For years now, every new secured site function has had a business case built on getting users to access their accounts more often. So much so that you'd think every online banker would now spend half of their day checking out their accounts online. The reality is that there are just a few functions that can really drive incremental increases in activation.
Forrester recently released our 2008 Customer Experience Index, a ranking of 114 companies by consumers who responded to an online survey asking how useful, easy to work with and enjoyable the various companies were. Get this, six of the top eight were retailers. The top retailer on the list? Barnes & Noble. So, what does this mean for retailers?
1. A great customer experience is a must-have in brutally-competitive, margin-thin industries that comprise most of the retail landscape. It is not an option. Not surprisingly, the ten worst performers in the index were TV, wireless and web service providers and health insurance companies--regulated industries that give consumers no choice but to interact with them.
Forrrester recently conducted a teleconference where I presented and spoke about what I considered the top best practices in financial services in 2008 to be. Many of the best practices I have written on in the past, but one that stood out is a tool developed by Compass Bancshares, a bank with 166 branches in Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Can we please put a moratorium on all the gloomy news? Duke just released a study of CFOs where the key finding is that we're in for at least another 12 months of stagnation. Will someone acknowledge that there is a glimmer of hope in, of all places, at least one part of the retail world which according to conventional wisdom, should just be getting pummeled? I've been maintaining that eCommerce is insulated from the worst of it because there continues to be channel shift because it's just easier to shop online and perhaps most compelling, it's a channel where consumers can easily find the best price for anything they want to buy. I have two sets of datapoints to support this. The first is the Chase Paymentech Pulse Index which captures actual transactions from 25 of the top web merchants. Through Tuesday, December 9, the last 33 days of online shopping have actually been great. In fact, consumers have, when measured on a YOY calendar basis, spent 15% more this year than last year. This is remarkable given that Thanksgiving fell later in November this year and we've had fewer days to build upon the momentum that Black Friday always creates.
Home for the holidays. It has a melodic ring to it, but the idea of lost baggage can be wincing.
Air Canada has announced some customer service initiatives around baggage that are truly responsive to travelers needs.
Workers in Alberta's oil region have been carrying their tools home to Newfoundland, and then flying them back to Alberta. Air Canada has partnered with some companies to provide storage for these tools. This saves the travelers the inconvenience while freeing up cargo space. Win win.
Employees travelling during the holidays will have their bags placed on lower handling priority than paying passengers. (I appreciate this as several of the premium seats on my Thanksgiving flight were filled by airline staff, which did nothing to enhance my impression of the carrier — if, for nothing else, because they didn�t bother to tell employees not to wear their uniforms. But that is another rant)
If Air Canada bags do not arrive, passengers can park for free in short term parking to retrieve their bags. This may seem small, but it is like lemon juice in a papercut to have to hand over dollars to pick up something that should have left the airport with you the first time.