14th Dec 2016
From online decorating tips to allowing customers to book a home visit online, Carpetright has introduced a range of measures this year to make shopping more convenient across its sales channels.
The flooring-to-beds retailer said in its half-year review that multichannel convenience is a key part of its strategy – and catering for the needs of customers who want to research online before visiting a store to see products for themselves lies at the heart of that strategy.
Improvements made to the customer experience during the first half of 2016 included the introduction of an online Carpetright visualiser, which enables customers to upload photos of their room to see how different products would look in them.
Such personalisation of customer experience is becoming increasingly important, according to The Institute of Customer Service’s recent The Customer of the Future report, which predicted that customers will be highly individualistic, seeking personalised experiences which bring tangible benefits in pleasure, convenience, utility, self-image and self-actualisation.
Other additions to the retailer’s website include a new decorating tips and trends blog from interior stylist Diana Civil, as well as practical videos on subjects including choosing products, measuring a room and removing stains. Shoppers can also now pay for products online using interest-free credit.
Wilf Walsh, chief executive of Carpetright, said: “We have to make it easy for our customers, who place a high value on convenience and speed. This all combines to make buying floor coverings a hassle-free end-to-end experience, from researching online to the moment the fitter presents the finished product, and at every point in between.”
Carpetright has also taken steps to make customer service a point of competitive advantage. This has included adopting a new ‘Do we measure up?’ web-based customer service programme that enables shoppers to leave reviews and feedback on their shopping experience.
The retailer has just reported revenue of £222.3m in the 26 weeks to 29 October, 3.8% down on the same time last year, but expressed confidence that its customer service improvements will lead to better results and said it had made an encouraging start to the second half of the year, with a return to like-for-like sales growth in both its businesses.
Carpetright is one of a growing number of retailers that are adopting an omnichannel approach to customer service to meet changing demand. As The Institute’s latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) found, customers’ widespread use of multiple channels means that customer experience design needs to combine a detailed understanding of customer journeys and imaginative solutions to create simple, easier experiences.
The UKCSI also noted that many customers choose a mix of channels to interact with organisations and expect the experience to be integrated and seamless.