NBC Releases 6 Web Customer Experience Best Practices

For many people, “The Peacock” or NBC’s brand carries powerful associations and expectations.

Even though my area of responsibility is on-line and off-line retail sales, we are mindful of what customers experience when they “visit” us physically or virtually.

In an effort to identify strategies for significantly improving our customer’s web and e-marketing experience, we recently asked ERDM to conduct Voice of Customer Relationship Research. Following are some important findings.

I. Summary of Findings

A. Customer Expectations of the On-Line NBC Brand Experience Were Remarkably High

Consumers were stimulated to visit the NBCU on-line store by the shows and formed very definite expectations of the experience they expected on-line.

This was expressed as the:

If this “connection” and experience did not occur, people felt a meaningful sense of disappointment regarding their unmet expectations of the NBC brand.

Tip 1: Do not underestimate the brand expectations and “connection” people want to experience on your site.
  • People aren’t just coming to buy!
  • While people were clearly going to the NBCU online store to browse and shop, per the above this needed to be much more than just a transactional experience. If this didn’t occur, people abandoned.

B. Consumers Are Increasingly Web Savvy and Will Hold Your Site to a High Standard

We were surprised by how web savvy our customers are. They are sophisticated on-line shoppers and brought high expectations regarding the performance of our site based on their best-in-class on-line experiences with other sites.

Tip 2: Your customers are increasingly sophisticated on-line shoppers. They will not be shy about holding you accountable to meet their perceptions of best-in-class on-line performance per their other favorite sites.

C. Ease of Navigation, Personalization and Visual Appeal are Expected

Given the sophistication of many on-line shoppers, they simply expect the following:
Tip 3: Consumers will be quick to abandon your site in favor of others if the following are not up to their standards:
  • Ease of navigation, as customers define it.
  • Relevant and useful levels of personalization.
  • Visually appealing site which is consistent with your brand.
  • Stay away from drab colors, i.e. “storm cloud gray” and “seas of white”.

D. Product Mix Must Reflect a Broad Customer Base

Customers resent it if products are too narrowly focused on a particular segment, be it age, gender or size.

Tip 4: Do not risk alienating a segment of your customer base because your product offerings are perceived as too narrow or exclusionary.
  • Sizes only for “petites”.
  • Products only for the young.

E. On-Going Communications are an Integral Part of The On-Line Experience

Customers expect relevant on-going communications after they have purchased on-line. These communications are viewed as helpful reminders / triggers to visit the site. They are also viewed as the company “caring” about the relationship.

Tip 5: As long as you present a compelling value proposition, customers are willing to opt-in and self-profile their preferences so the company can use this information to drive relevant and increasingly targeted on-going communications.


F. Product Fulfillment is an Integral Part of the On-Line Experience

Customers expect the on-line experience to include their receipt of the product.

A plain envelope or box with product and an invoice thrown in is a turn-off!

Tip 6: Think of the fulfillment process as a relationship building and sales opportunity:
  • Include a personalized thank-you letter.
  • For valued customers, include an occasional surprise gift of a discount coupon as a way of saying “we appreciate you.”
  • Think carefully about the visual impact and appeal of the box or envelope.
  • Per proven direct response practices, always include a product catalog.

These are just a few of the many learnings we generated from the Voice of Customer Research.

We are re-evaluating every aspect of our web site and e-marketing customer experience per these findings.

I urge you to gain a similar in-depth understanding of your customer’s expectations for a high quality web and emarketing experience. The pay-off from these insights will be significant.

Good luck!


"We were able to boost average order size, improve our stickiness factor, and ultimately create more returning customers per Ernan's Voice of Customer-based recommendations."

Judith Dutch

Judith Dutch
Vice President, NBC Universal,
Retail Operations & Consumer Marketing

Judith oversees the NBC Experience Store in Rockefeller Plaza, the Online store, and all NBC Studio Tours. She has been with NBC since 1994, first as a Management Associate, gaining experience in Marketing, Station Management, and Operations, promoted to NBC’s Six Sigma Quality Division as a Black Belt, and then promoted to NBC’s Network Research Division where she held positions including Manager of Audience Research and Director of Sales and Media Planning Research.