Lisa Anderson


How easy is it for your customer to make a purchase?

Last year I needed to buy a new microwave. From my perspective a low level purchase decision. I needed a basic microwave and did not want to spend a lot of time on the transaction. I headed to a leading Australian retailer. There I located a helpful assistant who outlined the options. I made my choice and was told to follow the man to the counter. What followed was a series of steps that did anything but make my purchase easy, straightforward or enjoyable.

Making life difficult for your customer.

At the counter I was asked for my contact details for the warranty.  I provided these and as I did the fellow slowly inputted them into his computer. I pulled out my credit card to pay and was quickly told that the counter to actually purchase the item was in another area of the store. To my dismay there was a queue at this counter.  Reluctantly I joined it and was eventually served. Having paid for the microwave I explained that I was happy to carry the box myself out to my car. I was looking at a stack of product that I had just purchased. “I am sorry,” explained this sales assistant but we cannot allow you to carry the microwave out yourself.” I was instructed, instead, to drive my car around to the customer collection bay at the back of the store. Having located the customer collection bay (another 10 minutes later), there was a sign saying, “Ring the bell. Someone will be with you shortly.” I rang the bell and after a considerable wait a fellow emerged. I gave him my invoice and he explained that he would be back shortly! Another 10 minutes and he reemerged. He had had difficulty locating my product!

Add value through enhancing the customer environment.

Your customer’s experience is influenced as much by what they purchase as by the environment in which they purchase, that you create. This will include the ambient conditions such as temperature, music and lighting, the layout of your store (if you are in a retail environment), the ability and demeanor of your staff and the process that you put them through.

The benefits of flowcharting your customer’s experience.

Successful marketers pay a lot of attention to flow charting their customer’s journey mapping out exactly what the customer experience is.  For a restaurant, the flowchart might map the customer experience from the point of making a reservation through to arriving and parking their car, making their way to the table, ordering food, availing themselves of the bathroom and paying the bill. Is there any point at which we can make this experience better for our customer?

What happens when it is done well?

Consider organizations that do it well. When you walk into an Apple store the person that provides you with the technical help that you need is also able to organize payment of your product without having to move to a register.  The Commonwealth bank have recently introduced a “concierge” who greets you upon arrival, determines your requirements and directs you to the right area. The aim being to reduce your waiting time and to ensure that you get to the right person the first time.

Consider the purchasing/retailing environment that you have created for your customer. Review it regularly and ask yourself how can I make this experience more appealing for my customer?

by Lisa Anderson, Vantage Strategy & Marketing

This article is linked to  Google+ profile

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