In the past, customer experience expectations were set by a customer’s next best choice, namely the experience provided by a competitor not too far down the road.
However, with the evolution of online reviews and the new emphasis on food service, today’s customer expectations have skyrocketed. It’s a game changer. Your old competition is no longer the benchmark. Now, you compete with the best, recent retail experience anywhere and from any industry. How do you stack up against your recent retail experiences? New industry leaders like Amazon, Uber and others have conditioned your customers to expect more in return, and in some part, more than maybe you are willing to deliver. Take for instance some of the following principles from Marriott Hotels founder, J. Willard Marriott:
- “It’s the little things that make big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.”
- “Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers.”
- “Great companies are built by people who never stop thinking about ways to improve the business.”
These guiding principles continue to permeate Marriott’s company culture. They expect each employee to take a customer-centric focus (from housekeepers on up to management) who take pride in responding to customer social media complaints in real-time. Upholding company core values has seemed to pay off for this customer experience champion! Customers expect experiences that serves their needs first. Experiences that promote giving first before they take. They expect that you provide the necessities of meeting their goals and desires with the least amount of friction possible. Customers do not want to navigate through a labyrinth maze of loyalty programs, cheap fuel incentives or processes that serve operational excellence vs. customer excellence. We recommend looking outside your industry. Look for the highest end of the hospitality industry. In other words, look for your customers’ last best experience, not their best alternative. It’s your customers’ last best experience that will help inform you of what they expect from your company.
At CAF, we have found that most c-store operators simply aren't aware of the solutions to meet customer expectations. That is why it is necessary to have a partner that can help provide you the tools needed to navigate customer experience challenges concerning a cleaner store. Ask yourself how you can effectively increase customer experience and brand loyalty. Ask yourself how you can be your customers’ last best experience. Ask yourself how you can be the best in your industry.
1. Is my customer service and engagement a high priority?
2. Does my store promote exterior/interior cleanliness (these can include bathrooms, forecourts and food areas)?
3. Am I taking advantage of my mystery shop results as feedback to provide brand value?
4. Do I need a cleaning program aimed at reducing employee absences and health concerns?
5. How do I become my customers’ last best experience?
6. How do I make a positive difference in my industry with standards that are highly favored and sought after?
In order for you to meet the demands of the customer experience and to improve your sales, you must find real solutions to the very real challenges listed above. A CAF representative is available to help you increase your customer experience. Contact us today!