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Operational Transparency: Increasing Perceived Value

By: Carrie McFarland on September 5, 2019


Today's consumers are much less patient than they used to be, largely due to the explosion of technology. Research has shown that 18 percent of online shoppers expect a page to load instantaneously; 30 percent expect it in one second or less; almost half expect these websites to load in two seconds or less.

Imagine waiting in line at your favorite coffee shop. You are concerned because there is a long line and you have to be at work in 30 minutes. It seems like nothing is moving. You look ahead to find a frustrated customer at the counter, impatiently waiting for something, although you don't know what.

We have all had this experience at some time or another: running out of patience while we wait for customer service to answer the phone or for the shoe salesman to return with your requested size.

But imagine how different it would be if, rather than concrete walls and solid doors, you could see in the back how your shoe salesman is frantically searching through stacks and stacks of boxes, red-faced, panicked, trying to find your size for you. How would your patience be affected then? Most of us would likely feel much different - possibly even feel a little guilty for losing our patience when the employee is clearly doing the best they can do.

Windows To The Soul

Often, what we don't see, doesn't effect us which is how Operational Transparency changes the dynamics of today's retail experiences. Not just for consumers but employees as well, resulting in a better shopping experience for consumers and connection to consumers from everyone within the organization.

The heart of customer experience is the employee but historically, retailers have spent as much time as possible focusing on their customers' in-store experience, forgetting the importance of that human component. Further, when employees see the results of their hard work and their connection to consumers, it is much more likely to increase their engagement and commitment to their employer.

Automate Vs. Educate

As many retailers have adopted automation to reduce costs and increase margins, an important value-added aspect of the buyer's journey gradually becomes lost: the human element.

Operational Transparency is an opportunity that retailers have to enhance the customer and employee experiences. It is a bridge that connects the two providing a window into the experiences of each.

In our research, we include an example of Starbucks who closed down all of their shops to train employees about racial bias. However, this was not done behind closed doors; rather, Starbucks cleverly incorporated it into their marketing strategy, illustrating their commitment to social responsibility to their consumers.

For employees - especially back-of-house employees who seldom interact with customers - being able to see (and be seen by) customers allows them to feel more connected to their experience and more valuable within the organization.

Perceived Value

Imagine viewing a beautiful piece of furniture and then looking disgusted at the price tag. 

Now imagine you were there, witnessing the craftsmanship and expertise it took to create that piece of furniture. The intricate details the creator of that piece of furniture applied when building it.

Understanding how much goes into the work of such a creation, helps consumers develop a new level of appreciation for the product.

Impatience is the result of something costing more than we think it should, whether it be money, time, or emotional engagement. When there is a human element involved - a way for customers to see the actual work that goes into providing them with their retail experience - the perceived value increases, as does their patience.

digital & mobile transformation in the retail industry

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