The home shopping brand QVC has been identified as the top-scoring organisation in this year's CEE analysis, according to customer experience analytics. KPMG Nunwood has carried out 1,500 brand reviews through the CEE analysis over the last eight years, highlighting The Six Pillars as the DNA of best practice. These pillars represent the universal characteristics of all great customer experiences, and it's across these areas that organisations are evaluated and ranked. QVC achieved the best scores across each of The Six Pillars, resulting in a CEE metric of 8.22.

Who is the customer?

Customer experience best practice can take some time to achieve. The strongest companies make a conscious effort to get inside their customers' heads, to understand their expectations and think carefully about how these might change depending on seasons, life events, and even the time of day. This level of research is not something that can be carried out overnight, and requires organisations to listen closely to their customers' voices; they must be prepared to continually adapt the experience in-line with the feedback they're receiving.

QVC, for example, identified that of the majority of its customers are female[1]. Its research indicated that its target individual was a person for whom shopping is a defining characteristic. She views shopping as an essential part of her approach to the world, and it's a key enabler for relaxation. Watching a shopping channel allows her to see and interact with others who share these values, creating something that has been described as a "para-social relationship". It's a one-sided connectedness that individuals sometimes feel with a celebrity or fictional character.

The challenge of omnichannel

Arriving at such a specific definition is particularly important in the world of 2017, where many brands interact with customers across different channels. For instance, companies such as the bank first direct do not have physical branches that customers can visit. First direct's service is telephone andinternet based,, with its web channels spanning Facebook, Twitter and email, and it is therefore crucial that all of these areas are mastered for the delivery of CX best practice.

Moreover, these various mediums are markedly different from one another; telephone dialogues, Twitter conversations and Facebook wall posts each offer unique challenges. With QVC, there is also the added dimension of the television experience, which broadcasts 17 hours a day in the UK. And whilst each of these channels offers a different type of interaction, the customer's high level of expectations does not waver.

Never break a promise

QVC scores 7.98 in the pillar of Expectations, which is the highest result in the UK CEE analysis. The customer experience analytics indicate that the brand has an understanding of who its customers are and what they want, and that it is capable of meeting these needs.

The QVC television presenter plays a key role in this respect. The individual will often be talking about a product that the viewer can neither touch, feel nor smell. As such, finding the right choice of words and delivering them in an adequate way is crucial to success in this pillar; the customers' expectations are set from the minute they start talking.

Moreover, there is a golden rule for Expectations that all brands need to be aware of. That is, it is better to make no promise at all than to make an overt one and fail to deliver. Brands such as AO.com are particularly conscious of this. AO.com is a company that has been known to order takeaway pizzas for its customers when it has been unable to deliver a new cooker within the promised timeframe. As such, it succeeds because it overcomes a failure to meet an expectation by 'going the extra mile' and ultimately exceeding the expectation.

The friendly connection

Other pillars such as Personalisation are key for CX success, and it remains one of the biggest drivers for advocacy and loyalty. For brands such as QVC, which seldom meets its customers face-to-face, creating a sense of individualised attention is all-the-more challenging. For any television shopping brand, the art of Personalisation mastery lies in the emulation of an 'over the fence conversation,' which creates the feeling of a friend explaining why a particular product is uniquely suited to another friend. It's an approach that side-steps the 'hard sell' approach and focuses on how the product leaves the customer feeling.

Personalisation is a high-scoring pillar for QVC, with the brand achieving 8.33.

Customer experience analytics, therefore, are a useful way of measuring organisations in relation to one another. It's clear that the brands in 2017's UK top 10 are offering sector-leading customer experiences, and systems such as The Six Pillars provide a valuable insight into how companies such as QVC are connecting with the people they serve.

 

 

[1] KPMG Nunwood, The Connected Experience Imperative, 2017 Customer Experience Excellence analysis