Talking to a client last week, they said, “Boy, WD Partners is like the Oracle of Ohio, eh?”
I’m like, “Ok, what does that mean?”
Client says, “well, you guys talked about how important BOPIS was / is for years, you called the ‘store as a fulfillment center’ idea, you warned us about Amazon, all for starters—that’s some nice work!”
Me, “Ok, thanks, but in all transparency, we might’ve been pretty good at asking questions, but it’s the customer that’s the ‘oracle’, not us.”
And that’s the truth. We fielded our first research study on BOPIS 7 years ago and frankly, we found it a little hard to believe, so we asked consumers again. And sure enough, they love the idea of ordering their merchandise online and having a retailer put it in their trunks as they speed off to soccer practice or home from work.
And they still do.
We got compelling results from depictions of stores as half fulfillment centers / half “playgrounds” (experience) early too, but all that was based on what consumers had already told us about pick up, delivery, and excellent customer experience before those studies, not prophecy.
Then came COVID, and everything accelerated. Suddenly, the ‘nice to haves’ became ‘have to haves’ for retailers and many a business was caught well…catching up. But the fact is that the customer had been asking for these sudden ‘have to haves’ for a long time.
Truth be told, when it comes to ‘oracles’, WD Partners, retailers of all stripes, and restaurants too, are going to have to give that title to the customer. If we had all paid a little more attention to what they were asking for and tested till we got it right, we wouldn’t be scrambling around now, creating Franken-Designs for things we all should’ve done years ago. Lessons learned the hard way.
So, customer experience experts everywhere, what do you say we all become better listeners, and leave the ‘I told you so’s’ in the backyard? And while we’re at it, remember this great bit of anonymous advice on the topic:
Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening.
Can’t say we didn’t tell you that one.