Tag Archives: citizen m

There’s always a better way with CX

signs 2Inspiration for CX improvements are all around you. Which is why CX practitioners, like creatives before them should carry a little black book and camera for idea collection everywhere they go.

I was in Italy earlier this week with Dr Prof Phil Klaus working through some customer performance measurement analysis for a retail client bank. Whilst travelling I came across this alternative to the abrupt ‘Drop & Go’ signs I’ve seen at UK airports. It reminded me that if you take a step back from the functional purpose of the activity, there is often a more engaging way to communicate it.

IMG_6966On another trip a couple of weeks ago I was grateful for this application of signage. Rather than buried amongst the transfer, bag collection etc signage the ‘how to get out here’ directional signage was very evident and allowed me to get out of Copenhagen airport, which I didn’t know, faster than those I am more familiar with.

citizen mBut my out and out favourite brand for putting more effort into the message and by doing so always putting a smile on my face too, is Citizen M. I’ve only ever stayed at the Citizen M hotel in Glasgow hotel. But whenever I’ve stayed in Glasgow I’ve only ever stayed at Citizen M.

Every standard and specific message visible at Citizen M has been well thought through and crafted to convey the spirit of the brand. Door signage, soaps, menus – you name it. Even the door mat. I can imagine the brand/marketing/design/CX/Facilities (I’m sure they are well integrated) team sitting down and saying, ‘there has to be more we can get out of the door mats’ and then arriving at this ‘concierge flattery style’ approach.

Looking at those underutilised spaces in retail, on livery, on the website or across communications present wonderful low cost opportunities to reinforce the personality of the brand or draw attention to experiences that have been developed to increase customer contentment. Fun without connection to the business and it’s intention is frivolous, but alignment is powerful stuff.

It’s also delivers a quick win way to evidence of CX improvements if you need to demonstrate to colleagues, customers or the CEO that things are happening.

We call it SIBI (small ideas = BIG IMPACT). If you would like to know how we can identify Experience Design SIBI’s for your brand, we’d love to hear from you.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Customer Experience Consultant, Lexden

Lexden helps deliver Customer Experience Strategy and Programme Management for clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer’s World’ Update for ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 

For further information on how we can help with your customer challenges contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 orT: +44 (0)1279 902205.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebookor Twitter or read client testimonials and case studies at www.lexdengroup.com.

 

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Virgin Trains deliver the 3 in 1 CX equation

Anyone who has spent time on Virgin Trains will agree the ‘experience’ is different to those on other rail networks. In fact, as I travel on other networks I see more and more of Virgin’s ‘touches’ appearing. However, with Virgin it seems natural because that’s what the Virgin brand investment promises. With others rail companies it often seems awkward and stands out like a sore thumb.

Our preoccupation is to help clients identify what customer experiences drive profit and make those brand differentiating. Simple really. Through years of experience with this focus, we’ve accepted that driving profitable CX is much more likely to succeed when backed by a brand which is:This is the latest in our series of 3 branded experiences in a minute.

  1. meaningful to its customers so they can extract the value it offers;
  2. accessible by its employees to translate into meaningful customer experiences;
  3. envied by their competition who can at best deliver a ‘me 2’ copy of an experience.

Within a minute of arriving on a Virgin Train there are three brilliant reminders of their brand strength, delivered through the least likely of experience opportunities.

The step

This isn’t just any step. Courtesy of the Virgin brand, this is a whooshing, moving into place, Thunderbirdesque gliding Virgin step in to a world of potential (okay, slightly carried away, but you get the picture). It possibly is more attributable to the train manufacturer than Virgin for the steps movement, but none of the other companies have one.. Even if they did, theirs would still be a dirty step on to a train. With Virgin Trains, the brand promise has meant it could be so much more (even when it’s dirty too).

The loo seat

Virgin Trains demonstrate that ‘any’ piece of estate can be leveraged. This message could only come from them though.  You will find it on the back of the loo seat on-board, it’s also in the voice over in the loo…..yep the voice over in the loo. It starts as expected with, ‘please don’t flush nappies, paper towels’…but ends in a less expected place with ‘your ex’s sweater, hopes, dreams or goldfish’. This toilet humour would be strange from any other network, even though they have the same infrastructure, but for Virgin it is spot on.

