Coles: Using metrics to foster end-to-end customer thinking

Coles GM customer experience and technology highlights importance of the right metrics and ways of working to drive better CX outcomes

Shifting from product availability to perfect order metrics is just one of the ways Coles has improved its customer emphasis internally and as a consequence of rapid digitisation during the pandemic.

Speaking on a panel of senior leaders at today’s Adobe Experience Maker virtual event, Coles GM of customer experience and technology, Sujeet Rana, said realising the value of more customer-oriented metrics has been vital to connecting the dots between the ecommerce and physical fulfilment aspects of experiences with the grocery store giant.

Historically, a key metric used was availability of product. “While that’s a great metric, it focuses you on supply chain and not an end-to-end customer metric,” Rana said. “Now, we have shifted to a ‘perfect order metric’ looking at: Is the product there; did I receive at time I expected; and when I did get it, was the quality what I expected?

“When you make that shift, you see dramatic changes. We saw our perfect order rate triple in a year, led to direct doubling of our NPS.”  

Another aspect of realising end-to-end CX delivery has been adopting more agile ways of working across Coles’ ecommerce teams.

“The key there is cross-functional teams, with resources from operations to property and technology to solve customer problems end-to-end,” Rana continued. “We have also shifted from planning from a yearly process to something more aligned to a quarterly process.”

Supporting this imperative to be more end-to-end around customer experience is recognition of their changing behaviours and expectations. For Rana, the most interesting aspect over the last 18 months is how customers have expected experiences across channels and industry to play through into every other interaction they have.

“Customers are expecting experiences from technology products and social communities to follow through into store network. So we have focus on making payment more seamless, knowing what they are doing and what their preferences are to help them on that journey,” Rana said.

“We started personalising weekly specials based on what customers has purchased in the past; and we have shifted the Coles app experience to start to show more transactional aspects, which customers asked for.

“Another big piece that came from all the customer feedback is our big focus on sustainability. This is being driven by customer expectations of retailers. It was a key driver for why Coles got rid of print catalogue and went fully to digital, for example.”

For Rana, having a “razor sharp” focus on customer experience end-to-end, along with speed to market, are now priorities for his team going into 2022.

“The environment moves faster than ever before and it’s not about small or big, but fast beating slow,” he added.

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