Pushing beyond par for customer experience
In the 1960s, when our company was founded, cutting edge was a typewritten, hand-illustrated catalog. Since then our technology has moved on considerably but our focus is the same: Using the latest systems and techniques to create an exceptional, engaging customer experience.
Almost every retailer worth their salt understands the importance of omnichannel in achieving this today – but actually finding and implementing the technology to do it properly is the hard part.
So using a recent project as an example, here’s some advice we would share with any retailer considering implementing an omnichannel strategy.
In person engagement is key to long-term loyalty
With an abundance of digital channels available to communicate with customers, it can be easy to forget that bringing them in store creates an entirely different kind of connection. By encouraging customers to spend time with knowledgeable staff they will begin to associate your brand with expertise, rather than just products.
To offer an example, here at Golfsmith we offer a custom fitting service. Customers visiting a store can book a session with one of our master club fitters to measure their swing, adjust the club and make sure they get the best fit possible. This experience is valuable to both us and the customer. It ensures customer gets exactly what he or she wants and less like they have just splashed cash on just another product. And our staff get the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with our customers.
Enhancing the in store experience through offering a value added service likes this builds a closer connections with the customer. If your audience is happy to not only spend money but time with you, you’re on the way to increased loyalty and understanding of your brand.
Use tech to hit capacity on valuable services
It’s imperative to remember that leftover capacity in any service you offer is essentially money on the table. This is where your opportunity lies. In our case, Golfsmith’s custom fitting service had great conversion rates but wasn’t being booked to full capacity.
This problem isn't going to solve itself. The underlying systems you use to manage these services are key to letting you understand where there is remaining capacity and see the bigger picture.
In Golfsmith’s case, the implementation of online bookings were was the missing link. This tool not only helps customers conveniently make appointments online but it also allows us to learn from the data provided to understand peak periods of activity to adjust staff availability to match it.
Perception is reality
Don’t assume that your customers will find your services just by themselves. Each customer has their own image of your brand and this comes with preconceptions about the products and services on offer. It’s up to you to educate them.
That’s why marketing is so essential. You need to ensure your services are visible to customers on whatever channel they encounter your brand. Whether visiting your website, reading your newsletter or checking out instore displays, a customer should have a clear idea of what you can offer above and beyond the products you’re known for.
Once Golfsmith’s marketing team started spreading awareness of our custom fitting service the appointments started rolling in. Our customers always wanted access to expertise and advice, they just didn’t know we offered it.
Keep enhancing the experience
Omnichannel is an ongoing journey. Consider each challenge as part of a bigger picture that you are locking into place. The technology you choose to deliver this experience to customers should create a solid foundation for other initiatives.
Consider how new technology will be able to integrate with other areas of the omnichannel picture you are building. If you are using the technology to deliver a service, consider if it could be used to offer other services you provide. If your tech is being used as part of one advertising campaign, think about how it may be used for other initiatives.
To put it simply; once you’ve identified technology that works, make the most of it across everything you do.
Know when to partner
Build or buy is a common discussion when implementing any new technology. Is this a project that can be undertaken in-house or is there a better suited business you could partner with?
My mentality has always been to focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. Always consider your key strengths as a business and find partners to fill the gaps.
We understand our customers and how to delight them, but golf, not technology, is our forte. That’s why we brought on BookingBug to implement the appointment and scheduling technology mentioned in this article. BookingBug had previously delivered booking systems at this scale and their technical expertise meant we could focus on our marketing efforts.
By finding partners with specialisms to compliment your own, it allows you to focus on your own strengths and deliver an unforgettable experience to customers.
Joseph J. Kester is currently the EVP of Retail Operations and has previously served as Senior Vice President of Store Operations, Vice President of Field Operations and Regional Manager for the Midwest during his successful 17-year career at Golfsmith International Inc.
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