Walmart’s Pay Increase Will Probably Lower Costs

Walmart recently announced that it plans to raise wages for more than 100,000 of its managers and employees in specialized departments. Why would the “everyday low prices” retailer add a ton of new costs to its ongoing operations?

I want to explore a hypothesis that this move will actually lower Walmart’s long-term costs. I know it sounds counter-intuitive; how do you lower costs by spending more? The answer comes from understanding the Employee Engagement Virtuous Cycle.

Temkin Group's Employee Engagement Virtuous Cycle

As you can see, a more engaged workforce can drive even better financial results. One of the reasons is that engaged employees are much more productive, they’re willing to work harder. While compensation is not the key motivator for engaging employees, it’s hard to engage employees who don’t believe that they are being fairly compensated.

As you can see below, 59% of employees who believe they are appropriately compensated are highly likely to do something good for the company even if it’s not expected of them, compared with 45% of employees who do not believe they are appropriately compensated.

TGVirtuousCycle

This move by Walmart will certainly get a lot more employees to believe that they are appropriately compensated. Think about how much value (and cost savings) those employees can create by doing good things for Walmart. I’d bet that it will more than cover the costs of the pay raises.

The bottom line: Sometimes you can save money by paying your employees more.

Report: Evaluating Mobile eGift Card Purchasing Experiences

1411- SLICE-B COVERWe published a Temkin Group report, Evaluating Mobile eGift Card Purchasing Experiences. The report uses Temkin Group’s SLICE-B experience review methodology to assess the mobile sites of 10 retailers. Here’s the executive summary:

Although smartphones are a convenient interaction channel, their small screens pose serious design challenges for companies. To evaluate the customer experience of mobile websites, we used Temkin Group’s SLICE-B experience review methodology to assess the experience of buying an eGift Card from ten large retailers: Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Best Buy, and RadioShack. Home Depot earned the top score for its functionality and minimalist processes, while the user could not complete the full purchasing goal at Lowe’s, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Best Buy, or RadioShack.

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The report includes the scores for all 10 companies across each of the six SLICE-B categories, strengths and weaknesses of each retailer, and some best practices across all of the mobile sites. Here is a description of the user and her overall goal that we tested:

Our user was a middle-aged woman looking to send her niece a $25 electronic gift card to help her get settled into her new apartment. While she is reasonably proficient at operating a smartphone, she finds entering a lot of information to be difficult on the small keyboard. She has an iPhone 4s. She does not have an app for any of the companies being evaluated and does not know whether they sell $25 eGift Cards.

Here are the overall results:

1411_GiftCardResults

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The bottom line: Gift cards should be easier to buy via mobile phones.

Improve the Experience for Gift Card Recipients

In a recent research report we used Temkin Group’s SLICE-B experience review methodology to evaluate the experience of buying a gift card online from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, CVS, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart. But those journeys don’t end when the gift card is sent; there’s an important person on the other side of those gifts—the recipient. So, to analyze the entire end-to-end gift-card experience provided by each retailer, we took a look at the experience from the viewpoint of the person who received the gift cards.

You can download a free copy of our Insight Snapshot: Gift Card Receiving Experience (.pdf) that includes screen shots of the best practices.

1311_GiftCardRecipientGoodBad

Here are some of the best practices that we found: Read more of this post

Best Buy Delivers Highest TV Satisfaction

We’re entering into the busiest season for retail sales in the U.S.with Black Friday this week and Cyber Monday next week. One of the key categories during the holiday season is TVs. Retailers plan to sell a lot of them between now and Christmas. So I decided to look into our consumer benchmark data to see which retailers provided the best experience for TV buyers.

I examined data for more than 1,300 consumers who had recently purchased TVs. The analysis compared satisfaction across multiple steps in the process for Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon.com, and other retailers. As you can see in the chart below, Best Buy delivers the best experience across just about every element of the new TV experience.

Interestingly, Best Buy’s largest advantage is in customer service (+10 percentage points), which is the area that has the lowest satisfaction level across all retailers.

The bottom line: Best Buy is the best bet for TVs

Will Retailers Deliver Holiday CX Cheer?

Earlier this year, we published the 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings (TER) that evaluates the customer experience (CX) of 143 large US organizations based on consumer ratings across three elements of experience: functional, accessible, and emotional.

Since many consumers are flocking to retailers at this time of year, I decided to share some details of the 27 retailers in the 2011 TER. The chart below shows the overall TER (across all 143 companies) as well as where the retailers rank compared to each other in the functional, accessible, and emotional elements of experience.

As you can see, Amazon.comKohl’s and Costco are on top while RadioShackGap, and Toys ‘R’ Us are at the bottom of the overall TER. It’s also interesting to look at the difference across components of the TER. Here are the retailers with the largest inconsistency across their rankings:

  • OfficeMax: functional (#15) and emotional (#24)
  • eBay: functional (#17) and accessible (#24)
  • Best Buy: accessible (#18) and functional (#25)
  • BJs Wholesale: emotional (#3) and accessible (#9)
  • WalMartfunctional (#8) and accessible, emotional (#14)
  • Macy’saccessible (#9) and emotional (#15)

The bottom line: Hopefully, ’tis the season to be CX jolly!

Best Buy Delivers Best TV Buying Experience

As consumers flock to stores to scratch names off of their holiday gift lists, we decided to look at which retailer delivers the best TV buying experience. In a consumer survey we launched earlier this year, we asked a series of question to 788 consumers that had recently purchased a TV. We had enough responses from Walmart and Best Buy customers to examine those retailers directly.

It turns out that Best Buy customers tend to be more satisfied with their TVs and the service they receive in the stores. Walmart customers are less satisfied with the service, but are looking more for price than service when they make their purchase.

The bottom line: Go to Best Buy for service, Walmart for price

Report: Locating A Store On The Phone Is Not Always Easy

We just published a new Temkin Group report, Locating A Store On The Phone Is Not Always Easy.

The report examines the experience of using phone self-service applications to find a nearby store or branch.

Here’s the executive summary:

When traveling in an unfamiliar area, calling a store’s toll-free number can be a convenient way to locate the closest branch or store location. How user-friendly are these phone-based store locators? We used Temkin Group’s SLICE-B methodology to evaluate the experiences at five large banks (Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, USBank, and Wells Fargo) and five large retailers (Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart). Target was the only store to receive an “Excellent” overall rating, with 23 out of a possible 24 points. Citibank and Walgreens, on the other hand, scored in the “Poor” range. Stores lost points for offering voice-activated search without touch-tone support and for accepting only one criteria to search by, usually a zip code.

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Here’s one of the figures that shows the overall results:

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The bottom line: What’s it like when your customers call you?

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