How To Improve Customer Experience and Customer Loyalty

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Frankly speaking, good customer experience leads to loyal customers. And loyal customers often leads to customer retention and great PR (two benefits every business should pursue) which is great since these primary drive for cost-effective and more sales.

Now, I’m not going to beat around the bush of its importance too much or how exactly it funnels to more sales at cheap expense. I might write more about it in the future. For now, let’s focus on how to improve your customers’ experience.

Let’s focus on Tesco, a giant UK company. I wrote a paper on Tesco back when I did my MBA and recommended 4 strategies on how to improve the company’s customers’ experience.

1.IMPROVE ONLINE PRESENCE

Tesco PLC is recommended to integrate its business entirely with the ‘online’ world (Schneider and Bertelsen, 2010). As discussed in the Johnston and Kong (2011) paper, customers enjoy being part of not only as consumers, but also to be part of the company’s future development leading to the co-creation value (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004)

The company needs to be more involved online. Hiring an IT team to set up social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will not suffice.

Tesco needs to be more involved to the extent of hiring a team of talented ‘social media’ managers who are not only socially active online, but also have strong value of online influence. Having strong presence in the social media is vital as it allows Tesco PLC to conduct business in more channels.

It could also provide as a platform for customers to conduct ‘troubleshooting’ benefitting the operation teams involved in continuous improvement. Customers will also enjoy engaging with Tesco front-liners as they feel they are a part of the brand.

By constantly engaging with customers, these create environment which contribute to service quality and customer satisfaction leading to loyal customers (Kandampully and Hu, 2007; Masceranhas et. al., 2006).

2. EMPOWER EMPLOYEES

Apart from that, Tesco could also employ the empowerment of employees approach which helps on improving the image of the company, hence brand value.

By providing conducive and secure work environment, employees will be more willing to work beyond the contract. Employees will also exchange view with customers on the level of happiness and motivation being employed in Tesco.

The best example of a company which works hard to keep employees happy is Starbucks. Every employee receives proper training, tools, job design and security which in return, enable them to be highly motivated. They are even trained to recognize returning customers – these lead to improving corporate image, an important factor to customer loyalty (Kandampully and Hu, 2007).

3. CREATIVE CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR)

Another strategy to ensure customer loyalty is by having Tesco PLC be more involved in the charity work internationally and locally.

The suggested strategy for Tesco is similar to Tom’s Shoes (Tom’s, 2013), to the extent where the company would get customers to get ‘onboard’ in participating charity events organised by Tesco. In the context of Tesco PLC, the level of participation among the employees and customers will further influence emotional consumer experience, improving the corporate image which influences customer loyalty (Kandampully and Hu, 2007; Masceranhas et. al., 2006).

4. INTRODUCE NEW SALES CHANNEL(S)

As part of delivering great customer experience, it is suggested that Tesco PLC could benefit further by providing the ‘drive-through’ concept.

It works similar as companies in food and beverage industry, only the layout is different and transactions are performed without having the need for customers to get out of their car.

The new platform for Tesco PLC will provide new channel for business which is part of improving service quality – crucial factor to delivering customer experience and customer loyalty (Kandampully and Hu, 2007; Liljander and Strandvik, 1997).

REFERENCES

  1. Seth, N., Deshmukh, S.G., Vrat, P. (2005) “Service quality models: a review“, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 22 Iss: 9, pp.913 – 949. Retrieved from DOI : 10.1108/02656710510625211
  2. Tom’s (2013). Available at : http://www.toms.com/
  3. Johnston, R., Kong, X. (2011) “The customer experience: a road-map for improvement“, Managing Service Quality, Vol. 21 Iss: 1, pp.5 – 24. Retrieved from DOI : 10.1108/09604521111100225
  4. Mascarenhas, O. A., Kesavan, R., Bernacchi, M. (2006) “Lasting customer loyalty: a total customer experience approach“, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 23 Iss: 7, pp.397 – 405. Retrieved from DOI : 10.1108/07363760610712939
  5. Teixeira, J., Patrício, L., Nunes, N. J., Nóbrega, L., Fisk, R. P., Constantine, L. (2012) “Customer experience modeling: from customer experience to service design“, Journal of Service Management, Vol. 23 Iss: 3, pp.362 – 376. Retrieved from DOI : 10.1108/09564231211248453
  6. Meyer, C., Schwager, A. (2007), “Understanding customer experience“, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 2007 No.February, pp.117-26. Retrieved from URL : http://hbr.org/2007/02/understanding-customer-experience/ar/1
  7. Prahalad, C. K., Ramaswamy, V. (2004). JOURNAL OF INTERACTIVE MARKETING VOLUME 18 / NUMBER 3 / SUMMER 2004. Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/dir.20015, http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/35225/20015_ftp.pdf
  8. Bharwani, S., Jauhari, V. (2013) “An exploratory study of competencies required to co-create memorable customer experiences in the hospitality industry“, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 25 Iss: 6, pp.823 – 843. Retrieved from DOI : 10.1108/IJCHM-05-2012-0065
  9. Liljander, V., Strandvik, T. (1997) “Emotions in service satisfaction“, International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 8 Iss: 2, pp.148 – 169. Retrieved from DOI : 10.1108/09564239710166272
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  13. Long-Tolbert, S. J., Gammoh, B. S. (2012) “In good and bad times: the interpersonal nature of brand love in service relationships“, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 26 Iss: 6, pp.391 – 402. Retrieved from DOI :  10.1108/08876041211257882  
  14. Kandampully, J., Hu, H. H. (2007) “Do hoteliers need to manage image to retain loyal customers?“, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 19 Iss: 6, pp.435 – 443. Retrieved from DOI : 10.1108/09596110710775101
  15. Dick, A., Basu, K. (1994), “Customer loyalty: toward an integrated conceptual framework“, Journal of Marketing Science, Vol. 22 No.2, pp.99-113. Retrieved from URL : http://www.scribd.com/doc/135705548/Customer-Loyalty-Toward-an-Integrated-Conceptual-Framework
  16. Rowley, J. (2005) “The four Cs of customer loyalty“, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 23 Iss: 6, pp.574 – 581. Retrieved from DOI : 10.1108/02634500510624138
  17. Duffy, D. L. (2003) “Internal and external factors which affect customer loyalty”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 20 Iss: 5, pp.480 – 485. Retrieved from DOI : 10.1108/07363760310489715
  18. Schneider, M., Bertelsen, A. M., (2010). “Beyond Foursquare : The Next Generation of Customer Loyalty”. Harvard Business Review [blog] 4 October. Available at : http://blogs.hbr.org/2010/10/beyond-foursquare-the-next-gen/ [Accessed 3 Dec 2013]
  19. Morningstar (2013). Available at URL : http://financials.morningstar.com/ratios/r.html?t=TSCDF

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