"We're becoming not just a stop along the way, but a desired destination."CustomerGauge recently had the pleasure of co-hosting a webinar with Cary Self, Senior Manager of GUEST Services and Training for Areas, to discuss customer experience (or "guest experience" as Areas calls it) in retail and best practices for using and implementing a Net Promoter® system. Areas is an industry-leader that runs hundreds of branded concessions (including Wendy's and Dunkin Donuts) in some of the largest airports in the world, using CustomerGauge's Net Promoter System to gauge their "guest experience". Here are some of the key highlights from our webinar.
Old School Mystery Shoppers to Real-Time NPSPrior to working with CustomerGauge, Areas employed a method many retailers do: a mystery shopper program. "We paid a company to come out and 'mystery shop' us, with criteria we set up," says Cary. "What we got was a once a month shop—if we were lucky—of this single moment in time....We usually didn't get the results for another week. Then, once we got those results, it took us another week or two to go back and react to those results, and it was all based on one experience." When Areas realized this old school method to guest experience was not offering the type of insight and speed they were looking for, they sought to switch to a software that would allow them to act more quickly in real-time. While they tried a few different survey systems, it wasn't until they looked into NPS that they found their answer. Since switching over to CustomerGauge, Areas as seen a huge impact in their KPIs:
"We were previously averaging a 30-40% NPS score. We're now pushing high 70s in our NPS score. The reason why that's so exciting for us is that A) Previously, we were told that in the travel industry, you can't deliver that level of satisfaction and B) It's really a culture that has taken root and is now alive in our organization. Not only has the response rate grown [4x], but now we've been able to create a culture that has seen a steady increase as well."According to Cary, since moving to CustomerGauge, Areas "went from responsive and reacting, to engaging back and forth with the guest.”
Creating a Consistent Guest Experience—On-the-Move and Across Brands
Like many retailers, Areas deals with customers who are passing through. One of the challenges retailers and companies like Areas face is gathering feedback from these customers in this type of environment.
"We have little time to engage with our guests, so we have to deliver great service and wow them quickly. And we want to ensure they can give feedback equally as fast as, then react to that.”
Using a real-time Net Promoter System enables Areas to fire-fight quickly and resolve issues with customers in real-time. This is possible through Areas extensive training program that sets expectations for performance and teaches employees how to react in certain situations.
As Areas is the owner of multiple brands in numerous locations, one of the other unique challenges they face is how to create "cross-brand consistency".
"Areas operates all over the world. An individual may engage with us at different locations during their travels....They might not know who Areas is—they might see us as Wendy's at one location, they might see us as Dunkin' Donuts at another location—but that loyalty [at each location] is very important to us."
3 Tips for CX and NPS Success
In closing, we asked Cary what some of his top three tips for success would be in running a system like CustomerGauge and maintaining consistent CX across their businesses:
- Cross-company engagement When it comes to implementing a Net Promoter System and creating a customer-first focus, total company buy-in is a must. That means from the top-down, CEO to frontline employee: "Everyone has to be involved in the process....Find out what’s valuable to each member of the organization, and deliver that to them.”
- Employee toolkits If you want your business to be successful, you have to ensure your employees are successful. Not only do employees need the tools, but they need the time and training to understand how to best utilize these tools. “You have to have great training, while also delivering the message and setting expectations. You need a great evaluation tool and support to that [tool]....If you’re supporting them and rewarding them, they’re going to deliver more for you.”
- Passion Everyone needs to be excited and willing to participate in the customer experience transformation. For Cary, it comes down to one word: Passion. "Surround yourself with people who are passionate. If they’re not passionate—and I know this sounds harsh—they shouldn’t be part of your organization. At the end of the day, if you want to accomplish a goal—whether it’s a financial goal or an NPS goal or a growth goal—you have to surround yourself with people that are passionate about that. I’m surrounded passionate people every day, that are excited about what we’re doing, and that has made this easy at time, and it has made the hard times successful.”