Tag Archives: customer

Can you deliver the 3 in 1 CX equation? Waitrose do.

We spend most days at Lexden helping clients to improve the effectiveness of their CX performance. That may result in a more valued brand differentiation, a new business model, an interactive employee engagement game, an increase in cross-sales strategy etc etc.

That’s the point; CX has moved on. Positioning CX as the only holistic all-encompassing new way of life for all to religiously follow is too much of a shift for many leadership teams? We don’t think it’s needed always either. In fact, we see it as a more effective business model to drive sustainable profitability. If that’s your aim, then bingo, you are the type of client we work well with. So read on and then we’d love to hear from you.

Rolling your sleeves up and working in the smaller ‘everyday’ customer experiences can be as fruitful and rewarding as seeking to exploit those defining moments which enables your brand to pull apart from others. Don’t get me wrong, we recognise the 8:1 ROI from the extraordinary branded CX opportunity is superior to the 1:1.25 potential of the ‘brilliant basics’. But let us not forget brands need constant feeding to keep their value and customers need as many touch points to experience that brand as possible.

So finding opportunity for the brand experience to shine is key. Finding these amongst the invisible spots, the unnoticed nooks and crannies is still a playground of opportunity for those clients prepared to look a little further and those of use helping clients who look beyond the conventional.

With this in mind we will bring you a number of brands who do this, effortlessly well. So easy in fact you trip over them. Many talk about delivering memorable CX at the start and the end of the journey; the CX rainbow.

Of course the chasing the pot of gold matters, but we do find a sprinkling of experiences in between can help pep up the customer performance indicators and encourage higher levels of average usage throughout too. To demonstrate how natural they are, pick a brand and find 3 in 1 minute that qualify.

Here’s 3 Waitrose experiences we found in 1 minute. Not every brand can deliver this. But those who do have CX baked in to their business model.

waitrose 1 waitrose 3waitrose 2

1. Flowers – here they are with a bunch of flowers you can buy in store. They brighten up the place and say, they are good enough for us too. They also sit there for a week to show the quality.

2. Local community – Waitrose keep close to their communities and this much copied approach to local charitable donations speaks it in volumes. The fact that these are three cricket clubs adds a very appropriate ‘middle England flavour to Waitrose too.

3. Recycling the promotion – Waitrose may have moved the coffee cup behind the counter to keep out the M&S Food pretenders, but they are still squeezing more out of that cup as this poster I spotted shows and oozes Waitrose values.

Virgin Trains next!

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden

Lexden is a Customer Experience & Value Proposition Consultancy 

We help clients build memorable customer experiences and create engaging 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.

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5 exceptional airline customer experience examples

Last month we brought you 5 essential customer experience examples. Lexden would class these as those which ‘Maintain’ competitiveness. This latest batch are different. They create ‘Advantage’ and ‘Differentiation’ for the airline and are more progressed in terms of customer experience maturity according to Lexden’s assessment. For a short paper on how to assess your organisation’s CX maturity (and therefore ROI potential from CX) please forward your email. 

Customer experience is the perfect business model to demonstrate brand differentiation. Essentials tend to be easy to copy so will rarely define a brand, regardless of sector. Those focusing on these areas alone will always be caught unless they can constantly improve essentials. Where as those airlines who also strive to be on the forefront of customer experience innovations building advantage for passengers, the bottom line and the brand can become recognised for their experience.

They range from original and unique products, to new design features and service improvements. I hope that this list of those which stand out from the others will be helpful to you, no matter which industry you work in.

Signature dish

malaysia airlines satay dishSignature dish is something that is a well-established differential factor for restaurants and gastro-pubs, but not so much in the aviation industry. However, a signature dish in in-flight menu can really boost not only the customer experience, but also the airline brand. The best-known example of that is the chicken satay with peanut sauce served in Business Class on board Malaysia Airlines. It has become a must-try dish for all passengers travelling with this airline. Many passengers ask for it, and it is even considered as the best satay that one can find in Malaysia. The secret is that passengers on every single long-haul flight on board Malaysia Airlines can taste this dish. Thus, it does not only highlights the Malaysian culture and enhances airlines image, but also makes passengers crave it.

