Interview: Intrinsic Motivation At Media Markt

Do you LOVE Media Markt? At the end of 2013, Media Markt started a development program I LOVE Media Markt to improve the customer experience. Read along with Hans Duineveld, Managing Director at Media Markt Eindhoven, about LOVE, experience walls, and our connected future.

The starting point of I LOVE Media Markt is to put customer experience center stage. What does customer experience mean to you?

In retail, there’s a lot of talk about customer experience, but it’s often not more than an empty concept. You give your customer experience and your company an identity by appointing behaviors.

Our desired experience exists of four pillars:

  • Love for the customer and the product
  • Offering a complete solution
  • Showing a real interest
  • Being surprising

We put the customer center stage, in the store, but also when we make other important decisions.

In retail, there’s a lot of talk about customer experience, but it’s often not more than an empty concept.

Sounds like everybody would want to be a customer of yours! Could you give an example of how you put customers first, throughout the whole organization?

We want our customers to leave the store with a complete package. If you buy a laptop, we would love to sell you a case too. At one point, we carried decent, black laptop cases that cost us €10 in purchase, but which we could sell for €50.

From a profit point of view, we could have pushed our employees to sell this bag. But we realized that for a lot of people, this wouldn’t be what they wanted. People who buy a new, nice laptop, may not want to put it in a generic, black case.

So we asked our employees to get a sense of whether the customer wanted their laptop case to be special (maybe colorful, or a certain style). Only when they didn’t care, did we tell our employees to sell them the generic, black bag.

I LOVE Media Markt amongst other things gave birth to your ‘experience wall’. What is this and how does this contribute to collaboration within your teams?

The experience wall is a space in our hallway that our employees pass on their way to the canteen. On this wall, employees share memorable experiences they had with a customer. Each story on the experience wall is related to one of the four pillars of our desired experience.

Each month, the management team chooses a few stories, which they post in our Facebook group. Employees get to vote on these stories. The most popular story wins. This year, the prize is a trip to New York!

What a great idea, the experience wall. And I can imagine that everybody wants to go to New York! Are people also motivated if there’s no fancy prize to win?

Absolutely. Last year, the prize was much smaller and yet everybody participated. The best thing to notice is that new employees are also involved. It’s alive and it should be, otherwise it wouldn’t be sustainable. The motivation is intrinsic.

The best thing to notice is that new employees are also involved. It’s alive and it should be, otherwise it wouldn’t be sustainable. The motivation is intrinsic.

What’s the most touching story so far?

On our color TV department, we had an employee who was a young, and a bit shy. A couple of customers came up to him. The customers had difficulty communicating. I believe they had a speech disorder of some kind. Our employee grabbed two computers and initiated a chat session with the customers. After chatting for a while, the customers walked out of the store happy and with a TV!

The employee and the customer are really the center of attention in this story! Despite hard times in retail, Media Markt has plans to grow even more in the future. What can your employees contribute to this success? Where are you in five years?

In the future, everything will be connected. The world will be more comfortable, but also more complex. We want to make life easier for our customers. Unburden them. We want to make the switch from selling products to offering solutions.

A good example today is our collaboration with a nearby health care school. When we sell a piece of electronic equipment to an elder, they can follow a one day computer course at this school.

It’s more complex to explain and elderly person how to use an iPad than you might imagine! We often skip steps, because they are too obvious to us, we have little patience, and limited experience in teaching.

Together with this school, we make it possible for older people to live at home longer. These kinds of solutions are our future!

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