Since my previous post talks about customer service and my next post will talk about customer loyalty, I felt compelled to squeeze in something about Circuit City. The retailer just announced that both its CMO and president of small stores are leaving — just a few months after the retailer’s exec VP of multi-channel sales also left the company. In the midst of this turnover, I have a few thoughts for the Circuit City board of directors as they retool their efforts.
To being with, let’s look at how customers rate Circuit City. Here are some findings from my research which shows Circuit City’s rankings:
- Overall customer experience: 26th out of 27 retailers
- Usefulness rating: Last out of 27 retailers
- Ease of use rating: 26th out of 27 retailers
- Enjoyability rating: 26th out of 27 retailers
- Phone interaction satisfaction: 47th out of 78 firms
- Web site interaction satisfaction: 46th out of 83 firms
- In-store interaction satisfaction: 44th out of 70 firms
- Customer intentions to switch: 110th out of 112 firms
- Customer plans for repurchasing: 106th out of 112 firms
It’s clear that Circuit City has it’s work cut out for itself when it comes to Customer Experience. I think it makes sense to repeat advice that I gave to JP Morgan Chase in “Chase Can’t Advertise Its Way To Customer Friendliness:” You can’t advertise yourself out of this problem.
So here’s a suggestion for the Circuit City leadership team: Transform your latest marketing slogan, “Simplicity guaranteed,” from a tag-line into an operational blueprint. How? By following the second principle of Experience-Based Differentiation:
Reinforce brands with every interaction, not just communications. Traditional brand messaging is losing its power to influence consumers — that’s why branding efforts need to expand beyond marketing communications to help define how customers should be treated. To master EBD, firms must articulate their brand attributes to both customers and employees, clearly describing how the firm wants to be viewed. That’s just the first step, because companies must go on to translate brand attributes into requirements for how they’ll interact with customers.
The bottom line: Circuit City should stop guaranteeing simplicity and start delivering it.