Stephanie Kimball

Recent Posts

When Only a #Selfie Stands Between You and Those New Shoes

Posted by Stephanie Kimball

Thu, Aug 13, 2015

mobile, shopping, mobile walletThe next time you opt to skip the lines at the mall and do some online shopping from your couch, you may still have to show your face. . .sort of. MasterCard is experimenting with a new program that will require you to hold up your phone and snap a selfie to confirm a purchase.  MasterCard will be piloting the new app with 500 customers who will pay for items simply by looking at their phones and blinking once to take a selfie. The blink is another feature that ensures security by preventing someone from simply showing the app a picture of your face in an attempt to make a purchase.

As we all know, passwords are easily forgotten or even stolen. So, MasterCard is capitalizing on technology like biometrics and fingerprints to help their customers be more secure and efficient. While security remains a top barrier to mobile wallet usage, concern about security is diminishing among non-users. In addition to snapping a selfie, the MasterCard app also gives users the option to use a fingerprint scan. Worried that your fingerprints and glamour shots will be spread across the web? MasterCard doesn't actually get a picture of your face or finger. All fingerprint scans create a code that stays on your phone, and the facial scan maps out your face, converts it to 0s and 1s, and securely transmits it to MasterCard.

According to our recent Consumer Pulse Report, The Mobile Wallet – Today and Tomorrow, 2015 marks the year when mobile payments will take off. Familiarity and usage have doubled since 2013—15% have used a mobile wallet in the past 6 months and an additional 22% are likely to adopt in the coming 6 months. Familiarity and comfort with online payments has translated into high awareness and satisfaction for a number of providers, and MasterCard wants a slice of that pie. Among mobile wallet users, over a quarter would switch merchants based on mobile payment capabilities.

mobile wallet, wearables

Clearly the mobile wallet revolution is well underway, but the winning providers are far from decided, and MasterCard is taking huge leaps to see how far they can take the technology available. If MasterCard can successfully test and rollout these new features and deliver a product that their customers are comfortable using, they can capture some of the mobile wallet share from other brands like Apple Pay and PayPal.

So what’s next? Ajay Bhalla, President of Enterprise Safety and Security at MasterCard, is also experimenting with voice recognition, so you would only need to speak to approve a purchase. And don’t forget about wearables! While still in the early stages of adoption, wearables have the potential to drive mobile wallet use—particularly at the point of sale—which is why MasterCard is working with a Canadian firm, Nymi, to develop technology that will approve transactions by recognizing your heartbeat.

Since technology is constantly adapting and evolving, the options for mobile payments are limitless. We've heard the drumbeat of the mobile wallet revolution for years, but will 2015 be the turning point? All signs point to yes.

Want to learn more about our recent Consumer Pulse Report, The Mobile Wallet – Today and Tomorrow? Watch our webinar!

Watch Here!

Stephanie is CMB’s Senior Marketing Manager. She owns a selfie stick and isn’t afraid to use it. Follow her on Twitter: @SKBalls

Topics: Technology, Financial Services Research, Mobile, Consumer Pulse, Retail

How Walgreens' New Focus on Customer Experience Won my Heart

Posted by Stephanie Kimball

Wed, Jun 12, 2013

WalgreensOver the last year I’d heard rumors of a new “super” Walgreens coming to Downtown Boston. To be honest, it sounded a little odd: a Walgreens with a sushi bar? A nail salon? But sure enough, one sunny day in May, a coworker announced the giant Walgreens had finally opened; of course I had to check it out. The moment I opened the doors I was like a kid on Christmas morning—this is not your mother’s Walgreens.

The aisles were brightly lit, and everything was clean and well organized, but what really blew my mind were all the high-end amenities: a juice bar, frozen yogurt bar, fresh sushi, and a pharmacy that looks more like a very nice health center than a regular old pharmacy area.

It’s certainly not how most of us perceive the Walgreens brand; but it’s all part of their efforts to transform the customer experience and they’re doing it in a number of really interesting ways:

An innovative approach to the community pharmacy and health services—Like most drugstores, Walgreens' traditional stores are split between retail and pharmacy/health care services. In the new store model, there is a health and wellness wing, including consultation rooms where pharmacists and other healthcare professionals come out from behind the counter to speak privately with customers. New patient-facing “portals” allow customers to schedule appointments, access information, and share health contacts—empowering customers in the way the old model never has.

Integrating the wellness focus throughout the store—Not surprisingly, Walgreens reimagined pharmacy is getting most of the press, and it’s well-deserved. But I was also struck by how the company highlighted healthier food and beauty options in each department. At first, doing your food shopping at a drugstore sounds both unappealing and unhealthy—all processed food and junk, but if others follow Walgreens lead, that might  change. While the juice and sushi bars might have seemed at best gimmicky, and at worst like a health hazard, the holistic focus on wellness and health means that what might have seemed unimaginable (drugstore sushi?) really starts to make sense. I swear the sashimi was actually good!

