The good, the bad and the ugly of APEX.

In the ever-increasingly competitive business world, retailers are faced with the need to maximise their customer engagement, retention and spending drive if they are to survive. This calls for businesses to focus on the customer emotional experience in order to attract and retain as many customers as possible. A widely ignored component of customer satisfaction, according to a study by Valitor, is the after payment emotional experience (APEX). But what exactly is it?

The Valitor ‘After Payment Emotional Experience’ (APEX). 

The after payment emotional experience is measured by the ability of the retailer to meet or surpass the expectations of the customer after a purchase has been made. The insights provided by APEX could help businesses to use the data they derive from payment systems to create content that engages the shoppers. This can increase their chances of returning and promoting the business to their friends and family. 

APEX is, however, a slippery ground where a misstep could result in the loss of a customer and consequently of profits. Managers should, therefore, take steps to avoid falling into some pitfalls of APEX. Below are some features of APEX that managers need to watch out for. 

The good… 

The good thing with APEX is that it begins with the prepayment experience. Research from the same report identified how retailers currently provide a customer experience that is deemed pleasant by 52% of customers up to the time when payment is made. This shows that emphasis placed on the prepayment experience elicits positive emotions, which greatly improve the chances of customer retention. 

Since the current world is greatly driven by data, managers should continue to search for innovative ways to make their prepayment and after payment customer experience exciting and engaging. 

The bad… 

Since one important component of APEX is marketing, businesses should pay attention to offering their customers personalised shopping experiences. This could be achieved by providing them with promotions and marketing communications that are relevant and timely. The difficult part of this, however, is that when not timed well, the customers may end up being annoyed or irritated, giving them a negative APEX. 

To reduce the chances of this happening, the managers should use their customer data, especially for the young generation, to offer them personalised marketing services. This reduces the chances of irrelevant offers and spamming which only antagonises and annoys them. 

The ugly… 

It is a longestablished fact that customers tend to avoid businesses with unpleasant staff. Staff in the organisation are intended to make both the prepayment and after payment experiences of the customers positive. Failure to have well-trained and motivated staff will lead to frustrations on the part of the customers which could reduce their chances of making future purchases. 

Businesses should ensure that their staff are well-trained and motivated to ensure they aid in the checkout process and in helping the customers around the premises. The utilisation of omni-channel payments could also ensure that the check-out procedure is smooth and efficient. Another solution could be the employment of a virtual assistant to act as a guide to the customers to improve the ease of finding products.