How to Prepare for an Omni-Channel Future with a Dedicated Customer Experience Leader

Chief Customer Officer for Retail

As we navigate a particularly transformative time for the retail industry, much can be said about changes regarding customer expectations at both the in-store level and otherwise.

While the focus on what’s changing on the ground remains a primary component of a company’s overall customer experience strategy, it’s also important to consider what changes must be made to higher level staffing to ensure those responsible with overseeing a shift toward total omnichannel integration are moving forward effectively.

If we imagine what the retail world will look like ten or fifteen years into the future, it’s not a stretch to assume that what we now refer to as “omnichannel” will lose the need for a special name - it will simply become retail.

Until then however, companies accustomed to doing things the old way might find the need to add some new roles to their C-suite positions. Already, we’re witnessing new roles such as “Chief Customer Officer” springing up inside some of the largest retailers in the country. No matter what kind of title you give it, let’s explore the benefits to creating the roles of the future right now.

Why should higher-level executives take the initiative when it comes to reorienting a brand toward omnichannel?

Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing a brand’s ability to utilize all available channels consistently is a tendency to silo departments, thereby making it difficult to unify the overall customer experience.

With everyone talking about what new technologies to implement, how to train your floor staff, and what color to paint your walls to attract the most customers, we forget that these changes all require a capable group of executives and directors to manage these changes at the macro level.

With customer experience quickly becoming a key-determining factor of a retailer’s success, many companies are finding themselves lacking a core executive level position to ensure the brand is meeting customer expectations.

How can a customer-oriented executive take steps to move their team into action?

The only way to truly coordinate each of your brand’s channels into harmony with one another is to bring your directors to the table - literally. Run through a series of scenarios based on how your customers can connect with your brand through various means. These discussions should smooth out any gaps between channels and make each director clear on what their role is within the overall customer experience strategy.

Then, communicate your plans to those on the next tier of the company ladder. Be sure regional and store managers are adequately trained to understand what customers will be expecting from their staff when they enter the store. If your customer service team operates a call center facility, be sure they can assist customers attempting to jump from one channel to the next seamlessly.

As with any customer experience strategy, carefully measure and track weekly and monthly progress against yourself as well as competitors. With clear direction and an open line of communicate within your company, it’s possible transform your brand into a future retailer, today.

If you're interesting in evaluating your customer-facing touchpoints, ICC Decision Services offers a free mystery shopping or customer intercepts introductory program so you can see how the process works first-hand.

David Rich currently serves as CEO at ICC/Decision Services, a customer experience management organization working with retail chains around the globe. If you are interested in improving your customer's experience, contact ICC/Decision Services for a free trial.