It’s become harder to differentiate your business from others. Customers are tired of hearing businesses mouth off about how wonderful they are. Consumers have reached a tolerance level where they now demand that businesses stop over promising and start over delivering.
We will show you how to grow large sales teams made up of your own delighted customers. If your customer has an experience with your business that surprises and delights, they will immediately become loyal ambassadors who will happily sell on your behalf.
Dialogue set up the CX Academy to deliver insights and practical tips to help owners and managers sharpen their CX excellence. We have gathered re-markable stories from local and international CX champions that clarify what CX excellence and complete disasters look like.
We’ve packed this all into a concentrated 3 ½ hour evening session. We will discuss how SMEs can differentiate their business without additional cost by locking in your their best customers. Find out how their business compares with Irish and global CX champions. We discuss how to implement organisational change so staff members welcome a new CX culture. And most importantly, we share examples of how to persuade current customers to amplify their message amongst friends, family and colleagues
The Masterclass is taking place in the National Concert hall on June 15th 2017.
If you or anyone you know could benefit from the CX Masterclass, we would appreciate it if you would pass this on to them. It’s interactive, full of re-markable stories and tips to activate in their business the next day.
Visa have been given exclusivity for payment during the Olympics in Rio at official venues. They’re using this opportunity to introduce their newest payment method ‘The Payment Ring’ by giving one to each athlete to use during their stay. They simply need to wave their hand over a wireless card reader and it will make the transaction.
If this receives a positive reception, the Smart ring idea should definitely catch on.
The Visa payment ring could be the game changer as a new quick payment method, allowing customers to make purchases without even taking out their wallet.
Removing unnecessary obstacles to enable the customer to achieve their objectives quickly and easily has been proven to increase loyalty. Time & Effort must form a crucial part of any brands CX strategy, as focus on this key pillar has been proven to increase customer loyalty.
Empathy is about responding deeply to each customer’s immediate circumstances. Freestyle Libre have shown this by changing the way diabetics check their glucose levels. The current daily routine involves taking a blood reading at set times during the day. With this new piece of tech, diabetics can now get on demand glucose readings and view trends in their blood levels.
Freestyle Libre are saving parents a large struggle by making blood level reads simple for their kids.
All that is required is a single pin prick attached to a reader on the users arm once every 14 days, and they will have on demand access to their glucose levels.
This product is definitely made by diabetics, for diabetics as it takes a new empathetic approach to a daily routine in the life of someone with this disease.
When businesses speak about building ‘brand loyalty’ and ‘brand relationships’, it is empathy that remains a key factor to making these objectives achievable.
Boots introduced a new app called the ‘Sales Assist’ which is the first of its kind in the retail sector. Its sole purpose is to make their customers purchasing as easy as possible. The app gives customers access to its 2,500+ stores inventories, allowing them to make recommendations and check product availability. And if what they want isn’t currently available, they can order it and pick it up at their nearest boots retailer. One of the apps key features is its ability to learn about its user through their purchase and viewing history. With the data, the app can personalise all recommendations and offers to the user’s preferences.
Boots’ app makes it easier for customers to get hold of the products they need, so this is another example of ‘Time & Effort’ Excellence. It also offers very relevant product recommendations depending on customers’ interest so that’s another key pillar; ‘Personalisation’ addressed. Boots featured in the top 10 of Ireland’s 2015 CX table and are showing no signs of slowing down their sector topping CX.
Zara are looking to change the checkout process in the retail world. Will it be a success or a failure?
On the one hand, introducing a self-checkout system in their stores allows their staff to focus on more important things like customer facing jobs and stock taking. But on the other, it takes the friendly face out of making a purchase and could be a negative factor in shop choice for the non tech savvy, or for someone who would rather a human make their transaction for them.
It’s no secret that there is an issue with line times at Zara shops. This could be due to their laid back staff or their lack of tills. Zara are leading the curve to solve this issue and it shouldn’t be long before we see other retail brands follow suit.
It’s up for debate on how self-service in the retail space will be viewed, but there is no argument to the time and effort benefits for both Zara and its customers. Lines will move faster from lack of human error and customer focus on shop floors will rightly become priority.
A few weeks ago we talked about Chick fill A’s ‘Phone Coops‘. Well, KFC in India have taken a different approach to phones by giving their customers a portable charger. The ‘Watt A Box’ has the power to charge two phones to full and doesn’t cost any extra to the meal deals. If the idea catches on we can definitely see it spreading to chain’s across the world just like it did with the phone coops.
