RSR Research: The ROI of Customer Passion
Commentary by Nikki Baird, Managing Partner
Through a special arrangement,
presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox,
Retail Systems Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers.
an executive summit on cross-channel recently, I asked a colleague if he believed
that there is an ROI to be had around customer passion. It was late. Perhaps
I was inspired or just tired, but coming back to it, I’m dangerously close
to making that my watch-phrase of the year.
I became passionate about this topic
after seeing a fantastic
video from the folks at trendwatching.com.
My favorite part is towards the end, when they ask people if there are any
brands that "care" about them. The answers are amazingly insightful,
even from people that you would not expect to be very sophisticated about marketing.
When ad industry people say that consumers are more savvy (and jaded) about
marketing than ever before, I think the people in this video are exactly what
So, deep down, do you care about your customers? And more than just
in the health of their spending? Do you have any measures in your customer
satisfaction scores that include "enthusiasm" or "passion" or
Do you get what I mean, or do you think I’m being frivolous?
As one example,
the kiosk has been resurrected for a brief comeback tour. Retailers who
think about customers as a dollar value tied to a customer’s lifetime think
like this: "Let’s put a coupon kiosk at the front of the
store, and consumers can come in and swipe their loyalty card and get coupons,
many of which will be targeted based on their purchase history. Everybody loves
coupons, so this will be great!"
The problem is that consumer research
has shown an extremist kind of split among shoppers. There’s the laser-focused "I
have three items and five minutes and I left my kids and my dog in the car
illegally, and it will take me longer to dig my stupid loyalty card out of
my purse and swipe it than it will for me to run in here and get my three items." That
customer will never, never use the front-of-store kiosk.
At the opposite
spectrum there’s the "I’m bored, and there’s 20 minutes
before have to go sit down at the movie theatre so I’m wandering. If something
catches my eye, I might buy it, but mostly I’m just looking." For this
group, trips are won because of retail brand or location, not because of deals
So in the end, coupons neither work for those seeking ultimate
convenience, or entertainment, especially when they are not relevant. Nowadays,
like it or not, coupons are a base expectation, and consumers are increasingly
expecting them to be highly relevant. Coupons aren’t something that consumers
need or desire. Products aren’t even the things that consumers need or desire
— yes, even food products. Do you buy vegetables, or do you buy meal ingredients?
it’s meals that people consume. So think a little harder about your customers
and why they come to see you. If you can find a way to make their lives easier
— if you can show that you care about their lives — then you can create the
kind of engagement that only comes with passion. And with passion, I promise
there is an ROI, even if it can’t be calculated directly in a spreadsheet.
Discussion Questions: What’s
the closest a retailer can get to measuring ROI around customer satisfaction? Is