From Adaptive Path: The interplay between efficiency and quality in a service experience is often what separates a merely transactional interaction from a valuable and pleasurable one. The former gets the job done; the latter does so while creating a more human connection and an enduring relationship between service provider and customer. Unfortunately, in most cases efficiency wins out. Most organizations lean heavily on analytical methods to define rigid processes and procedures that are designed to reduce waste and increase predictability in service delivery. This approach views the organization as a machine to be fine-tuned and the customer as a rational actor who enters and exits processes like a rat in a well-designed maze.
From strategy+business: This year's holiday retail outlook suggests that shopping patterns created during the recession are becoming permanent, but there are still reasons for retailers to celebrate.
From strategy+business: Overuse of discounts can cost retailers, but done right, promotions can boost profitability and brand value.
From Knowledge@Wharton: With the rise in popularity of smartphones and the proliferation of online retailers, showrooming — the practice of browsing products at one store but buying them elsewhere to get a better price — has become a growing problem for bricks-and-mortar retailers. The key to combating showrooming, experts say, is to resist the temptation to block customers' efforts at price comparisons, which are only going to become easier as technology evolves. Instead, retailers should capitalize on the advantages that bricks-and-mortar stores can bring and experiment with new ways of offering an omni-channel shopping experience.
From Knowledge@Wharton: Companies spend a lot of time and money keeping their current customers satisfied. That investment increases significantly, experts say, when it comes to luring "non-customers" or "swing voters," those who use a product or service only occasionally. To bring these consumers into the fold, a company must be willing to research, test and experiment, looking for the "sweet spot" product that offers whatever non-customers found lacking in the firm, while also not alienating its existing loyal user base.
From Big Think: According to Steve Carlotti, CEO of The Cambridge Group, Apple's success is due to the company's ability to "close the gap between the current product that’s bought and the ideal product that the consumer would like to use," a concept known as latent demand.
From copyblogger: You only have about 90 seconds to tell your story online. Probably less, but that number reflects conventional wisdom on the matter. We all want to get pulled into a great story. It’s hardwired into our psychology. Storytelling has been an integral part of humanity since charcoal met cave wall. But if your stories aren’t original, creative, and relevant to your audience … no one will listen.
From 1to1 media: Right now, companies around the world are barreling down a perilous path — one that isn't illuminated by customer insights. These companies might think they know what their customers want, but Forrester's research shows that most companies today have an incomplete — or worse, downright wrong — understanding of who their customers are, how they perceive the current interactions, and what they want and need in the future.