Progressive Grocer - May 2010 - (Page 44)

Experience at Large What makes great grocers stand out from the pack Put Your Best Customers to Work Doing so may well be the only way to increase the type of customer engagement that leads to true customer ownership. By Joe Wheeler H ow engaged are your customers with your brand? Gallup researchers John Fleming and Jim Asplund found that fully engaged customers represent a 23 percent premium over average customers in share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth. Actively disengaged customers, on the other hand, represent a 13 percent discount from the average on these same measures. We have found that one way to engage customers, particularly your best ones, is to put them to work on behalf of your organization, to make them “owners.” important, the items on display are designed for easy shipment in a disassembled form. To ease the DIY delivery process, IKEA maintains greater-than-normal inventories, so more warehouse space is a must. The retailer also provides clear assembly instructions and the right tools for customers to do the work. 2. Make the value meaningful and design the experience for customers to succeed. Customers understand that IKEA’s lower prices don’t reflect poorer quality of design or materials. Instead, they believe that their own contribution to the process helps save money. At the same time, these factors may be adding meaning to the overall customer experience. Other companies have adopted a similar model, including Build-A-Bear Workshop. 3. Minimize negative customer work. At Build-A-Bear Workshop, lines of customers building their stuffed animals can become long. Contingency tactics are put into place that turn waiting into fun, with several line A H E A D O F W H AT ’ S N E X T management plays such as Line Lotto, Bear Conga or an all-time favorite of sports fans, the Line Wave. 4. Choose the right customers, give them jobs and train (or retrain) them. Once trained, even the most loyal customers may be difficult to retrain. For example, Southwest recently introduced a procedure for customers to reserve a place in the boarding lines, either online or at the check-in counter. Media reports suggested that the new process would eliminate Southwest’s open-seating tradition. To dispel the confusion, the airline established an online “Boarding School” to retrain passengers and outline how to take advantage of the new features. Putting customers to work may well be the best path to increasing the type of customer engagement that leads to true customer ownership. One thing is for sure: once you have started down this path, customers will help you keep moving forward. ■ Joe Wheeler is the executive director of the Service Profit Chain Institute, a consulting firm that helps organizations achieve dramatic business results by implementing service-profit chain concepts. He recently co-authored “The Ownership Quotient: Putting the Service Profit Chain to Work for Unbeatable Competitive Advantage” with James L. Heskett and Earl Sasser, both Baker Foundation professors at Harvard Business School. Owners are customers who don’t just say they’re willing to refer other potential customers — they do it. They also suggest ways of improving products, services, processes and relationships. Why is this important? Our research has suggested that not only is an “owner” worth more than 100 customers with whom your organization has a more casual relationship, but also that he or she is more willing to be asked to go to work for its benefit. Here are four tips on how to do it: 1. Identify the work that customers perform best. IKEA customers, subscribing to the “global cult brand” of home furnishings, have for years carted their purchases home and assembled them, thus greatly reducing costs for some of the most vexing and costly steps in selling and distributing home furnishings. IKEA’s stores have large, attractive display spaces so that customers can envision how their purchases might look at home. Just as 44 • Progressive Grocer • May 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Progressive Grocer - May 2010

Progressive Grocer - May 2010
Nielsen’s Shelf Stoppers/ Spotlight: Candy/Non-ChocolateCandy
Super 50: Steadfast Leaders
The Lempert Report: ConAgra, Celebs Battle Child Hunger
Best Practices: Starting at the Top
Wake-up Call: Coupons Make a Comeback
Store of the Month: Roots and Wings
Harold Lloyd on … Making a Difference: Why Work as a Clerk?
Experience at Large: Put Your Best Customers to Work
Confection: Sweetening the Pot
Tea: Brewing up Sales
Non-alcoholic Beverages: Summer Quenchers
Summer Grilling Special: What a Gas!
Produce: Local and Lovin’ it
IDDBA Show Preview: Recipe for Success
Trends: The Summertime Freeze
Meats & Cheeses: Brown-bagging Sales
Food Industry Insights: Leadership for the Future
Tech Toolbox: A Look at the Latest Solutions
Out of the Box: The Latest Tools of the Trade
Roundtable: The Executioners
Foodservice: Green Machines
What’s Next: Editors’ Picks for Innovative Products

Progressive Grocer - May 2010