Building a customer-centric company culture by Kevin Thompson #CMACX #MRX


Live blogging from the MRIA/CMA #CMACX customer experience conference in Toronto. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Building A Customer-Centric Company Culture Within The Organization

Kevin Thompson,Vice President, Customer Experience and Development, Barneys New York

  • The customer is in control, so now what?CMA
  • Struggles from the great depression impacted people their entire life, 80 years. You can’t shift back and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Makes us more responsible about the products we sell.
  • Sales dropped 40% in two years during the recent recession. Got a new CEO and COO, both from Gucci.
  • “Why” has a lot to do feeling, they buy the “why” before the “what.”
  • Apple is the perfect example. They communicate the “why.” They rarely show the whole ipad. It’s the voiceover that matters, it’s a part of your life, it’s the experience of living. Tapped into a feeling of owning apple products.
  • We need to understand the feeling of shopping at Barneys. Needed to reboot the entire company. It had not been customer focused. Barneys tried to dictate cool instead of seeing what cool was. We weren’t being “nice” to our customers – we’re barneys, we tell people what’s cool. That fit the style of luxury retail.
  • This snob appeal worked for a long time and they become famous for it. It bit them in the end. Customers changed how they spent their money and the store didn’t.
  • The client IS the business.
  • 2400 customers spent 80 million at barneys last year. we cannot lose these people. need to maintain these relationships. But really needed new customers. 5% of customers spent 50% of the money.
  • spoke to 4000 employees and customers in the first 6 months via surveys, interviews, mystery shop, phone monitoring, and focus groups from C level to stock room employees
  • Heard from customers that had been treated rudely.  One focus group was so negative that every person refused the thank you gift of a $500 gift card. That needed to be shown to the executives.
  • Some people want a present sales associate but not someone who holds their hand. Other people do want the hand holding. You need to understand both. [I want someone who catches my eye and then leaves me alone until i’m ready]
  • Southwest and Harley Davidson are great at customer segmentation
  • Have you ever bought a pair of Nike’s and then just slotted it on top of all your other Nike boxes?
  • Why do we like farmer’s markets? We have few choices but it’s a family event, in the country, the fresh air. Buy an apple at Whole Foods? Sure, why not. More choices, but it’s not a family event, it’s a bit intimidating if they all fall off the shelf. Whole Foods knows this so they train their associates on it. Anywhere you buy an apple feels different.

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