Does the future of retail customer service look increasingly like that of the airline industry? That’s the thought-provoking thesis airline industry veteran Jeff Katz puts forth.
The good old days of airline travel included a travel ticket that was all-inclusive—meals, luggage, seat choice; but eventually low prices became the ultimate lure for travelers. Today’s travelers seek out the lowest fares, and pay additional fees for those extras that they want.
Comparatively, brick-and-mortar stores are stuck in the past, offering an all-inclusive experience that’s not exactly desirable (waiting in lines, searching for sales clerks, dealing with messy dressing rooms). The only way brick-and-mortar retailers can keep from losing ground to the online retailers, who can monitor customers’ every move and offer them exactly what they want, is to switch the business model.
It’s not just about selling a product (because for that, consumers will always seek the lowest price) but about selling customized “packages” of services that customers care about—whether that’s a sales associate to help them in the dressing room, refreshments while you shop or exclusive offers available only in stores.