Can Siri Find Light Shoes?

by Frank Schneider, Regional Vice President – Sales, Eastern US

My nearly six year old daughter has been having a difficult week in regards to customer experience. Her old sneakers have developed a hole on the bottom and she needs new ones…and needs them now. She yearns to replicate the same fun customer experience she has had with her current pink shoes. Not just any pink shoes, but pink light shoes from a brand with special laces, designs and straps. Because she is a kindergartner and has a classroom where tablet use is part of the curriculum, she asked to view the variety online, checked their availability and then recommended what store and when we should go to get them…aka, “Mommy, can we go to (retailer A) now…pleeeasseee.”

light shoesMy daughter is already part of the now 90% of consumers (Forrester estimate) who research online before making a purchase. Additionally, she is now going to use at least two channels to make her purchase…unfortunately, when she arrives at the retailer — the second moment of truth — they are out of the shoes. Not only did the retailer not provide their current inventory for our particular store (or more likely, the content was not readily accessible in a convenient way — the first moment of truth), but now my daughter was faced with the need to adapt on the fly. My daughter didn’t whine or complain, but calmly turned to my wife and said, “Mommy ask Siri if there is a (retailer B) near us that has the light shoes?”

I am proud to say, in addition to riding a two-wheel bike, my daughter gets multi-channel and especially mobile customer experience strategy. It is intuitive to want to access content and receive relevant information in a mobile customer service app at a moment’s notice. No queue to sit in like so many lines for ice cream, no IVR forest to navigate like a Dora adventure, no countless web pages to sift through like a spilled box of Cracker Jacks, trying to find your prize. Ask your question, the way you want to ask it, to get what is needed immediately. Simple, isn’t it?

So what can you do with this nugget if you are a customer experience executive?

  1. Intelligent, mobile self-service is a necessity. Look for solutions that can provide 24/7 customer service with an intuitive user interface that is natural language voice-enabled.
  2. Multi-channel is the only channel. Don’t force your customers to traverse a difficult morass to buy from you. They want to feel empowered to manage their purchase life cycle whenever or wherever they want. Respect that and find the ultimate win-win.
  3. Always gather customer opinion. Voice of the customer, especially when it can be completely unfiltered as through a virtual assistant solution, is invaluable.
  4. Wash, rinse, repeat…as you develop innovative ways to meet your customers, ensure your content is relevant and consistent, the experience is top notch and the reporting and analytics are culled, not just for an executive dashboard, but to continue to drive improvement and enhancement.

If retailer A provided intelligent self-service from their home page during my daughter’s research, or if retailer B provided mobile self-service from my daughter’s second moment of truth, either one would have made a customer for life. Isn’t that the best result of strong customer experience strategy?

And yes, since this is our blog, I can be shameless…our voice-enabled mobile solutions would have successfully delivered and then some…2 for 2 on both moments I focused on, not to mention additional enhancements to the customer experience. I’d be happy to share additional details with any reader.