NRF: The 8 C’s of Customer Service
At a session Monday at the NRF convention, McMillan Doolittle unveiled
C’s Model of Customer Experience.” The principles include: Clarity, Convenience,
Choice, Communication, Cast, Control, Consistency and Connection.
at the top by setting a few, clearly communicated priorities and creating an
environment that employees want to work in and puts serving the customer first,” said
Anne Brouwer, senior partner.
Ms. Brouwer, along with Mara Devitt, a partner
at the consultancy, then reviewed the eight principles and gave examples of
retailers representing each one.
Clarity: The right positioning for what the retailer stands for. Ms.
Brouwer cited Whole Foods’ “well defined and communicated positioning,” their “passionate” employees
and “lazer-like focus” on their target customer. She said, “They’ve
staked out a unique position and it’s one that’s hard to replicate, which helps
to ensure lasting value.”
Convenience: The right locations and channels. Ms. Brouwer cited Walgreen’s,
which seems “to be on every high traffic corner and always the location
with the best access.” The drug store chain is also available online, has
some 24-hour locations, and more recently added drive-through access to some
Choice: Having the right selections for their target customer. Anthropologie
and Crate & Barrel were mentioned as examples. Said Ms. Brouwer, “It’s
romancing products with powerful and emotional story telling.”
Communication: Leveraging all touchpoints to engage the consumer with
a particular emphasis on store design and layout across channels. Ms. Brouwer
cited Williams Sonoma’s “exquisitely choreographed presentations
and rigorously edited assortments.” She added, “It’s great signage
at multiple levels and seamlessly integrating those messages with unique and
impactful store design.”
Cast: Having the “right” employees through smart hiring, training
and standards. Said Ms. Devitt, “The Container Store has done a great job
of delivering a stellar cast. They hire and develop brands zealots who live the
brand, the lifestyle and who love the product.”
Controls: Having a flexible, custom-oriented selling and service process.
Ms. Devitt noted that at Chipotle, a customer can have their meal made to order
in the store and see it being made. But they can also customize the order online,
pay online and pick it up at the store while avoiding the checkout line.
Consistency: Delivering the same experience and message across time,
locations, channels and media. Said Mr. Devitt, “J. Crew is our example here. This
requires exceptional precision and coordination across the various functions
within a retail organization to make sure all the customer experience elements
come together across all touchpoints day in and day out.”
Connection: Involves extending the experience beyond the retail transaction
to develop a lasting relationship with the customer. Said Ms. Devitt, “Sephora
does a great job here. They use mobile apps, e-mails and social networks to keep
a dialogue going and to stay top of mind with their customers as their beauty-go-to
Do you see anything missing from McMillan Doolittle’s 8 C’s Model of Customer Experience? Which one may be excessive? Can you pick a favorite and a favorite retailer to represent it?