Magazines and Newspapers in Economy Class

ba magsNowadays, passengers are increasingly expecting up-to-date reading materials in the cabin. As in Business Class that has become an essential product, many airlines still neglect Economy Class passengers. British Airways is amongst the best airlines in the world in providing free reading materials to all passengers, regardless of their cabin of travel.

The airline is providing newspapers and magazines near the boarding gate, so that passengers can select and choose their favorite title even before boarding the aircraft. This has two advantages:

1. The airline does not have to provide copies for all passengers, as many will not be interested in this service.

2. More importantly, making newspapers and magazine available to passengers before boarding, allows the airline to organize the boarding process quicker, and in case of any flight delay, passengers are more understanding.

Lounge – Gate Entry

ethiad gate boardingThis is one of the most innovative customer experience features, as it allows Business Class passengers to board the plane straight from the business Class lounge. Etihad Airlines, the flag carrier of UAE, has invested a large sum of money intro this unique feature, at selected airports in the United States. Thanks to this design, Business and First Class passengers using the lounge, can board the plane without the need of queuing at the boarding gate. Passengers can bypass that, and board the plane at their leisure directly from the lounge. Only few airlines can now offer this service, as this requires very expensive design adjustments to allow an additional air-bridge to be connected with the lounge. However, in my opinion, more and more airlines will offer this feature in the future, as Business and First Class passengers expect seamless and stress-free travel experience.

Immigration on board

garuda immigration on boadGaruda, the flag carrier of Indonesia, has introduced a very innovative and unique service on board their long-haul flights to Jakarta. Thanks to this service, passengers on board a Garuda Indonesia flight can obtain a visa on arrival with the assistance from immigration officers available on board. This saves time for passengers, as they do not have to go through the time-consuming visa application at the airport. Moreover, it helps Indonesia to attract more tourists, hence generate more passengers for the airline. From my own experience, this service works very efficiently and has been well received by passengers.

I believe, that more airlines will introduce this service, especially in popular tourist destinations, such as Vietnam or Cambodia, where foreign tourists are still required a visa on arrival.

QR Kids set

Qatar airlinesFlying with kids on a long-haul flight can be bothersome not only for the parents, but also for all other passengers. Children, out of their comfort zone, tend to seek attention as a way of controlling the situation or if familiar with surrounds can get easily bored on a long flight. Qatar Airways with their extensive long-haul network, realised that creating a fun and engaging environment for their youngest passengers, will not only make the journey more pleasurable for other passengers, but also would encourage parents to travel with their children more often. Qatar Airways offers a wide range of amenities for kids. For instance, they have a dedicated IFE channel, with videos pre-selected for kids. Also, QR staff would distribute toy sets, which includes books, puzzles and colouring pages. Finally, during the meal service, children can receive a special lunch box, with meals designed especially for kids. Not revolutionary, but not universal either.

These passenger (or customer as every other sector refers to it’s clientele) experience examples not only improve the overall experience, but also strengthen the airline brand and image driving carrier preference beyond price.

As more sectors accept when it comes to attracting and retaining customers who have the appetite to be loyal, price has been a less effective lever to influence behaviour than experience, we can expect many more innovations will follow.

Posted by Julian Lukaszewicz, Airline Consultant and Associate of Lexden.

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the heart of the decision 

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experiences and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to ‘Putting Customers First’  for fresh insights. Or 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 case studies at www.lexdengroup.com.

Unordinary Thinking No. 46 – keep the lights on when everyone’s left the building

Offices, banks, shops, libraries and sports halls all have one thing in common; when they’ve served their intended purpose and visitors leave, the shift ends, the lights are switched off and the doors are locked. This is typical practice and environmentally sound in most cases too. But could an equally important contribution to society be made if you keep the premise open even when you’ve headed home?

Applying this unordinary thought in a very ordinary way means letting others make more of what you’ve got. Read on to discover three very different examples of what can be achieved when you think beyond the end of your shift.