Getting mobile—Walgreens' new concept also does a great job leveraging mobile to transform and improve the customer experience across departments. For instance, you can scan your prescription bottle to get a refill. That might seem like a no-brainer in this day and age but how many of us are still calling our pharmacy’s automated hotline?

And hard as it may seem to believe, not everyone just posts all their pictures to Facebook, Walgreens' QuickPrint option lets customers print their pics right from the phone they took them on. It’s a smart move for a company that realizes the drugstore photo lab may not be with us forever.

As Walgreens President and Chief Executive Officer Gregory D. Wasson puts it: “We are taking a multi-pronged approach to delivering the Well Experience. We are combining leading-edge design with enhanced products and services, increased engagement with team members and customers, and an omni-channel approach that blends our brick-and-mortar stores with e-commerce and mobile commerce. We are deliberately blurring many retail channels to fit how consumers shop today.”

Bravo Mr. Wasson, bravo.

I’m looking forward to seeing what other benefits are in store for Walgreens customers. But in the meantime, I’ll have plenty to explore at the new, impeccably designed, Super Walgreens. And for all my fellow Bostonians, the next time you need to pick up a birthday card, wine, or health and beauty products, I suggest you make a trip Downtown.

Posted by Stephanie Kimball. Stephanie is CMB’s Marketing Operations Manager and loves any and all sports, the beach, traveling, marketing, good food, and is always down for a movie night. You can follow her on twitter @SKBalls

See how CMB is helping Royal Caribbean measure guest experience and improve customer satisfaction and retention. Click here.

Topics: Healthcare Research, Mobile, Customer Experience & Loyalty, Retail, Growth & Innovation

Infographic: The Future of the Full-Service Bank Branch

Posted by Stephanie Kimball

Wed, Jun 13, 2012

banking infographic

Infographic designed by Stephanie Kimball. Stephanie is CMB's Marketing Operations Manager. You can follow her on Twitter at @SKBalls

Topics: Infographic, Financial Services Research, Consumer Pulse

Not Your Average Customer Experience

Posted by Stephanie Kimball

Wed, Jul 20, 2011

Here at CMB we do quite a bit of work around customer satisfaction programs. In fact, we recently released a CMB Consumer Pulse on the topic. It’s one of my favorite topics because it’s so easy to relate to as a consumer and as a marketer I have a real appreciation for those “stand out” experiences.

U  2011 Blog My Blog Posts Not your Average Customer Experience Not Youre Average Customer Experience visualAfter a long weekend basking in the Nantucket sun, a few friends and I decided to take a break from the Cape Cod traffic and stop for some dinner at Not Your Average Joes. After a delicious meal and way too much bread and oil dip, we asked for the check. To our surprise, not only did we receive the check, but it was given to us on a miniature cutting board with an iPod touch attached to it! No, we didn’t win a prize for best customers, (although if such a prize existed, it definitely would have been ours) but what we did receive was a survey via iPod touch. Instantly, all of our attention was switched over from the bill to the survey (good job Joe’s!). As we huddled around the iPod touch and went through the ten question survey together, it was amazing how much we were all enjoying the experience, dare I say even having fun with it. We are all used to seeing surveys in our daily life, but for some reason seeing one so conveniently displayed to us on an iPod touch-embellished cutting board was somehow more exciting.

Think of how many times you receive a survey at the bottom of a receipt, and if you’re like me, more times than not that receipt never makes it out of my pocket or purse. This survey experience was so different. It got me thinking how having a great customer experience from beginning to end is so important.  Not only did we have a great meal, but we finished the meal having a positive interaction with the brand while completing a survey…crazy right?! 

Not Your Average Joe's rolled this Survey on the Spot system out to all of its stores in January 2011 and since then, in the words of their CEO “it has changed the way we do business”. In an interview with Stephen Silverstein, CEO of Not Your Average Joe's, he mentioned their success:  "We're probably getting about 400 surveys per week per store on this system,” and "About a third of the people taking the survey join the e-mail club, the surveys have helped us be more aware of every single table, in every single restaurant”.

With all the technology available today,it is refreshing to see a restaurant that is utilizing it in new creative ways and, in turn, helping their brand look more appealing. I left thinking that Not Your Average Joe’s was a smart, savvy, cutting edge restaurant that I wanted to spread the word about. And what’s better than some good ol' word of mouth? Not Your Average Joe’s has embraced technology and gained a few more customers along the way…including me!


M  yy  Sales and Marketing   Marketing Team Use Web site Images Customer Satisfaction smallOur Consumer Pulse study: Customer Satisfaction Programs: The opportunity to engage, interact and improve takes a closer look at Download here.

Posted by Stephanie Kimball. Stephanie is CMB’s Marketing Operations Manager and loves any and all sports, the beach, traveling, marketing, being challenged, good food, nightlife, and Saturday afternoon naps. You can follow her on twitter @SKBalls

Topics: Technology Solutions, Consumer Pulse, Customer Experience & Loyalty