In today’s world, B2C business is confronted with enormously high expectations from its customers. These expectations must be met throughout the entire customer journey, especially in stationary retail. This raises the question of where added value can be created when the well-informed customer already knows everything. One possible answer is to open up an experience space and present yourself as a host. A host for customers.
Mindset Change in stationary retail
A lot has happened in recent years since omnichannel has taken hold. Today, it is a matter of course that customers are provided with full 24-hour support via a wide range of virtual and live channels. Services such as 24-hour shopping, chatbots, personal round-the-clock telephone support, and even parcel couriers who contact customers when no one is at home or collect the unwanted product, are currently standard.
These experiences determine the demands of today’s customers in their purchasing behavior. This has a significant impact on retailers and their employees. The times when a “Can I help you?” or a “If I can help with anything, just get in touch” were enough are over. Now it’s about picking up the customer where he or she stands and creating an experience. Make the customer feel welcome and in good hands. Being a host for customers.
This calls for a mindset change among people in stationary retail.
But what does that actually mean: being a host for customers?
From concierge to host for customers
From the hotel industry, the role of the concierge is well known. A concierge fulfills the most individual wishes of his customers. He does not sell a product per se, but a feeling. The feeling of hospitality. In other words, he takes on the role of host and ensures that the customer feels at home from the very first second. The stationary retail for luxury and premium products has adopted this concept of the concierge. Today, employees are no longer just brand ambassadors, but also hosts who create experiences for customers.
This is a job enrichment and it requires the expansion of the skill set.
In this case, a multi-modular Learning Journey over a period of 3-4 months has proven its worth. TCJG has developed it on behalf of a client and has now conducted it several times. For hosts for customers.
Including the stages: Mindset, Skillset and Toolset. With virtual and face-to-face workshops, a learner community, self-learning and learning-on-the-job units and at the end a best-business-practise-sharing.
A journey of self-awareness towards becoming an individual host
Arrive, observe and understand
It starts with a webinar where all prospective hosts:in get to know each other and learn the itinerary. It is led by a host for customers. For his host-customers.
In the first phase, the participants make their own observations and collect stories with personal host experiences. In addition, self-learning material is available that provides orientation on concepts such as customer centricity or contact and relationship management or even the needs of customers today.
Sharing is caring, therefore they share their thoughts with the fellow participants in the community and reflect their impressions for the first time with a coach. The goal is to understand the customer, their own role or even expectations and possible appropriate behaviors.
Experience, discover and try out
Then the participants meet for a 1.5-day experience-oriented presence workshop. The goal of the live workshop is to develop a coherent understanding of the role of the host and to build competence in creating exceptional customer experiences.
The participants go through a variety of interactive exercises and reflections. For example, there is a rally with mini-sessions on skills and behavior in contact and communication situations. Or a course where, among other things, simulations take place with actors who slip into the role of customers and realistically re-enact various customer situations. The participants receive direct feedback from the actors on their behavior. The creative unit, in which host avatars are created by many hands and with heart, is particularly appreciated.
The highlight is certainly the experience of being received and cared for by hosts as a customer at a dinner. In the process, role models are reflected. Legendary are the hosts’ stories in an informal round, with which the evening ends.
Deepen, share and celebrate
After the workshop, it’s a matter of putting what you’ve learned into action. As a host, this means creating exceptional customer experiences in the workplace. The participants not only consolidate the skills they have acquired. They also act as role models and mentors for other colleagues in their own retail business over a period of around 6 weeks. They share their experiences with peers. Tips are welcome. In this way, they succeed in internalizing the attitude of the host, acquire special skills in communication and contact behavior with customers, and mature into hosts for customers.
At the end, the best business practices will be contested in a collegial competition. All participants pitch their best practices for a “Host for Customers” award. It is clear that there can only be winners. In any case, everyone celebrates the completion together.
What do you think, would the role of a host also be something for the people in your organization?
We look forward to exchanging ideas.
Please contact us.
This case was written by Katharina Popovits.