The question is can we leverage by bringing customer experience and loyalty to drive more walk in’s. Before arriving at a verdict on the same it would be better to have a deeper understanding of each elements and how they influence.
In one of my article I had given percentage split of different influencers for walk in and in that 2nd most important variable is word of mouth or recommendation. Close to 29% of people visit or explore a new thing based on recommendation received from theirs friends and family which illustrates one point that there is a relation between recommendation and walk in. Next question is would a person recommend if the experience suffer?
Chart below would illustrate the same
Now let me highlight the same with a recent experience, had visited one of the big electronic retail chain and purchased an air conditioner as the price and service was excellent, recommended the same retail chain to group of friends for the same AC and here word of mouth and recommendation played a bigger role to bring my friends to the retail chain from their intended online purchase.
They got the AC but due to some internal error only one AC got installed and 2 were missed out by the organization. Customer called the service desk to highlight the issue and was assured resolution within 24hrs which did not happen. Now multiple calls and escalation to top level got the organization to look in to this issue.
- Customer treatment and issue resolution should be consistent. The service I got and my friends got were very different.
- Lack of connected close looping mechanism has resulted in customer issue and subsequent escalation.
- There could have been a digital system which could have escalated to relevant team about the issue and closure
- Time taken to resolve the issue would leave an impression in the minds of the customer in this case it was more than 4 days.
- Importance needs to be given to process than to people, if the process is strong issue escalation and subsequent resolution would be handled in an organised manner rather than depending on individuals
Now what can be done better, can we link experience to walk in through loyalty?
What could have been done differently for the above illustration considering the customer, potential lead, seamless experience and digitization. If the organization includes loyalty to their app I would be happy to recommend my friends for a product. The organization has a lead and through my influence can close the sale. For the new customers, they would get a similar offer given to me along with some loyalty points and for me I would have got recommendation points which would club with my loyalty points and can be redeemed for any product from the same store.
Entire mechanism for recommendation to final closure is done digitally and there is track for entire process. System would auto generate alerts for installation and once the same is done would send survey to customer through APP or any other channel to get the customer feedback on his experience. If the customer is happy and gives a very good score an alternate link could be sent where he can recommend any of his friends or family for a product and the same above process repeats.
- A complete automated process ensures standardization, less human interference which eliminates errors and quicker closure.
- A proper methodology to capture customer feedback and experience helps organization to work on process deficiencies and bring a uniform process
- Bringing loyalty rewards the recommender as well as the buyer which establishes stronger reason for repeat recommendations
- Lower promotion cost and a proper process to capture the lead.
Is loyalty the answer for walk in improvement?
No, just by having a loyalty management process and points don’t suffice there should be engagement along with that. Let me illustrate that, one of the leading fast-moving consumer goods chain has loyalty management but the way it is executed is bad.
- Customer gets very low points on the purchase.
- The points conversion happens only once the customer reaches 10K threshold
- The points accumulated starts expiring after 3 months from the day of credit which means rate of expiry is faster than accumulation
- No extra points on recommendation
- No loyalty engagements like happy hour or bonus point days.
- No auto redemption, customer needs to take the loyalty card and go to service desk to redeem the points. Customer gets a signed coupon which he needs to give to the cashier to avail the discount
- No linking of experience and feedback to customer purchase and loyalty
Even though I am a member of loyalty management of this chain, I hardly visit them or use their loyalty and reasons are obvious.
Loyalty as an entity needs to combine with lot of different things like recommendation, promotion, customer experience and feedback. Along with these if the organisation can integrate their communication and campaign management the entire process becomes robust and strong and should deliver results.
If the organization provides an app to its customer, then customers can manage their points, use it when there is offers and manage their shopping list and cart. From an organization point of view app can be used for constant engagement to inform about offers and contests and for better use of location marketing.
Now coming back to the main topic there is significant advantage by managing customer experience and feedback management by associating the same with loyalty and customer engagement to drive walk in. As I said earlier, just by having a service or process does not make the difference but putting significant effort in execution along with that would bring in results to any organisation.