Every customer defines luxury differently and has his or her own ideas about the perfect customer experience. Nonetheless, there is one common element that significantly influences how customers perceive a shopping experience.
Luxury brands and their physical store (or online) shopping experiences are usually associated with outstanding customer service more than mid-range brands, but this is not always the case. If you look at the brands with the most highly-rated customer experience, one airline catches your eye: Southwest, a US low-cost airline based in Dallas, Texas. How is it possible that a low-cost airline where guests don't even get free drinks gets such high ratings for customer experience? How can that be?
The research experts at ISC-CX know that Southwest is doing the most important thing right: the airline keeps its promises and that is the decisive factor for its outstanding customer experience ratings. Southwest doesn’t provide fancy extras but the low-cost airline's promise is to always be on time. In theory, the secret recipe for an exceptional customer experience sounds easy: a company keeps its promise and customers are happy, but in practice companies repeatedly encounter obstacles in implementation.
The Right Expectations
After more than 20 years of experience in the customer experience industry and several million data points collected from service checks, the experts at ISC-CX know exactly what customers want – and the quickest way to annoy them. The relevance of follow-up is underestimated by many companies. Imagine you own a high-priced bag shop. A potential female customer wants to buy a specific handbag – but unfortunately that model is sold out at that moment. The store sales staff offers to notify her when it is available again and the woman leaves her contact information. The store gets a delivery with the specific model a few days later, but the woman is not notified. The next time she visits the store and sees her dream handbag in the display, she will be disappointed with the lack of follow-up. Regardless of whether the woman buys the bag or not - the customer experience is clouded. The woman will probably not recommend the shop to others.
Regardless of whether the product is a handbag or a flight with a low-cost airline, the customer always has certain expectations and it is important to meet them in the best possible way. The superior service expectation is a lot higher for luxury brands than for everyday brands. The interplay of sales staff interaction and atmosphere (scent, lighting, music, decor, etc.) is often nuanced for luxury shoppers making it challenging to deliver an experience that is 100 percent satisfactory to them. For this reason, ISC-CX uses trained checkers for service checks in the luxury segment, who also happen to be customers in the luxury segment.
Realize What Is Important
It is essential to only send service checkers to luxury brand stores who are also real luxury customers, because others would be overly-impressed with the atmosphere and not pick up on the nuances required for the luxury brand customer. That is why ISC-CX works closely with real customers for luxury brand programs. From the checkers’ comprehensive feedback, assisted by our proprietary analytics, factors that drive a luxury purchase decision can be filtered out - even if they are very small. Based on the results, the luxury brand management receives actionable recommendations for improvement.
Outstanding customer experience in general depends to a very large extent on whether companies keep their promises. However, it is important to ensure that these promises also fit the product and target market and can be implemented. Ongoing monitoring through service checks ensures that grievances or problems with customer service can be identified and remedied promptly. In the end, one thing unites all companies, regardless of whether they are a luxury brand or a cheap store: They are dependent on revenue.