The consumer experience at gas stations from decades past are long gone — no more weekend drives or uniformed full-service gas station attendants. Gas stations compete based on prices and other paid service offerings, like a retail convenience store, lottery tickets, soft drinks, and doughnuts.
Many win customers based on proximity to a highway or other major roadway. In fact, many mid to large sized American towns feature intersections with two or more gas stations across the street from each other, each with the same gas price. So what motivates customers to select one gas station over another?
The answer is consumer experience. When given the choice between two gas stations with gasoline of similar quality and price, the customer will always head to the gas station they feel most comfortable at. This means quality customer service, clean, functioning gas pumps, a clean store area, and even product selection inside the store.
In this competitive environment, a good consumer experience management system can help gas stations to stay competitive and ahead of the curve by aiding them in evaluating and improving every aspect of their business. For gas stations, not only does this include customer service, it also includes store layout, product availability, marketing, staff management, and so on.
In addition, a consumer experience plan can help gas stations think of new ways to cater to their customer’s wants and needs – for example, establishing a customer loyalty program or a gourmet coffee offering. In addition, it can help gas station owners to identify their businesses’ unique selling points and discover new ways to help set their gas station apart from the competition. It also helps them identify what their competitors are doing successfully and what they are failing at. They can copy and adapt the good points, and discard the failure points and create their own hybrid of the best consumer experience points from each competitor. This can make the gas station the best of all the competition, which will help attract more customers.
Finally, the consumer experience management can also help gas station owners to evaluate all customer touch points and improve customer satisfaction. A solid consumer experience management plan can also help gas station owners improve their staff management and staff training programs, which in turn positively affects the level of customer service in their store. As staff knows how to deal with different customer situations, they are able to keep customers happy visit after visit.
Many gas station owners hire agencies that specialize in consumer experience management planning and mystery shopping and assessment. These agencies help them to identify areas of improvement and work with their clients to improve all customer touch points, identify new ways to innovate their business, and streamline their operations. With a strong consumer experience management plan, gas stations can gain that important edge over their competition.