Before the arrival of COVID-19, an important part of Spain's customer experience was the brick and mortar store — a place that was more of an 'experiential destination.' However, COVID-19 has changed this mindset. Consumers still want outlets to exist, but increasingly as places where they can have their needs met as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Personalization is still of paramount importance. In previous years, Personalization was often achieved through one-to-one interactions; customers would take time to discuss their individual needs and allow themselves to be guided towards the best purchases. And while this desire still exists — with the pillar of Personalization being the leading driver of customer advocacy — people now expect to see it in their digital interactions as well. COVID-19 has shaped Spain into more of an omnichannel market, with a heavy reliance on digital. Physical stores are still part of the customer journey, but a smaller one, with less emphasis being placed on the pleasure of face to face interactions.
With more emphasis being placed on the commodity of time the pillar of Time and Effort is the greatest driver of customer loyalty in 2020. Consumers want to feel as if they are using their time well, be it in a physical store, on a website, in an app, or in a webchat. And they are more committed to those brands that are fast and efficient.
Most of these can be found in the non-grocery retail sector, which dominates this year's rankings. For the most successful Spanish retailers — such as Zara or El Corte Ingles — the key is customer data, enabling these brands to better understand consumer priorities. Data and insights help to understand what the customer values and deliver continuous learnings to deliver faster and more individualized experiences.
They have created customer experiences that are truly omnichannel, allowing consumers to switch between digital and physical platforms seamlessly, with few barriers between them and their goals.
One organization that does this consistently well is Apple Store, which tops the CX rankings in 2020.
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on Apple Store's operations, being a largely brick and mortar operation. At the peak of COVID-19 in Spain the organization shifted many of its services online, making its online channels and phone services the main point of contact for consumers. This was something of an effortless transition and in fact the brand saw some growth in its customer base.
This may have been achieved through a focus on its employees who have always been a core component of the store's experience.
Second in Spain's study is the online supermarket Consum, whose highest pillar scores are in Time and Effort and Integrity. Consum says that its core values are, "To listen to the customers, the employees, the suppliers and to our environment; to provide products, training, information, welfare, development and sustainability; and to be responsible through commitment, honesty and respect."1
One shopper made the following remark about Consum: "The orders arrive quickly, in the indicated time frame, and if a problem arises, they are flexible in solving it, always thinking of helping the customer."
Following Consum is the telecommunications operator Pepephone, which ranks at number three. "We believe in a world in which your operator automatically improves your rates," says Pepephone, "[and] recognizes when they have made a mistake and compensates you without your asking… A world in which your operator does not waste your time and dedicates his to making your life easier."2
Pepephone's highest pillar scores are in Time and Effort, Resolution, and Personalization.
Looking ahead, creating a customercentric vision won't be too hard for many Spanish brands. What will be difficult, however, will be the harnessing and analysis of the large swathes of customer data.
In addition, with the role of the physical store quickly evolving, brands need to understand how to incorporate a range of touchpoints into a more omnichannel experience.
To do this, they will need to consider how to inspire and engage their employees (one of their most valuable assets) mirroring the approach of successful organizations like Apple Store.
“It is interesting to note that two local companies are ranked in the top three, which shows that proximity, empathy, convenience and reliability are gaining importance. Brands that have been able to provide a seamless omnichannel experience, adopting and extending the use of new technologies to connect and interact with customers (such as AI, marketing automation, and digital interaction channels) while retaining the human touch, are the ones that are winning. In this respect, I must say that customers increasingly value employees as the key factor for delivering an excellent experience, focusing on solving their problems, making their lives better, and building relationships — instead of just being transactional. " ”
Head of Consumer & Retail and Digital Customer
KPMG in Spain
Leading Online retailer
El Corte Ingles
Leading grocery delivery service