/website interfaces, and this helps them avoid, say, the hassle of finding parking, while shopping offline or waiting in long queues at checkout points.
But the survey found that a hybrid approach seems to be the win-win one. This has shown results where customer education and personalisation have needed a human touch more than online interaction. The new GCIS findings show that just 15 percent of the “global sample acquired insurance via a digital channel in the past year, only 13 percent got a personal loan, and 12 percent executed a financial planning decision.” Only about 32 percent are ready to invest in digital currency. This is one sector where face-time counts, and not just via the chat app either!
ROX is not just about great hand-holding combined with digital ease of transaction. It’s also about clean, green living, these days. So organic brands will appeal to people and survey respondents said they would “choose sustainable products to help protect the environment, 37 percent look for products with environmentally friendly packaging, and 41 percent avoid the use of plastic when they can. In addition, two-thirds of our global respondents said they are willing to pay for locally produced food, and 42 percent said they will pay more for sustainably produced non-food items.”
Give and take that appeals to consumers
They also like the brand they buy to have an authentic back-story. Like this one - Naadam (named after a Mongolian festival) Cashmere is a New York-based label that sources its cashmere from Mongolia. It gives back to goat herders through a Mongolian non-governmental organisation called the Gobi Revival Fund, that it founded. The company meets with goat herders once a year and helps provide veterinary care for the livestock. This kind of give and take appeals to the more aware 21st-century consumers, and adds to the brand’s appeal too.
But it’s not just consumers whose experiences need to be monitored and parsed. Even employees need this because they are the face of so many brands and are on the ground interacting with those customers. “In fact, according to PwC’s 2018 report ‘Experience is Everything: Here’s how to get it right,’ companies that invest in and deliver superior experiences to both consumers and employees are able to charge a premium of as much as 16 percent for their products and services.”
So being emotionally invested in customers and employees has to be an inherent part of an organisation’s culture and it cannot be a one-off behaviour. When designing metrics, using techniques that are available in-house or via generic ones -- including PwC’s proprietary Experience Radar (xRadar) tool, which helps quantify “what’s most important along the path to purchase and what factors are most influential in driving customer behaviours”, -- this points the way at how customer experience (CX) can begin to be mapped.
For eg, Peloton, the stationary bike company, had a relatively easy problem that needed fixing. Their customers were not happy with the delivery service. So Peloton took over this role in certain areas and saw customer ratings soar. Of course, every organisation/brand’s sore points may not be this obvious or as easy to fix.PwC recommends these steps to get orgnisations started on this journey for better ROX:
Combine customer and employee experience. Build communities with a purpose. Focus on “magic moments” to build customer loyalty. Understand customer behaviours and attitudes. Safeguard their data and deliver value when using it. Understand what experiences customers want to experience and give it to them. Manali Rohinesh is a freelance writer who explores financial and non-financial subjects that pique her interest.