All posts filed under: Customer experience

Brands as operating systems

In this post, Nigel Hollis explores a fundamental misalignment. Brand owners tend to view customer experiences in isolation, by channel, whereas customers of course view and grade their experiences cumulatively. Tom Asacker captures why customers think this way. A brand, he says, is “one, interdependent system of behavior”. The problem is that in too many organisations the “system” has many masters and each wants independent control of their domain. CMOs, who might be expected to have responsibility for the overall experience as of right, do not. That’s because large chunks of the interface with customers, and the factors that influence that interface, remain for the most part outside of their control. They do not fit neatly into the “normal” org chart definition of what constitutes marketing. And when multi-lateral ownership makes contact with a unilateral expectation, just as at Penn Station, the scene is set for disappointment. As a result, there is significant potential for the system to jeopardise itself at any time, at any weak point – through bad training, bad coding, bad quality, …

Out of the blue moments

As marketers, we’re taught to look for patterns. Research, we are told, will give us the insights we need to predict how whole swathes of our society will react. Brands are looking to predict how buyers will act or react so that they know what to expect. Consumers themselves of course operate under no such constraints. They happily accept their own behaviours as making sense to them. One of the great challenges we face as branders is appealing to the mercurial side of consumers. Getting to grips with the fact that they won’t always behave the way we think they should, that they will do the unexpected, the illogical, the unprecedented and the unresearchable – and that they are all the more exciting and interesting as people because of that. Across your business, across your channels – where could you promote/allow/celebrate  impulsive moments? How could you be a platform for what consumers themselves just feel like doing, and how can you improve loyalty and profitability by doing that? A simple way to start may be …

Customer service is worthless

We shouldn’t even think of “customer service” as being about something that is valuable to customers. The reasons are simple. We live in a service-focused age, and the people who buy from your brand know they’re customers. So “customer service” does not describe anything customers don’t expect and it certainly doesn’t envelope anything of particular value to them. Every brand is a service business at some level these days. In reality, customer service is the means to the real goal: sustained and profitable relationships forged between customers and a brand. Until you achieve that, you haven’t added any sense of worth for either party. You’ve just done what was expected. Success is not about achieving world-class customer service or carrier-level or benchmarks or any of the other abstract customer service qualitatives that are freely bandied about. Success pivots on whether your brand delivers experiences that your customers continue to be enchanted by. People don’t come back to a brand because they got good metrics. It’s sad then that some companies still think their job is …