A Unified Brand eXperience - or UBX for those short of time - describes a new and fundamentally better way for Retail Brands to serve their customers. With the right tools and know-how, retailers can work with their suppliers to engage consumers around their own private brand products. This way of working turns Customers into Brand Advocates and Suppliers into Brand Champions by delivering a consistently authentic and engaging experience.
Achieving a Unified Brand eXperience is an improvement journey. As with anything worth doing it is challenging and takes time, combining development and enhancement of Customer Experience (CX), and leading edge techniques and methods that deliver world class Supplier Engagement.
And if I'm to be completely honest, I didn't get UBX straight away. I struggled to see that there might be another way, a better way to join the dots in the retail world; between Customer Service, Marketing, the Supply Chain and back again.
But when sat having a coffee with the manager of a retail customer call centre last year, that all changed. The conversation strayed from the usual formal dialogue as we discussed the challenges of leading a very busy call centre.
There was a long pause as he drained his latte, then, out of the blue… 'Complaints management is too focused on compensation - the replacement product for the customer and cost recovery from the supplier - rather than addressing the root cause of what caused the incident in the first place.’
You see, the Retailer he worked for was well known for the quality of service its Call Centre delivered. Responses to queries were prompt and polite. Teams cared about their work and were empowered to offer goodwill gestures where appropriate. "Problem with your pie? We're really sorry and to show you that we value you as a customer, here's some money off your next shop". Customer happy, phone down and complaint recorded.
But what this Call Centre Director had recognised is that this approach only addressed the immediate issue at hand - the customer complaint, and not the customer experience. The complaint - like all others not considered 'major' - ended its days itemised on a spreadsheet, reduced to a meaningless code and – only maybe - shared within a commercial discussion months later with the Supplier.
A wasted opportunity?
At this Call Centre, there was little or no opportunity for the supplier to help resolve the complaint and 'wow' the customer with a thorough and definitive response. There is little or no opportunity for the supplier to learn from the issue and make changes to ensure the same complaint is never received again.
As things stand, every complaint is a wasted opportunity.
And it isn’t just about complaints. What about general feedback – good and bad? Some call centres don’t even have the provision for positive feedback, given their focus on ‘complaints handling’. Compliments, praise and positive feedback have great value if collated and shared with suppliers to enhance new product innovation and initiatives.
UBX: Integrating and Involving Suppliers
Retail Brands that deliver a Unified Brand eXperience (UBX) integrate and involve their suppliers in Customer Engagement activities so that they don't waste these opportunities:
- Suppliers have access to every single complaint or compliment about their products.
- Retailers are empowered to harness the experience and expertise of the supplier to understand and address issues quickly and comprehensively.
- Customers receive an unparalleled level of customer service and are compelled to shout about it.
A retailer or call centre handling calls for, say, five thousand own-label products cannot reasonably be expected to investigate every complaint, even though each one really should be followed up.
That is the value of UBX: connecting suppliers to customers in this strategic way ensures that informed and in-depth responses to incidents can be provided to serve and satisfy customers properly.
Solutions 4 Retail Brands (S4RB) can help you join the dots within your organisation. Thanks to a decade of working with the world's largest Retailers, we understand the barriers to UBX like data quality, systems compatibility and siloed departments – and we have a proven track record in overcoming them.