The importance of customer experience

I came across a great article which is an interview with new JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson.  One of the quotes from the interview was in response to a question about the fundamental change that Ron Johnson took regarding the experience customers had shopping at Penney’s and in direct reflection of the discount, sales, and coupons customers have grown so accustomed to with JCP.  Here’s CEO Ron Johnson’s response: “We’re changing our pricing strategy, because we want every day to be a great day to shop, and if you’re designing a new interface designed by its nature, whether it’s a product or an experience, what’s the most important thing it has to have?  It has to have integrity.  If you’re going to build a relationship, you’ve got to have integrity to that.  So it’s hard to have integrity when you artificially mark up products just to mark them down.”
The full article/ interview can be seen at : http://wp.me/pzwtX-o16 

Then I also came across a great article looking at the Marketing towards the Generation Y.  It can be viewed at http://bit.ly/OFbPaT

I find it interesting that Ron Johnson is the same leader who revolutionized the experience within the Apple stores across the globe and now is looking at the retail clothing in a new way.  Through his leadership Apple created the “We’ll set it up” program and drastically cut the set up time of the average Apple customer from 8 days to a matter of minutes within the store.  Now he has taken a look at the concept of the experience for customers in JCP.  For instance, JCP will be rolling out the Jeans store within the JCP stores across the nation.  Recognizing the growing need for experience is right in line with the Generation Y article and a strong trend growing within this group of customers.  Here is an excerpt from the Generation Y article:

Everything starts with an Experience
Generation Y is guided by emotions and are more emotional than previous generations. Especially the search for happiness is very important in their lives. (Van den Bergh, Behrer, 2011) Leisure activities such as entertainment, food and drink, and travel must have a strong emotional part so that they can escape the daily reality and relax. The tendency to ‘gamification’, fits perfectly in their lifes. Brands need to challenge their young audiences and present their products as performances or a moment of luxury to escape reality after a hard day’s work.

For those out there making the decisions related to reaching the Gen Y, keep in mind the concepts and thoughts from these two articles and make a difference.

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Secret Shopper Experience

Have you ever had the opportunity to go stay some where, or shop at a store where you are either going to be comp’d for the amount you have to pay, or it is free and they just want to know your experience? I had that opportunity this weekend to stay at a local hotel that was inquiring of our organization if we could use their facilities for events or recommendations.
I was excited since it happened to fall on my Anniversary and without going into a long elaboration, we did our travels for the summer a few weeks ago so getting out of the house to stay in a hotel was a nice treat.

Beware of the lazy employee:
So, when we arrived, I felt as if we were slighly inconveniencing the young lady at the front desk by even being there. But she was pleasant enough and gave us our keys and we were on our way. Later in the evening my wife and I had planned to enjoy something we have never done…order room service. So, I call Room Service 1 hour prior to the close of the “announced hours of operation” and what do i hear “I’m sorry sir, due to the slow traffic here tonight (on a Saturday night) we have closed the grill down. But I can still serve you from the bar.” So, they can make sure customers, the sum total of maybe 15 in the hotel, get inebriated but would not want them to have any food with it. Also, if you are in the service industry, and you have as I said, 15 customers, it would be a smart move to alert your customers of this sudden decision.

Cleanliness likened to Godliness:
Upon a casual glance on the floor between the bed and the side table I was startled to see a fairly large, but thankfully dead, spider. So I glanced around the other side and it was apparent that a vacuum had not touched that area in a number of weeks, not days!
Be the salt in a bland world:
We were fortunate to have a coupon for breakfast, so we got up early and came down for some breakfast. It was..as the rest of the experience, less than desirable. The best things were the syrup and powdered sugar on the waffle or french toast and the fruit. Everything else was some of the most bland food I have tasted.

Service before self:
Overall the stay was average. It did not in the least bit cause me to want to invite guests or host events there in the future. In fact, I would likely refer people across the parking lot first to the competitor before going there.

The moral of the story in this is treat every customer as if they are the prince of Persia and deserve the highest treatment. It should not take a “VIP” rating next to a name in the system to receive VIP treatment. You never know when a representative who can refer 10 or 100 customers to your organization is sitting before you.

Serve well and serve always.

Seth Godin takeaways

So, after finishing my MBA recently I have been looking back at some great post’s from a very well known man who is well deserving of the notoriety, Seth Godin. I have heard him speak personally, watched several video presentations, begun but not finished yet a couple of his books, and am thankful for his contributions to our business society and the common knowledge base. So, as a resource I am clipping and posting a few links to some recent favorites from Mr Godin’s blog.

The future of the library
How to be interviewed
The game theory of discovery and the birth of the free-gap

More to come.

First Post!

Can't help but smile in beautiful Bali Indonesia.

A little about my purpose for this blog and who I am. I am a graduate business student finishing my MBA at ORU in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I graduate April 30, 2011. I have an amazing job at ORU also, as the Director of Student Experience, where I get to work with such great student leaders as the Student Association, Blueprint and the whole First Year Experience programs. I hope to be able to share my thoughts and images as I feel they will help encourage or challenge others. The themes I anticipate covering will be within the business arena, thoughts and lessons learned from the MBA coursework, and leadership concepts and principals. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.