The ‘Watt A Box’ is a great amplifier for KFC and because it can be taken out of the box and recharged for personal use and means that customers will be using it even after they leave the building. KFC have stepped into their customers shoes with this, understanding that mobile phones are an important part of their customer’s lives. The ‘Watt A Box’ isn’t just a nice addition to a value meal but something that can allow customers to take their time and enjoy their meal without panicking about a low battery.
Empathy is the art of letting the customer know that you genuinely understand what it is like to be in their shoes. Contours really demonstrated their understanding of this when they designed an adult sized buggy for one of their most popular selling models.
This allowed parent’s to actually experience what it’s like to be pushed around in a buggy from their child’s perspective. This isn’t just a fun idea for a viral video, but is actually an empathetic solution to a purchasing decision. Normally the factors involved in buying a buggy would revolve around ease of use for the parent, i.e. maneuverability, storage and folding. Now they can put their child’s comfort first.
Over the past few years Apple noticed their sales falling. This is due to strong competition and because people are holding onto their gadgets longer than before. With this in mind, Apple are designing their new stores to keep customers coming back. Each room is designed to be a different environment, aimed to feel like a town square. It is a place for customers to enjoy their Apple products and hopefully convince them to stick with Apple when the time eventually does come to upgrade. As these stores aren’t exclusive to Apple users, they should convince people who are on the fence about switching over to make the decision. This is a great example of how to keep customers loyal by delighting them with an experience they’re not expecting. Apple as always, are disrupting the market. Expect others to follow.
Exceeding expectations is key to your customer satisfaction. Zappos are masters in setting expectations and then exceeding them.
Zappos wanted their customers to get creative with their shoe boxes. Using fun instructions and illustrations it allows customers to utilise every square inch of these boxes. They can be used to make a smartphone holder, a funky 3-D llama or a Geo Ball planter to name a few. The idea is to eventually inspire customers to literally ‘think outside the box’ and go beyond this funky box and into aspirational territory.
Zappos scored number 1 in the US for Expectations in the 2016 US CXi Report. When purchasing a pair of shoes the box is usually thrown in the bin or stored away under a bed. With this, the experience goes beyond the purchase and challenges the customer to do something creative and engaging.
Building a relationship with customers can be a very difficult challenge in the luxury space. Especially when your product can cost a customer over €250,000! That is why first impressions mean a lot to Aston Martin. Most customers will only ever buy one vehicle so they make sure to give them the “full service experience”. Aston buyers are given access to the CEO’s personal number and given the opportunity to see the full process of their cars assembly, meeting everyone in charge along the way. Buyers are also invited to one of Aston’s many event’s where fans and owners are taken to unique spot’s around the world to drive. One experience involves driving new DB models on a frozen lake in New Zealand with a professional driver in the passenger seat! Simon Sproule, Aston’s CMO said about the ice event “that’s the whole point of luxury, It’s about those special experiences – giving you those memories, giving you those experiences.”
The Force was certainly with the children of Scoil an Fheirtéaraigh in west Kerry when a special visitor from a galaxy far, far away called for a visit. After two of the pupils found out that the movie was being shot close by, they designed a book and a Star Wars pottery sign and sent it on to the crew. This obviously caught their attention because Chewbacca himself made an appearance at the school a few days later. The kids greeted him with a tin whistle rendition of the Star War’s theme and even attempted to teach him a few words in Irish. Resource teacher Míchéal Ó Cinnéide said “Disney Lucasfilm wanted to do something nice for the community because everyone had been so helpful and cooperative and they wanted to give something back”. This was done outside of their movie PR and done solely to amaze the 65 pupils of Scoil an Fheirtéaraigh. Disney Parks who scored second in the 2016 US CXi Report are known for their magical experiences and this shows that they are willing to continue to give those experiences outside of their walls.
There can’t be many ways to convince someone that a crying baby on their flight can be a good thing, right? Well Jet blue may have found a way. 4 babies, plenty of angry glances, what to do? Make each baby a potential 25% off everyone’s next flight. So when the tears inevitably do come, instead of rolled eyes, they can be greeted with smiles and applause. This is a brilliant resolution to an unavoidable hindrance for passengers. And shows great empathy towards the dreading mothers, who are stresses about being in a small space surrounded by angry people.
