Q&A with ASOS’ Chioma Anokuru: Customer Experience

Natasha Sholl By Natasha Sholl | 21 May 2019

How much of CX is about meeting KPIs and how much is just about meeting consumer expectations purely because that’s what they want? An expert spills all.

We speak to Chioma Anokuru, user journey expert and also Head of Digital Commerce at ASOS, about changing customer behaviour and the tactics needed to stay ahead in the current (and future) consumer landscape.

How should brands differentiate themselves when it comes to the customer experience? 

By the delighting customers. As competition increases it’s the small things that make the biggest difference. Those that go the extra mile and do things that won’t necessarily bring instant reward will stand out amongst the rest. My belief is that really good CX should be somewhat subconscious. Customers should leave your website feeling good about their experience without being able to pin point exactly why but knowing they’ll come back again.

How do you stay ahead of the competition?

By investing time and effort in truly understanding your customers, listening to them and delivering against their expectations. Understanding this will enable you to offer an experience that is tailored and optimal, something that will keep them coming back, tell others about and extract the most value from them.

What tools / technology are best for CX (taking into account different business types / sizes / categories / demographics)?

Personalised communication and user feedback tools are beneficial but I also believe improved backend capabilities can work wonders in enabling companies to improve their customer experiences. 

Behavioural analytics to not only understand the who and what but the why and how in user journeys and a tech stack that will allow experimentation without lengthy development time enables businesses to keep up with the consumer demands whilst keeping costs relatively low.

What challenges have you faced when it comes to CX and how did you overcome these? Did you ever have to change strategy / change direction when you weren’t getting the results you expected?

It’s a challenge accepting that not all changes will bring instant or tangible value and being satisfied with them just being the right thing to do for the customer. I’ve made mistakes in the past by changing a strategy as a result of not seeing or being able to attribute a KPI to what we were doing but then discovering later that although we couldn’t put a metric against it customers actually really liked it and were disappointed when we stopped doing it.

What are the major challenges for retailers when it comes to CX? Are they investing their time / energy in the right places?

Keeping up with consumer demand and expectation is a huge challenge for retailers. At the very least they have to match the level of experience offered by their competitors, however for the biggest rewards they need to offer something more than everyone else which is costly and time consuming. A personalised experience is now something consumers have come to expect – although I’d question how many can articulate what that actually is – so retailers are tasked with incorporating personalised elements into the user journey which is a massive undertaking for (from what I’ve seen) little incremental value.

With customer behaviour changing in response to an evolving e-commerce landscape, and consumer expectations getting higher and higher, how should brands future-proof their CX strategy? 

Test and learn what works and prioritise those that perform against the main objective. It’s easy to want to do everything all at once but – in my experience – that is the main reason many CX projects fail. There are so many tasks to tackle and approaches to take that it’s difficult to know where to start. Invest money in listening to customers, talking to them and analysing their behaviour. Having that level of insight should make it easier to prioritise what will have the biggest impact. 

What are the disruptors or trends we going to see that retailers should be aware of?

Social selling. What once was a great marketing tool for retailers could fast become their biggest competition.

What do customers want?

That’s impossible to answer because they want different things at different times, weeks, months…

The trick is to listen and talk to them to find out!

What are the biggest turn-offs for consumers when shopping online?

I know personally for me as a consumer I’m really put off by long sign-in and checkout processes. I care about security and privacy online but having to verify that I’m not a robot three times is excessive and likely to make me bounce. 

Generally I think it’s lack of transparency (hidden costs, product and production information) coupled with sticky shopping journeys (convoluted navigation, missing filters, long checkout processes). 

What are your top tips? What can retailers learn from the success of brands such as ASOS (or others)?

Put the customer at the forefront of everything you do. ASOS saw the value of being customer-centric very early on and as a result it has remained a part of the company’s purpose to this day.

The comments above are Chioma’s own expert opinion, and not those of the company she works for.