Sam’s Club has been using the Medallia Experience Cloud solution since earlier this year in its more than 650 U.S.-based wholesale clubs to allow club associates access to member feedback to help improve shopper experiences, according to a Medallia press release.
Medallia's software underpins Member Experience Voices (MxVoices), a program Sam's Club launched in January 2017 in order to create a two-way dialogue with shoppers and enable associates to better leverage timely member feedback and insights.
"Associates in every location have the information they need at their fingertips, 24/7, in an easy-to-use app. That empowers them to take action to solve member problems, and we're seeing member satisfaction scores rise as a result," Tracey Brown, Sam's Club's chief experience officer, said in a statement.
News of this relationship comes about 15 months after Sam's Club tapped into the Salesforce Sales Cloud platform in an effort to overhaul many of its B2B membership functions, essentially bringing paper-based tasks into the 21st Century.
The thinking there was that by giving sales folks quick and easy access to useful customer data in the cloud, they could better anticipate and address the needs of business customers. In the process, they could use time they otherwise would have spent pushing paper to focus on more direct sales efforts.
The decision to pair up with Medallia Experience Cloud seems to be in a similar vein: give club associates quick and easy access to data that they can use to help customers. According to a Medallia spokeswoman, Sam's Club previously used receipt-based surveys for customer feedback, which means it probably took a long time to get the feedback in the first place, and longer still to analyze it and get it into the hands and minds of store associates in the form of actionable insights.
Also, Brown told Retail Dive via e-mail that the company looked at a handful of possible options for streamlining this process. "We went through a very detailed selection process including the Top 3 leaders of the market, which were really strong and offered each unique differentiating points, but we opted by Medallia for speed and technology," Brown said. "We started via a pilot and once we finished the test, we defined a very aggressive roll-out plan, which allowed to go company-wide in February of 2017."
Retailers are trying to figure out how to continue profiting from physical stores — and a big part of the equation is the cost of in-store staff. Despite the cost, though, in-store staff provide a personalized experience that is hard to match online, which is part of the reason we see pure-play e-commerce retailers wanting to invest in brick-and-mortar locations. Sam's Club is trying to make the best of a costly resource by equipping its store associates with cloud technology tools, in order to make their roles more efficient.
"We’ve armed our club leaders with the best tools so they automatically receive member feedback on their phones and tablets," Brown said. "This empowers them to take care of our members real time."
It's natural to wonder with the Salesforce and Medallia systems in place if Sam's Club could now integrate them or have them cross-pollinate in some way for greater leverage. Brown said for now they serve different purposes, though added, "but, we will evaluate in the future the benefit of integrating them or not.”