William Moore, a lifelong Manchester United fan was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. He made it his dying wish to see his team one last time in their upcoming FA Cup final. Manchester’s local newspaper featured him in one of their articles and within a couple of days his dream came true. One of United’s injured first team players; Luke Shaw read about this and jumped on the offer to get William to Wembley for the final.
It is very refreshing to see a superpower brand like Manchester United take interest in an individual fan like this. Even though they don’t have to, they are willing to exceed expectations to help out a fans request.
Chick-Fil-A branch owner, Brad Williams was fed up, seeing friends and families alike come into his restaurant and, instead of making conversation, sit in silence glued to their phones.
He came up with an idea to put customer’s phones into a box, (‘Phone Coop’) on their table and if they go the entire meal without going for it, they all receive a free ice-cream. The idea was an instant hit. He found that groups who failed the challenge even returned just to see if they could actually do it.
Brad had no intention of his idea spreading like it did, and didn’t invest a penny in publicising it. Yet, over 350 Chick-Fil-A restaurants have now taken on the ‘Phone Coop challenge’. According to KPMG Nunwood’s ‘Customer Experience Excellence Center 2016 US analysis’, US leaders realise that every experience is the sum of several smaller experiences and it is the attention to detail within each micro experience that makes a competitive difference. Chick-Fil-A describes this as ‘second mile service’, the tiny things that add up to a great experience when you put them all together.
On one of the first sunny days of summer, Danielle Meagher walked up to the one and only Teddies Ice-Cream and asked for a 99 cone. She didn’t have the €2.50 though, and asked if the shopkeeper could just put it on her card. But instead of charging, he handed her a 99 with 2 flakes in it and said “it’s a pressie, because the first 99 of the summer season is the best!” The experience made her so happy that she had to share it on Facebook and the post received 1.5k likes! Such a nice way to kick off summer for their customer by exceeding Danielle’s expectations and giving her a reason to share her experience.
The Mansfields, a family that consists of multiple Deaf family members, recently visited Disney Parks. Their youngest daughter, who doesn’t expect anyone she meets to know sign gets the nicest surprise when she realizes that Tinkerbell and Mini Mouse are able to.
“Walt Disney viewed his theme parks almost as ‘factories’ that produced delight and entertainment. His belief was that the backbone of quality service was built on designing perfect processes and then repeating them at scale. Disney Parks has seemingly held true to these beliefs with the close attention to detail in constantly improving processes. It’s safe to say that they always sweat the small stuff”. -KPMG Nunwood
The 1916 celebrations have received more stick then credit over the past number of weeks. I personally had a number of great experiences from a Saturday stroll through Stephens Green among many fine actors who brought to life, events of the rising as they unfolded, in utter confusion. The RTE centenary extravaganza in the Board Gas theater was a perfect example of under promising and over delivering, something we don’t do too well in Ireland. That said, I also had my first ever ‘Remarkable’ Dublin experience during the week and I want to share it with you in an unbiased way.
For those of you who missed school on the week they covered the 1916 raising, the rising walking tour is unbeatable. Check out http://www.1916rising.com/. Don’t just check it out, book it! It is absolutely unique, remarkable and will sell out for the summer. It is also undeniable proof that world class story telling can make walking outside on a pissing wet day enjoyable!
Lorcan Collins and his partner, Conor Kostick taught me more in our two hour jaunt then I learned in 16 years of school. He is the total package. Think Ted.com meets National Geographic meets Daragh OBriain. We met in the International bar, thankfully too early for a scoop. During his intro, Lorcan very cleverly takes the time to get to know his audience in a way that lifts the tour. His empathy is world class and he uses what he learns in that first 10 minutes throughout the tour with welcome wit and light hearted jabs. He brilliantly engages both young and old, local and tourist, republican and loyalist, socialist and capitalist.
The tour consists of approx. 20 members for up to two hours. Its fast paced but Lorcan finds a way to chat with each member of his group as we walked from one great story to another.
I talk about CX quite a bit and one question I always ask is who in Ireland has given you an amazing Customer Experience. This questions always leads to discussion on lousy experience rather than great. However, in the last number of weeks, four different people mentioned the 1916 rising walk. And I agree and am very happy to recommend it to anyone seeking a great day out in Dublin town, to give it a shot. The worst that could happen? You might make some new friends for life.
If you would like to explore how your company can deliver CX excellence e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.
