Continuing the trend seen on the global stage, Russian brands were forced to re-evaluate during COVID-19. As in most countries, customers flocked to digital platforms to carry out their business, and the brands that were 'omnichannel ready' saw the best performance in the 2020 rankings.
This was a particularly challenging for Russia as it currently has one of the lowest levels of e-commerce capability in Europe. COVID-19 has therefore been the catalyst for some growth in this area, with many organizations finally paying appropriate attention to and assessing the availability and efficiency of their on-line channels.
One sector that has already mastered this is the public sector. In Russia, government services such as registering apartment ownership or paying speeding fines have been centralized onto simplified platforms, such as Moi Dokumenty and Gosuslugi, removing the arduous, time-wasting customer journeys that formerly plagued this sector. Customers now have single, digital points of contact where they can selfserve with ease, adopting the highly successful model most commonly seen in the financial services sector.
This likely contributed to Russia's overall pillar performances, with Personalization currently lthe greatest driver of loyalty, and Integrity for advocacy. Customers appreciate the brands that can tailor the experience to their specific needs, and have their best interests at heart. These are the ones they are most likely to return to, and 'promote' among their peers.
Samsung Store is one such brand, ranking at number three in this year's study. Personalization is one of its best-performing pillars, and the retailer has even mastered this on its website.
For example, customers can receive individualized product recommendations, create their own Favorites tabs and carry out product comparisons. At the height of COVID-19, Samsung Store implemented additional customercentric measures, including the option for shoppers to pay for products in instalments — recognizing that many people had been financially impacted by COVID-19.
Similarly, the cosmetics retailer Yves Rocher demonstrates its customer-centricity in this year's study, ranking at number two. For example, its employees are trained to memorize all of the ingredients for Yves Rocher products, allowing them to make informed and bespoke recommendations to customers. Respondents also noted that staff always give warm welcomes, and take the trouble to say goodbye.
One customer said: "I like the experienced staff that help choose the exact product for my exact needs! The quality of the products is at the highest level!"
Yves Rocher's strongest pillar score is in Time and Effort, and in this respect the retailer has emulated the approach of the public sector. It aims to become a 'one stop shop' for all-things beauty-related, creating a single platform where shoppers can quickly find what they want. It achieves this by offering a wide product range, and utilizing highly knowledgeable employees who can guide customers towards their goals. Its efficiency is also evident in its online services, with Yves Rocher including samples with deliveries to help shoppers learn more about the products available.
Time and Effort is also a strong pillar for the sportswear retailer Nike — it's the strongest Time and Effort score in the Russian study, with Nike topping the rankings for 2020. A large part of this is down to its omnichannel offering; Nike is available across a wide range of digital platforms, making it easy for the shopper to choose their preferred touchpoint, and begin their journey.
An example of this can be seen with the Mercaux app — another integrated platform — on which customers can access real-time stock levels at any given store, and use a feature where a bespoke dress style will be created for them by an employee, and stored within the app.
Nike also stands out in the pillar of Integrity, building its customer experience on the core values of innovation, sustainability and diversity. The company promotes a simple philosophy if a person has a body, then they are already an athlete; Nike wants to guide beginners towards healthier lifestyles, and also provide expert services for sports professionals.
Nike also acknowledges its responsibility towards the planet, and has launched a clothes collection made entirely of recycled materials as part of its Move to Zero pledge.
Undoubtedly, these are strong examples of CX excellence for other organizations to follow in Russia.
Despite the decline in customer income following COVID-19, brands like Nike prove that consumers are still prepared to spend — if there is a premium customer experience on offer. Achieving this will require many organizations to redesign their customer experiences, paying particular attention to digital channels to create journeys that are fast, personalized, and simple.
“To be consistently successful, companies need to continually measure and reassess their operating models as well as their approaches to engaging and interacting with potential and existing customers. The impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown has further accelerated the importance of adoption of these trends in all companies. Customer expectations are increasing all of the time, and establishing loyalty requires delivering consistent, engaging experiences aligned to brand values." ”
Head of Customer Advisory
KPMG in Russia and CIS
Shell Petrol Station