EX and CX Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Umesh Chopra is an experienced insights and analytics professional. 

Driven by an interest in data-driven decisions, he takes pride in providing a strategic business roadmap to accommodate changing customer and market needs. 

Chopra is a Market Intelligence Manager at Sharjah Cooperative Society where his role encompasses Customer Happiness, CRM & Loyalty, and Pricing/Promotion/Assortment Analytics. We sat down to chat with him about the changing customer experience. 

Excerpts from the interview; 

Are you taking a new CX approach for Gen Z?

The average age of our current customer base is on the higher side but the new customers coming in belong to the lower age bracket. It is imperative to have different yet balanced strategies for our loyal customers, the older generation, and the new trialist ones – the younger generation. We need to be active on traditional communication media like phone and SMS for the former, and on social media and in-store experiences for the latter. 

Do you think employees’ experience has an impact on customer experience?

Yes, indeed — they are two sides of the same coin. Motivated and happy employees, especially in a customer-facing industry like retail, can only satisfy the innate need of customers. Our stakeholder review process consists of measuring and monitoring customers, employees and partners and having a single CX strategy to fit all.

What is the biggest challenge brands face when delivering omnichannel service?

Managing expectation versus reality is the biggest challenge across all key touchpoints. Customers expect the same service level in the physical and online stores and click-and-collect and aggregator-led deliveries. This is especially true for a retailer such as us who have been at the forefront of service levels when it comes to offline.

How is the CX journey defined in your organization?

The CX journey at Sharjah Cooperative Society is defined from top to bottom rather than bottom to up. We give more priority to customers than the top and bottom lines. Setting CX parameters as mandatory KPIs has also helped. VOCs are continuously captured and monitored as well.

What is the role of technology in improving your CX?

Technology is vital for knowing the customer and their needs in the shortest period. While tech helps predict behaviors, it cannot improve CX in a way a personalized approach can. Hence, considering the customer as a human and giving them that human interaction is still significant while tech is at the backend supporting the same.

How can brands deal with negative CX?

Being open to listening to negative CX is very important. Brands fail when they always try to show a positive light from CX. A 5% negative impact is much stronger than a 95% positive. Each customer issue is different and unique. Hence, a plan of action has to be personalized as well – this requires efforts from each side without fear of being judged for negative CX.

What are the top 3 focus points to improve CX?

Personalization, humanization and adaptation.

How do you personalize CX in the retail industry? 

We use our loyalty program to personalize experiences for customers. It contributes to close to 70% of our revenue. 

What are the challenges in CX for the retail industry? 

Retail is all about sales — having an expectation of ROI on sales for each CX initiative is the biggest challenge. Tech upgradation-and-integration is another challenge due to rising competition and customer demands.

What can delegates expect from your presentation at CX NXT? 

My discussion would revolve around balancing CX’s tech and human sides. I will also discuss streamlining and creating customer-centric strategies beyond the CX department.

Umesh Chopra will be speaking at CX NXT, a Customer Experience summit, Address, Dubai Marina, UAE on November 16 and 17, 2022.