Brands now have the ability to remind us of their existence through phone notifications. When a recent mother of two twins received one of these from Hailo she sent them a unique letter explaining her absence. Hailo loved this so much that they topped up her account and offered a €100 voucher to her favourite Dublin restaurant, with a free taxi service of course! Going the extra mile for your customers is key to retention and your actions will differentiate you from your competitors.
One of the biggest challenges in retail has been making the shopping experience faster and easier for the customer. Some companies, like Ikea are introducing a virtual shopping experience to their website while others are looking to upgrade their in-store experience. Ralph Lauren are testing ‘connected fitting rooms’ that merge digital technology with in-store retail by using ‘Smart Mirrors’. These mirrors can show clothing stock with sizes and colours and can even communicate with staff, letting them know if a customer needs assistance. Using these mirrors allows the fitting process to run very smoothly for customers which shows that Ralph Lauren have their customers Time and Effort in mind.
It’s not every day you hear about a plane making a U-turn back to the terminal from the runway. Etihad Airways did just that for two of their customers after they found out that their grandson was in intensive care. The couple had their luggage retrieved from the hold, and the quick-thinking Etihad staff even had their car waiting to expedite their journey to the hospital. This amazing act of kindness shows that Etihad Airways view their customers as more than just passengers, and are willing to go above and beyond to show that. What an amazing showing of Empathy!
Humour in Customer Service can be a very risky strategy, but customers appreciate the effort when used well.
Jet Blue and Amazon have found a great balance between professional service and simple ‘human response’ when communicating to customers about issues. A bit of empathy can go a long way in customer service and can make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.
Dialogue have created thousands of amplifiers for our clients over the years and nothing beats a good old fashioned umbrella.
When a New Yorker, stuck in the middle of a rainstorm with a 15 minute walk ahead of him was given a $130 umbrella for nothing, what did he do? He only went and told his thousands of followers on social media about it!
Invest in customer amplifiers so it’s easier for them to sell on your behalf.
Each day, businesses go out of their way to give their customers a great experience and Dialogue want to give recognition to those doing it brilliantly.
Turning a bad experience into a remarkable one
How City Bin differentiate themselves in a crowded market
The City Bin Co. have become more than just a waste management company in recent years, with the stated mission of being,“the global service leader” in their industry and the stated purpose, “to provide excellent Customer Experiences.” City Bin have made it their mission to ‘wow’ their customers by going the extra mile. To drive its strong customer satisfaction and loyalty, City Bin have Introduced what they call “game changers,” by using customer insights to define and offer services that differentiate them in the market. And when you are in a market, crowded with clones of each other, the only thing that separates you from the others, is the experiences you give your customers.
It may sound unsettling that brands could be listening in on your private conversations, but as technology advances and brands are able to utilize the information they are mining, companies like Home Depot in the USA won’t just be sending you an email about the products they know you want; they will actually be able to put what you are looking for on hold and have it delivered to you with your blessing. Embracing these changes can save consumers a huge amount of time and effort.
When companies do something out of the ordinary to apologise it really stands out. If Costco sent you an apology for an issue you didn’t even know about how would you react? You would go out of your way to tell the people you know about how your expectation was blown out of the water. It’s acts like these that turn customers into your very own brand ambassadors.
The most important pillar for any business serious about CX
Personalisation is one of the most important pillars any business will need to master if they want to deliver CX excellence. The art of understanding the customer, and the ability to tailor your service around their needs, emotions and preferences, is the key to success. Our partners, KPMG Nunwood have given several examples of best in class personalisation from the UK, including banks and the current league leaders from the 2015 UK Table: ‘Lush’
In CEXi’s 2015 Irish Customer Experience report, supermarkets made up the best overall performing sector for Customer Experience (CX) in Ireland. But they still have a way to go if they want to repair the charred relationship they have with the Irish consumer due to pricing scandals and supplier bullying. Unless supermarkets can build trust, brand loyalty will be impossible.
In the USA, the way employees demonstrate Empathy with customers is central to their growth strategy. Staff members are encouraged to engage face-to-face with customers, rather than being chained in storage managing cost efficiency processes or admin tasks. Integrity is also a major positive force in the USA. Unlike major UK and Ireland retailers, where trust is an issue, the USA leaders go out of their way to show they are acting in the customers best interests at all times. Publix Supermarkets, for instance, describe their mission as “making shopping a pleasure”. For many consumers in Ireland it is still viewed as a chore.
