Customer Experience Roundup, June 4, 2019

Digital experience can make or break a company. When done well, providing customer-first digital options for a true omni-channel experience can create a loyal band of customers. However, digital mishaps can turn customers away and greatly hurt the overall experience. The good and bad of digital experience was on display this week with stories from three well-known brands.

Target To Update 300 Stores This Year

Target’s long-term remodeling campaign continues, with 300 stores slated to be updated in 2019. In total, more than 1,000 stores across the country will be remodeled by the end of 2020. The re-design puts customers first and plays a major role in Target’s digital transformation. As the store aims to highlight its online ordering program, the new store design features updated order pickup counters. Other updates are designed to help customers, including more interesting merchandise displays, lower shelves for easier access and highlighted areas for exclusive Target brands. Each store will be unique and reflect neighborhood characteristics. Target will spend between $4 million and $10 million per store.

Remodeling stores is a big step in Target’s continued digital transformation. Change can be hard for customers, but taking the steps to put the customers first in everything it does and have employees act as concierges in the new stores can make a difference. Target’s growing services blur the line between e-commerce and traditional brick and mortar and could be a huge win. Customers appreciate having options of how they shop, and Target’s remodeled stores give them plenty of variety.

First American Financial Leaks 885 Million Sensitive Records

Data breaches seem to be a common occurrence these days. The most recent large breach came when more than 885 million sensitive records, including bank accounts, Social Security numbers and tax documents from insurance company First American Financial customers were leaked online. As opposed to other data breaches, the First American Financial case didn’t appear to have a malicious hack. Instead, the hacker was mis-identified as an authorized user and could access and share information that was just left online for anyone to see. Because First American Financial found the documents relatively quickly, it has been able to remove much of the sensitive data, but it’s unknown if malicious bots catalogued the information before it came down.

In the world of data security, trust is paramount. A leak like First American Financials’ can cause customers to question if their personal information is actually secure or if it is treated carelessly behind a poorly designed website. In order to build trust and security, companies need to take serious steps to protect customer data and continually re-evaluate their security plan as technology changes. First American Financial has yet to offer any assistance to customers, such as paying for identity protection, which can also contribute to negative feelings.

North Face Tries (And Fails) To Scam Wikipedia

File this under creative advertising gone wrong. In an effort to showcase outdoor brand The North Face, the company’s ad agency uploaded photos of models wearing The North Face clothes in front of famous landmarks on Wikipedia. If someone searched for Brazil’s Guarita State Park, they would see a picture of someone wearing a North Face jacket with the logo prominently displayed in front of the park. Predictably, the ad campaign caused some serious backlash, and Wikipedia accused the company of digital vandalism. The North Face was forced to remove the pictures and face some unhappy fans on social media.

Marketing plays a big role in customer experience and how people perceive a brand. Companies should make bold moves with their advertising, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of being unethical and sneaky. This is especially important in the sharing economy where content can be created and shared so easily without being checked for accuracy.

A strong digital transformation can add to the overall customer experience, but taking advantage of digital channels or being lax with data security can cause serious harm. All brands need to put digital at the forefront of their customer experience strategies.

Blake Morgan is a keynote speaker, futurist and author of two books, “The Customer Of The Future” and “More Is More.” Sign up for her weekly customer experience newsletter here.

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