How Technology is Helping Major Brands Enhance Their Customer Experience

When it comes to providing a positive customer experience, you may think that just means having a clean retail space, friendly employees and a responsive customer service team. While those are all important facets to creating a memorable experience, there is so much more that today’s customer demands.

Fortunately, technology is empowering companies to meet these demands and use innovative techniques to keep happy customers returning time and time again.

Chipotle, for example, introduced online ordering for those customers who want to skip the restaurant line, and has even worked to enhance service by using  “Smarter Pickup Times” technology. Its goal is to cut down on wait times for customers who order digitally, as well as allow customers to secure pick-up times in advance.

“Chipotle has extensively tested the “Smarter Pickup Times” system in restaurants around the country,” the company reported in a February 2017 press release. “In tests, the company saw a reduction of wait times for digital orders by as much as 50%, and an increase in the total number of digital orders to record levels.” It seems this technology is driving Chipotle’s goal of someday having all orders come through digitally, and the company reported a very aggressive marketing effort aimed at encouraging customers to go digital when ordering.

“Chipotle is currently running a marketing campaign to drive digital orders that includes in-store promotions, social media advertising, search optimization, and digital advertising. Moving forward, nearly all of the company’s digital advertising will link customers directly to digital ordering.”

It’s clear that digital is the trend most companies are leaning towards when it comes to making changes that will positively impact their customers. Marriott International, Inc., is another brand that is listening to its customers and responding with a new and improved mobile app.

“Based on actual hands-on guest research and feedback, Marriott International, Inc. will now offer Marriott Rewards members a dynamic mobile experience personalized for them,” Marriott reported in February 2017. “Guests will enjoy new and expanded digital features; customized travel content; simple, one-button navigation; and a new swipe-able discovery home screen.” Instead of delivering a one-size-fits-all app for its customers, Marriott has created an app that will actually adjust to meet the personalized needs of the customer’s travel needs and particular journey.

“Whether members are in trip planning mode, getting ready to travel, in transit, or enjoying their hotel stay, the app will display content and features based on what services members are most likely to need in that moment of their travel journey.”

Marriott understands the deep connection its travelers have with their smartphones, and are making the effort to create an enjoyable and positive experience with their app. This is not only important for providing to customers with a gratifying experience, but also in proving that Marriott is taking an invested interest in learning and listening to its customers.

Walgreens is also doing an amazing job listening to its customers and is reaching a surprising demographic with its mobile app.

“The Walgreens mobile app, already one of the most popular retailer apps in the marketplace with tens of millions of users nationwide, has garnered a particularly robust following among older Americans – a demographic rarely associated with mobile app adoption,” the company reported in a press release published in June 2017.

“Walgreens data show more than 20 percent of its app users are age 55 and older, more than twice the percentage of industry averages.”

Walgreens credits some of its more unique and personalized app features for the app’s popularity with this age group, such as a TouchID sign in to assist those with trouble remembering password, font size options and simplified menus.

“One of the things we repeatedly hear is that customers really value their connections with individual pharmacists and staff,” said Mindy Heintskill, Walgreens divisional vice president, loyalty. “We wanted to replicate that connection digitally, so customers can get a high-value, personalized experience even when they can’t make it into a store. We created Pharmacy Chat, which enables customers to have access to trusted experts through our site or mobile app anytime of the day or night, wherever they are. We’ve also seen opportunities for tools like individual pill reminders and prescription alerts to help our customers simplify their daily lives.”

It’s evident that the customer experience is no longer just taking place inside a conventional retail space. Technology is stretching this experience to begin before a person even steps foot inside a Chipotle store, Marriott hotel or Walgreens location.

Brands today need to ensure their customers are having amazing experiences in-person, as well as online, with personalized and thoughtful apps that provide clear evidence of a brand’s dedication to learn more about their customer’s needs, behaviors and trends.

Listening to customers is obviously
the key to success when it comes to providing an enhanced customer experience, and Chipotle, Marriott and Walgreens are prime examples of how to ensure customers keep ordering, staying and shopping with them.

Follow DECA on Twitter @DECAInc. This article was featured in the September/October issue of DECA Direct. You can read the entire issue online now here.

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