Supermarkets should no longer be defined by their price, range or quality. The experience they give their customer should be one of the defining factors in people’s choices.
Top 5 Supermarkets In Ireland As Stated In The 2015 CEXi Report
Supermarket employees need to be given more freedom when it comes to resolving customer problems. If employees are required to contact a supervisor each time there is a difficult complaint, the time wasted in contacting one can create hostility. If an employee is empowered in resolution then the process will flow much smoother.
HR need to make hiring decisions based on a person’s desire to go out of their way to make a customer’s experience pleasurable and not just whats on their CV. Training programmes should finish with trainees having to go out of their way to help a real customer. HR should also be involved in all CX execution programmes and make it their business to help employees understand them.
Supermarkets need to start leveraging technology to give amazing experiences. An updated store stock list and an in-store stock location mobile app could save time and effort for people in a rush. King Supers have Child friendly shopping trolleys to make the experience more enjoyable for kids and easier/ less stressful for parents. For some, their weekly shop is as much a social experience as it is a weekly routine. If supermarket’s were able to create an experience outside of shopping, then people would feel more comfortable going there for a quick get together.
Loyalty programmes should be re-structured to focus longevity, not purchasing.
The Irish Customer appreciates the human touch and a personalised recognition. Irish Credit Unions are the champions of doing this and have created a way to overcome the ‘big business’ mentality by making sure their staff recognise and acknowledge their regular customers. Supermarkets can do this by acting small.
World leaders In Grocery Retail
Waitrose Tops The Supermarket Sector In The UK For CX
Despite the challenges faced by the supermarket sector in the UK, Waitrose not only retains its position in the top 10 for Customer Experience Excellence, but continues to progress up the ranks as the leading grocery retailer.
The rise of the discount chains and increased focus on value has affected the supermarket sector in the UK, but Waitrose’s ongoing experience success is in line with its sales performance which continues to outperform the industry.
As with its sister company, John Lewis, its employee-owned partnership model remains at the heart of the customer experience, and explains why the brand continues to stand out amongst its competitors for the pillars of Empathy and Integrity. With employees, known as ‘partners’, all having a say in company decisions and all entitled to bonuses based on the company’s financial performance, they have a vested interest in delivering an outstanding customer experience. As Waitrose’s advertising highlights: “when you own something, you care a little more” and it’s clear that Waitrose partners have a work ethic that means they will happily go the extra mile for their customers; from making the effort to locate an item that’s unavailable to offering nibbles while customers wait when queues are long. As such, Waitrose is well placed to avoid the emerging fight among other grocery retailers.
Publix Top All Grocery Retail Brands In The US For Time & Effort
As the leading grocery retail brand in the 2015 US CEE study, family run Publix is also the largest employee-owned company and one of the most profitable food businesses in America.
With the brand promise ‘where shopping is a pleasure’, it’s no surprise that Publix is the leading brand in the Pillar of Time and Effort. Renowned for keeping the personal touch going in a world which is becoming increasingly remote and fast paced, Publix strives to deliver experiences that are enjoyable. Take the example of Gage Boucher, an employee at Publix in Ormond Beach, Florida, who became famous on twitter when he stopped to help an elderly shopper tie his shoelaces. A simple act of kindness which impressed the world of social media, yet it is ingrained in the everyday process of Publix employees.
How do Publix achieve this across all stores? Employee ownership is the key. Like Waitrose in the UK, Publix culture is such that they believe if they take care of associates (all staff who work over 1,000 hours get shares in the business after a year of employment), they in turn will take care of the customers. A spokesperson for Publix said: “associate ownership is our secret sauce. Our associates understand that their success is tied to the success of our company and therefore, we must excel at providing legendary service to our customers.” All employees are the champion of customer experience at Publix.
As Publix’s president, Randal T. Jones, states “we believe that there are three ways to differentiate: service, quality and price. You’ve got to be good at two of them, and the best at one. We make service our number one, then quality and then price”. In a sector where price wars often dominate, this proves that the focus shouldn’t always be on low prices.
Dialogue are Europe’s first Customer Experience design agency and are founders of CEXi.org which launched Ireland’s first CX league table in Sept 2015 – Click Here To View. Dialogue recognises that most clients are buried under customer insight. We take these insights and turn them into great Customer Experience actions.
Dialogue will design and deliver remarkable CX that will differentiate your brand and get your customers to sell on your behalf. See www.dialogue.ie for more info.