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The loo wall

Apologies. My one minute journey took me from boarding to this room! It’s just a wall, surely! On every other train this is no more than a beige bobbly abyss of a wall. But on a Virgin Train it’s an escape route to another world. Admittedly not every other network has a balloon enterprise to throw up, although I couldn’t see that ever stacking up as a, ‘the reason we don’t do it’ response from the competition.

What it does show, to all, is how the less conspicuous and often overlooked spaces have as much a role to play in delivering branded customer experience as the more obvious areas of improvement such as service, comms and technology.

This issue featured Virgin Trains. Click here for our recent blog on Waitrose.

If you want to find out more about how to deliver brand differentiating customer experience, contact us,

We will bring you more 3 in 1 adventures from the world of CX. Next stops will include Citizen M and Mini. If you have a nominee for the 3 in 1 CX equation please send them through.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden

We help clients build profitable customer experiences and create commercially advantageous customer value propositions

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer’s World’ Update for ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 

For further information contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client testimonials and case studies at www.lexdengroup.com.

Unordinary Thinking No.7 – Citizen M

The great thing about unordinary thinking is that it rarely is predictable or consistent. So you don’t know when you will encounter genius. However, when you do, you know it.

I stay in a number of hotels each month so am happy to stay in the less conventional business hotels. I find the conventional hotels too automated in their strive for service excellence. I like variety and spontaneity.

So when I was booked in to Citizen M in Glasgow I had no preconceptions.

Although the low £69 a night, including breakfast price tag, did signal a very small alarm bell in my head.

The décor looked modern and attractive. And then I started to observe a few oddities from the normal arrival and settling in experience I go through:

  • There’s no reception,
  • Staff wear black,
  • The building is full of bright Perspex and plastic on the inside but is a black box on the outside.

And when I got to my room it was compact. But when I asked if I could upgrade I was told every room in every hotel is the same. So I returned and hung my clothes in the same space as my bed, my sink, my shower, my TV and my desk. All of which was approximately 2m x 4m x 3m.

But within about 30 minutes of being there I started to get it…

The ‘minimalistic’ approach I had witnessed in the room was reversed in the public space; there were copious numbers of break out lounge areas with Ligne Rosset style furniture, there were shelves of pop art and nude impressionist works, there were eight Macs for business use, blossom trees in the TV area, Earl Grey tea served in silk purses, Café del Mar music and many Alessi practical sculptures scattered across the hotel.

And on taking a closer look at the detail in my room the walk in shower (which was in the room, not off it) had lighting which changed colour, my TV movies were free and there were inspirational messages on all my complimentary toiletries.

And at breakfast not only were Innocent drinks on the menu, but the staff (who also fixed my colleague’s safe, checked us in and helped us set up on the macs earlier) was now the chef and asked us what we thought of her new muffin recipe and should she keep it? We found out everyone is empowered to do everything.

And as I was finding out, their attention to detail was in the areas that really mattered, whilst the places they had compromised (such as big rooms and reception) were actually not important. The only reason I’d decided they were important was because market convention had led me there. Citizen M has decided to change the rules and by doing so has potentially changed the hotel selection criteria.

What they had done here is take a step back from the whole hotel experience and asked ‘what is it that guests really want from a hotel when they are city exploring?’

And they had focussed on making the aspects more important to their clientele the best they can be. Which as the price tag shows, can be more distinctive and more of an experience than the expensive alternative of designing a conventional hotel. Inspirational.

I ended up taking more photographs of this set up than I have of any other hotel I’ve stayed in.

I was so intrigued that I asked a member of staff about the thinking behind it. He explained that empowerment is a key value of the brand.

A brand which they spend a number of days understanding before they are allowed to start in the hotel.

The smart people of Citizen M have applied unordinary thinking too. They’ve achieved so much more by taking a step back and understanding what is really important for a great stay, rather than listening to conventional criteria or attempting to improve on the competition.

By doing so they have designed a hotel which has more of what customers want and less of what they don’t need.

Citizen M contacted me when I first posted this and I am reassured to say my observations and interpretation of their strategy was correct. I did promise them a batch of pics I took (more than I took of the Wynn in Vegas, or the Elms in Worcestershire – personal fav’s), so I will do this.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which creates unordinary propositions to motivate customers and deliver commercial advantage for brands.

For more information on how we can help you, contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or ajairanawat@lexdengroup.com, or call us on T: +44 (0)20 7490 9123. And you can follow us on Twitter @consultingchris.