The latest news in the world of customer experience and customer loyalty.

Starbucks Enhancing Customer Experience by Getting Names Right
For anyone who has ever ordered from a Starbucks and had their name butchered by the barista—and that’s pretty much everyone not named Bob or Sue—the coffee giant is working on a solution. It recently launched a voice recognition ordering system in conjunction with Samsung’s voice assistant device, Bixby. Patrons can place an order as if talking directly with a barista and pay digitally before they even get to the store, offering them the sweet option of bypassing the lengthy lines and simply heading straight to the end of the counter. That’s the good news. The bad news is, according to an article in Chain Store Age, it’s only available right now in South Korea. So, at least for a while, be prepared to answer to Stem if your name is Steve, or Missle if your name is Michelle.
 
It’s a rough day to be…
Sears, Kmart and Delta. The three corporate giants are the latest in the growing list of businesses to have their credit card data breached. On the damage scale, these were relatively minor, with Sears/Kmart saying it involved fewer than 100,000 customers, and Delta reporting that it was a “small number.” Still, they join Panera Bread, which revealed a breach on Monday involving anywhere between 10,000 people (its report) and 37 million (its security company’s report). On Sunday, it was Saks Fifth Avenue’s turn to announce a 5 million user breach, and just before that Under Armour had its 150 million MyFitnessPal users’ data breached. Let’s not forget about Orbitz, which had 880,000 customers’ data breached. Sigh. It’s been quite a month.
 
Mall of America Utilizing Chatbots to Enhance Customer Experience
Unless you’re a teenager, going to a mall is stressful. And going to the Mall of America—the largest shopping mall in the country with 520 stores and restaurants as well as an indoor theme park—is like going to a billion malls at the same time. Fortunately, officials at the Minnesota-based MOA are well aware of how insane it can be, especially during the holidays. As a result, the brand (and it is its own brand) is utilizing chatbot technology to drive what it is calling a more rewarding—and likely calmer—customer experience. The AI chatbots are on its website, app, Facebook page and Amazon Alexa, and allow customers to do things like build itineraries. According to an article in Retail Customer Experience, the mall believes customer service and customer experience go hand in hand. The chatbot feature pairs very closely with our digital guest service program which we call our Enhanced Service Portal. Through that program, we have team members that are answering guests in real time.”

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