Customer experience varies from company to company. Service that may appear subpar at one establishment may seem top-notch at another store. Ultimately, it's all relative. However, there are numerous factors that hinder CX no matter how high or low customers' expectations are. Though not always obvious, these elements undermine all other CX efforts because they slowly undo progress, causing satisfaction and loyalty to come apart at the seams.Here are just four examples of how faulty policies and waning engagement can take their toll on CX strategy:
1. Exclusions Apply
Coupons and promotions are an ideal way to encourage both online and in-store purchases. But, when it comes to department store offers, the deals usually come with an added layer of complications. We receive direct mail from leading retailers, such as Macy's and Lord &Taylor, on an almost daily basis. Every time, the advertisements boast about some amazing sale, but the fine print proves there's always a catch. Brand and departmental exclusions run amok, consuming most of the space on the coupon itself. What's the point of sending out such promotions if they don't apply to most of the products? Just tell me what's actually on sale and maybe then we'll talk.
2. Poor Return Policies
Many brands present consumers with rather restrictive return policies. In the case of fast fashion brands, such as Forever 21, shoppers can return items if they so choose, but they'll only receive store credit in return. (Consumers may also exchange items if they wish.) This tactic permits the retailer to keep said money within the confines of its own four walls, yet it also sends an interesting message. Such policies basically imply that retailers have little faith in their products and that, if they don't trap consumers in this manner, they'll likely lose business and income due to inferior goods. Trust me, the cycle can be quite vicious--especially when everything has holes.
3. Reluctance to Serve
Department stores have this tendency to be understaffed. Or maybe associates are just difficult to find. Either way, on one recent trip to Sears, we were left to wander the entire first floor before finding three associates hidden in the mattress section. We approached, politely interrupting their sports-related powwow to ask for assistance, but the response was less than stellar. These men spent the next 30 seconds arguing about who should help us. They may as well have played 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' to save time. We felt more like an unwelcome nuisance than valued customers, clearly redefining our perception of the retailer's devotion to customer satisfaction.
4. Failure to Inform
Common sense may not be all too common anymore, but one would like to think that retailers value logic above all else. Unfortunately, however, this isn't always the case. Notably, when it comes to the concept of 'final sale' items, it might be smart to tell consumers that the products they're interested in cannot be returned before completing the transaction. On one occasion, when trying to return something, the associate pointed out that it said the item was final sale in small print at the bottom of the receipt. What's the point? By the time the receipt prints, I'm stuck with that product anyway. It should be the associate's responsibility to alert the consumer prior to payment.
What other behaviors detract from and diminish the customer experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below!