In the highly competitive online eyeglasses sector, the ability to predict the experiences consumers want can make all the difference. Whether that comes from surfacing the right products with the help of digital tools, targeting the right promo to be competitive on price, or striking the right balance between self-service and personal service, the challenge of process boils down to getting it right.
For Doron Pryluk, senior vice president of customer experience at GlassesUSA.com, delivering the right combination of factors that suit the needs of countless customer tastes is the heart -- and art -- of crafting a holistic shopping experience.
“True value lies in creating a product that improves or simplifies someone’s life,” Pryluk told PYMNTS as part of the latest segment of the Checkout.com Merchant Series, “Commerce Voices.”
“If you want to create real disruption, which is what we’re trying to achieve — which is our mission — you need to challenge how things were or are traditionally done,” he added.
As far as defining the perfect customer experience (CX), Pryluk said it can mean everything from better pricing on products of comparable quality to using data and technology “to reshape the online retail experience and digitize the traditional store experience and take it into the digital realm.”
Pryluk said disruption is also a matter of giving consumers the digital tools to do more themselves, as the dream of eCommerce is a self-service model where consumers don’t need customer or tech support.
“We’re trying to add a lot of customer-facing tech tools to really transform the process of buying glasses online,” he said. “We have a prescription scanner app, for example. We have our virtual try-on and a lot more tools. One of the key things that we’re focusing on is simply providing exceptional customer care and handholding our customers every step of the way,” though not handholding in the old-fashioned sense.
Listening and Talking
While Pryluk said GlassesUSA.com uses a mix of customer acquisition strategies, he’s more focused on providing the products and services in a way that makes customers into brand ambassadors.
Whether it’s an easy shopping experience or an effortless return, he said, “if you provide real value after the initial acquisition, that’s where you’re going to see it paying real dividends.”
Like any senior CX executive, Pryluk is all about data and its role in creating frictionless buying experiences online. But he’s also a word-of-mouth enthusiast, which means a merchant has done enough things right to trigger social sharing and other organic ways of getting the message out.
“Many executives and customer experience leaders like to think that having extensive coverage and 24/7 availability — be it on live chat or phone or whatever — is enough, but I believe that you also really want to empower your customers to, for example, in our case, track the order without needing to speak to anyone, process a return without too much hassle,” Pryluk said. “The list goes on and on.”
That’s a function of the fact that consumers would rather do it themselves whenever possible, avoiding chatbots and call center wait times, which is why GlassesUSA.com is investing in those platform tools.
It’s an “inside job” too. He said it’s critical for CX teams “to have a close working relationship with internal departments to ensure that you’re optimizing pre-, post- and during purchase. A lot of companies wave the flag of ‘customer first’ and ‘customer-centric,’ but only a few really walk that talk.”
There’s a reason these conversations come back time and again to data. Providing the right customer experience is at the top of the list, although old-fashioned listening goes a long way too.
“If you want to provide exceptional experiences, we don’t only look at data, we actually try to speak to our customers as much as possible,” he said. Valuable nuances are conveyed via in-depth interviews.
But — and here comes data again — Pryluk said “the biggest tip I can give is tracking and measuring every single thing. Once you have the data, you’re already in a better place. Especially with the speed and intensity of change, launching new initiatives without having any sort of tracking is very risky.”
In the case of GlassesUSA.com, “being in a constant state of mapping out our voice of the customer” is a core mission of the CX team, by “looking at the customer journey and trying to understand where is the friction, where is the difficulty, where is the pain that our customers are experiencing?”
Pryluk said customer journey mapping “is super key” to this process, calling the balance between self-service and human interaction the best way of knowing when a product or service is breaking down.