CX Breakfast – The growing expectations Gap in Ireland

Left to right- Jonathan Stanley CEO Homestore + More, Lisa Browne Head of marketing, Electric Ireland and Aidan Power Head of marketing, KBC

Meeting a customer’s expectations has become one of the biggest issues for businesses in Ireland and our speakers shared with us how they tackle this issue.

Michael Killeen, Founder and Chairman of The CX Company, opened the session by sharing that Expectations is the worst performing pillar in Ireland.img_4658 Ireland are about 2 and 2 ½ years behind the UK and US respectfully.
But in 2016, Ireland Scored 12.8% lower than the UK and 15.7% lower than the US in Expectations – suggesting that we are nearly 5 years behind them in this particular pillar.
The sectors that are performing the worst in managing expectations include Telecoms, Utilities and insurance, all sectors focussed on switching with little effort on retention. At the top of the pile we have Supermarkets Retail and restaurants, which focus heavily on CRM and loyalty programmes.
The top three are weekly and daily face to face interactions, whereas the bottom would be annual, over the phone or on screen grudge purchases.
On a positive note, our public sector is scoring on par with the UK and US for expectations – these include The Ambulance services, The Garda, the Passport office and the revenue office.
The Major issue for the Irish market is that consumer expectations are constantly on the rise and it is becoming an on-going arms race to keep up with them.
A recent Kinsey study revealed that 80% of brands believe they are delivering an excellent experience to their customers. But just 8% of customers believe they receive a good experience which is a shocking gap.

Michael finished off by covering the golden rules that we must follow to bridge this gap.
•    Set my expectations accurately
•    respond quicker than I expect
•    Make clear promises
•    Over deliver when you can’t meet a promise
•    Guide me through the process


Michael introduced our first speaker of the morning – Aidan Power, Director of Customer, Brand & Marketing at KBC Bank Ireland.  img_4667Aidan spoke about busting through barriers in banking with ‘extreme customer experience’. He gave us a brief background of where KBC has come from and how it has grown over the last four years, from people calling it ‘KFC’ to now being one of the main players in the financial sector. KBC’s brand promise of putting the customers at the heart of their business was, he said, a tough one to sell to the board. But it has stood strong and they haven’t looked back since.
KBC’s mantra of stop talking, acting and walking like a traditional bank would suggest this.
Aidan explained that, to deliver an ‘extreme customer experience’ you need to be customer centric.
“How do we do this?” KBC invest in the right technology and recruit the right people – looking outside of their industry. They were targeted in their approach and disrupted and challenged the norm.
KBC created a customer board, hired dedicated customer experience roles and put a strong focus on communication and awareness and now consider themselves to be centricity champions.
KBC have created a seamless integration between all channels by allowing their customer to decide how to interact with them. Be it online & mobile, a customer contact centre or a retail centre.
KBC are breaking free of the expectations set by Irish banks by offering a different experience. They have looked outside of their industry and learned from the champions in customer centricity.
What is next for KBC and extreme customer experience? Aidan explained that extreme CX is not a once off.  ‘The most extreme customer experience is simply to get it right consistently.
Aidan closed with the key leanings.
•    Look outside your sector for the best experiences
•    Think and act differently
•    Be the customer of your own experience
•    Challenge the rules and the norms
•    Be the pirate inside – build a challenger culture within.

Next up, Lisa Browne, Head of Marketing, Electric Ireland, spoke to us about preparing for a different future.img_4657She opened with a brief backround of Electric Ireland’s growth. From ESB’s nationwide Monopoly to having to change their approach in dealing with competitors and the ever evolving energy market driven by 4G energy. Lisa shared how Electric Ireland recruited a large team of nationwide customers to Test innovative new products and services. They use this strategy to walk in their customers shoes and use the insights gathered to deliver the best possible experience.

Our final speaker of the morning was Jonathan Stanley, CEO of Homestore + More.
Jonathan told us that indifference in the retail sector is a slow killer of businesses.
From the top down their philosophy of ‘Give customers a +1 shopping experience’ is followed religiously.
He told us that their bonus schemes aren’t based on sales or profit, things that are out of staff’s control, Homestore+More reward Customer Experience excellence.img_4677
The 4 foundations of HSM are to:
•    Keep product price and promotion exciting
•    Achieve a high standard look and feel across all stores
•    Give all customers a +1 shopping experience
•    Consistently follow management philosophy

He shared that if sales consultants treat customers like a friend or family member they will come back- simple as that
Jonathan said that satisfied customers are fickle in that they will likely purchase a product or service from a competitor without thinking. Convenience will trump preference for them.
A delighted customer is a customer who will come back and remain loyal.
A delighted customer is a satisfied customer +1
What is +1 service? It refers to human interactions, not price and value but a genuine smile and personal contact.
This is taught and trained to all staff and expected to be delivered at all times.

We would like to thank our three speakers for their brilliant insight into their business and we hope all that attended enjoyed the morning.


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