Thursday, January 20, 2022
HomeDigital IconsInterview with Kevin Hisko, Director Customer Experience at Jackman

Interview with Kevin Hisko, Director Customer Experience at Jackman

Team eCommerce Next interviewed Kevin Hisko from Jackman to get more insights on the biggest impacts to customer experience since the pandemic. Following is our interview with him:

How do you think about customer experience (CX) today?

At Jackman, it’s all about putting the customer at the core. So, we look at CX as being the sum of every interaction a customer has with a business, product, or service from pre-, to post-purchase. Ultimately, CX provides perspective — it brings a holistic view of the end-to-end customer lifecycle and articulates how people interact with a company; their actions, mindsets and needs.

Today, we find ourselves talking a lot at Jackman about the ‘Passionate 10%’ of consumers — these are the consumers that can be described as creators and facilitators. They’re the ones that truly ‘own’ brands, lead communities, and influence others. It is their opinions and voices that do more than any other to shape broader opinions. So, when we think about the customer experience, we need to consider what role the ‘Passionate 10%’ plays in shaping the journey of others.

What is customer journey development?

The way customers decide what products to purchase (and how to buy them) is getting more complicated by the day. At the same time, the number of touchpoints available to reach them continues to grow. And further complicating matters is the fact that a customer’s purchase journey is far from linear and differs person to person.

Customer journey development is a key tool that is grounded in human insights. It aims to define real customer needs and to determine how to motivate action. With the right research, we can define the steps, value creation moments, and pain points a customer experiences as they move through their buying journey. This process is critical to understanding and ultimately influencing the customer’s decision to buy.

What are some of the biggest disruptions to the customer journey since the pandemic?

Consumers’ trust in e-commerce and the pre-purchase experience are two things that have been dramatically impacted by COVID.

Many customers shopped online for the first time during the pandemic (or shopped new categories online, at least). Findings from our Jackman Human Insights Study showed that 57% of those who ordered groceries for delivery from a grocery store during the pandemic did so for the first time. In addition to online delivery, many retailers figured out how to nail the BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store) experience and were able to alleviate some of the original hesitation customers had with shopping online. These changing behaviors have unlocked many new opportunities across all sectors of retail and helped enhanced the experience for customers.

Additionally, consumers suddenly found themselves housebound (often with more time on their hands) and began investing more time in the pre-purchase phase of their journey. Consumers’ cooking and meal preparation behavior is a good example of this. During the pandemic, consumer engagement with recipes rose 25%, with people saving recipes 5.2 times more than pre-pandemic. Clearly, people were spending more time discovering, planning, and budgeting their meals.

What’s an example of a retailer or brand that tapped into this evolving customer journey?

Walmart’s partnership with Tasty is a good example. Walmart knew that inspiration was a key part of their customers’ journey but had no offering to help them. At the same time, Tasty’s app was growing in popularity as consumers looked for ideas on meal preparation during the pandemic. Rather than trying to compete, Walmart teamed up with Tasty and leveraged their API to offer a one-click ordering experience straight from the Tasty app. Now, customers can simply find a recipe in the Tasty app, add the products to their Walmart online cart with one click, checkout in the Tasty app, and pickup their items at their closest Walmart. This is just one example of how brands embraced the pre-purchase process and worked to transform the typical customer journey by offering a more convenient way to buy products.

How did retailers and brands enhance the customer experience during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, many consumers struggled (and, in fact, still struggle) to get their hands on the products they need, when they need them. The brands that not only delivered products on-time but also enhanced the overall customer experience were able to strengthen and deepen connections with customers.

Beyond the optimization of the more functional aspects such as BOPIS and fulfilment, we also saw several brands lean into loyalty and advocacy and, as a result, see greater consumer engagement.

Simply put, the pandemic reinforced what brands and retailers should continue to focus on: enabling people to shop when they want, how they want, and where they want, all while providing a frictionless experience.

What’s an example of a brand that enhanced its customer experience during the pandemic?

LEGO really pushed to improve their CX during COVID, and recently enhanced their VIP member-only event prior to Black Friday. The toy company launched special edition products (e.g. Home Alone LEGO set), included additional gifts with purchase (e.g. holidays bag tags), and offered bonus incentives. Through initiatives and programs like this one, LEGO leverages both its community and its loyalty program to reward its most loyal customers and unlock greater lifetime value from its best customers. Leveraging stronger connections with customers through loyalty has positioned LEGO to expand its direct-to-consumer offering in 2022.

In your opinion, which shifts in the customer journey are here to stay?

Consumers adopted a more digital-first mindset during the pandemic, and it doesn’t seem to be going away. In the early days of COVID, it felt like the whole world was stocking up on essentials like toilet paper and people were fearful of visiting stores. This shift forced consumers to adapt their journey and invest more time into planning and researching their shopping trips. They looked to online and mobile apps first and planned their trips in-store — according to Google, globally, there was a 400% year-over-year increase in searches containing “open now near me.” In response to consumers’ shift to digital, brands and retailers have accelerated their omni-channel efforts. The retailers and brands that can offer a true omni-channel experience will win with today’s consumers.

What can brands / retailers do to build a culture of change when it comes to CX?

Brands and retailers should look internally and consider whether their own culture and organizational structure encourages or hinders innovation, adaptation, and flexibility. During the pandemic, many companies shifted their structure, teams, and budgets to be omni-channel focused and worked to solve customer pain points. This shift has put strain on how retailers and brands structure their organizations, and further change is afoot. Discussions on who leads the entire customer experience are happening in board rooms across the world, and new c-level roles like Chief Experience Officers are becoming topics of debate.  Whatever the future organization looks like, it’s important that it is built with the customer experience in mind.

What role do you think CX design will play in the future?

There’s no doubt that new channels, purchase methods, and customer touchpoints will continue to emerge, but each will bring its own challenges and stressors (for both brands / retailers and customers). Regardless of the method consumers choose, brands and retailers will need to provide support throughout the entire journey and remove pain points along the way. More importantly, they will have to figure out how to seamlessly integrate these new components into their overall customer experience. CX design will play a critical role in this constant evolution. CX designers will need to become extremely efficient at both identifying and addressing the emerging pain points. They will need to leverage modern advancements in technology to provide support during the pre- and post-purchase phases of the journey and to stay current with customers (e.g. Walmart leveraging their APIs with Tasty).

About Kevin Hisko

Kevin Hisko is a Director of Customer Experience at Jackman. His role is to help educate and guide its partners down the process of change by bringing together all departments (breaking down silos) within an organization to rally behind a connected customer experience that is truly remarkable, promotes loyalty, helps retain customers, and encourages brand advocacy.

About Jackman

Jackman is North America’s leading transformation company. From full-scale business reinventions to focused brand transformations and refreshes, Jackman is expert at unlocking value through actionable human insight, strategy-led innovation, creative conceptualization and all-channel activation. Learn more at: www.jackmanreinvents.com

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