I recently broke up with a brand. I’ve been buying the same cosmetics for over seven years. Yet, the brand doesn’t “know” me, they do not treat me as an individual human, nor do they care about my unique needs. So, like many people searching for a new relationship, I went online. I quickly found a new brand — and saved 66%! Love at first sight.
Then, just as I was running out of product, the new brand proactively delivered an irresistible offer: four cosmetics for the same price that I used to pay for one! The new company delivered the right offer to me at the right time. I felt understood and appreciated.
They earned my loyalty and I’m now in a new retail relationship.
Ghosting a Brand
A recent survey shows that 73% of consumers will “ghost” a brand for delivering poor customer service. Yet, less than half of us ever complain directly to the company, which means that “companies may be losing revenue they weren’t aware of.”
Great business leaders know that delivering fantastic customer service is more important now than ever. Our time and attention are in high demand. The world feels busier due to increased media proliferation. It is easy to feel bombarded.
Proactive Problem Solving
These things were on my mind when I recently talked to Francesco Tinto, senior vice president and global CIO for Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), about customer experience and brand loyalty. I shared a common shopper’s dilemma about the frustration of driving from store to store in search of a particular product.
Tinto’s calm and quick answer made me feel special: “Trish, we’ve fixed your problem already.”
“You buy online, and you pick up at the store. Plus, your order is ready in as little as 30 minutes,” he explained.
Now, that’s great customer service that Tinto says puts WBA ahead of its retail competition. He says technology makes it possible.
Delivering on Brand Promise
Known in the U.S. as Walgreens and as Boots in other global locations, WBA recently invested in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and other cloud solutions for its nearly 9,000 Walgreens retail stores. Their inventory includes hundreds of thousands of products. Yet, Walgreens proactively promises that the products we need will be in stock if we simply check online and order ahead of time.
“SAP S/4HANA in the cloud gives us visibility into each and every store. We know exactly what is in any store at any moment,” said Tinto. “The assortment of products is incredible, which means that accuracy and granularity of inventory are paramount. SAP gives us the capability to have real-time information and the right insight. Every change is immediately updated in our inventory management system.”
When a brand proactively solves my problems and values my time, I feel special. The proactive service Tinto described lets customers know that Walgreens understands their needs and values their time.
If you boil down all of the research and surveys and models about customer experience and service, many of us seem to want the same thing. We want to feel special in our relationships. Not only in our personal relationships, but also work interactions and — yes — even our relationships with our favorite brands.
If technology helps a brand like Walgreens Boots Alliance deliver on their promise, great! Simply put, if we do not feel valued or understood, there are many other brands eager to romance us.