Be upstanding please

emily barker2Okay, so churches don’t actually shut but the venue can wind down when the parishioners are not in attendance. Or do they? A couple of weeks ago I was watching one of my favourite bands; Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. It was an emotional night being one of the last gigs for the North American folk sounding band before they split. The ticket stated the venue was on 197 Piccadilly, London. I couldn’t recall a concert hall there. When I arrived I discovered it was in fact St James’s Church, Piccadilly. Their music is not religiously intended and their subjects cross a boundary that some regular parishioners may feel at odds with. But as a venue with atmospheric up-lighting and acoustics bouncing around the dome, for the 400 of us jammed it came alive.

I spoke to a couple of the volunteers who explained this is an idea for raising funds beyond the conventional approach. Their venue has dwindling audiences and is expensive to upkeep. Where as bands have a great following prepared to pay handsomely to see them. By leaving the lights on, the Church attracts a new paying audience and the band has a memorable venue to play in.

Taking a rain check on skateboarding

Earlier this year I watched Ida Auken, the former Minister for the Environment in Denmark, impressively present at TEDx Houses of Parliament. She recalled a great example of a project she was involved in regarding optimising neglected space in Denmark. The area of Roskilde suffered from increasing levels of rainwater causing flooding to the neighbouring towns. But rather than a standard drainage project being commissioned, Danish architect Soren Nordal Enevoldsen, famed for skateparks, was invited to tackle the problem.

skate park2Enevoldsen and his company, Nordarch, designed a concrete area with graduating slopes that collected and transported the water into a canal. They also ingeniously transformed the 24,000-square-foot drainage facility from a potential public infrastructure eyesore into a multi-functional recreation area by shaping the water collecting bowls with half-pipes and grinding edges for skateboarding. Now the Rabalder Park project has become a gathering place for both rainwater and skateboarding enthusiasts.

The odd couple: banking & yoga

Umpqua Bank has 364 branches spread across Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Idaho and it’s growing. They are bucking the trend of retail banking by profitably opening branches when others are heading for a digital relationship. That’s not the area  of unordinary thinking they apply.

yoga umpquaFor instance they open their doors when the branch stops its regular trading. Along with yoga they organise virtual bowling on the big screens for seniors, art exhibitions and even ‘stitch and bitch’ sessions for local resident groups. These out-of-hours sessions are helping them to connect with their customers and prospects beyond banking. It’s also giving those attending an opportunity to see their bank is as much a part of the community as they are. Will it catch on? With $22 billion in assets to date, perhaps truly customer-led thinking is a strategy more banks should consider.

So the next time you are about to clock off and leave your work place, have an unordinary consideration about who else could be optimising your space when you are not there. It might just be the making of your business.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the heart of the decision 

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experiences and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to ‘Putting Customers First’  for fresh insights. Or 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 case studies at www.lexdengroup.com 

5 essential airline customer experiences

One of the greatest things about customer experience programmes is the portability of strategy through to activation from one sector to the next.

Whether it’s financial services where products are not tangible or airlines where everything is tangible the same customers are constant in both. They can even experience both sectors at the same time. This means their expectations of what one sector can deliver versus another are blurred beyond recognition. This means it’s getting harder to keep up and a real challenge to differentiate on experience.

So it’s fundamental to know what contributes to a successful customer journey; the moments of truth and deliver them brilliantly. So to know what brilliant looks like, you might be wise looking beyond your own sector.  With that in mind these 5 examples from the airline sector may be of more  interest to the financial services community more than anyone else!

There are many different factors that contribute to a successful airline journey which delivers satisfied passengers. From years of experience I have identified there are a few essential customer experience products that play a much greater role for in reducing anxiety, removing friction and adding value to the journey, than perhaps the industry sometimes realises. Delivered well these can drive those satisfied customers.

Self-Check-In Machines

Beyond booking, the passenger’s journey experience starts the moment they step into the airport. Shortly after arriving, many frequent passengers require quick and easy check-in process. They do not want, nor have the time to spend a long time queuing in the traditional airline check-in counter.

This is time consuming and is contrary to many passengers’ needs. That is why, the Self-Check-in Machines (CUSS), are so vital to the overall customer experience.  They do not only help passengers save time, but also allow the completion of the check-in procedures at their own pace, which makes the entire process stress-free.

check in machineNowadays, passengers value being independent and they do not want staff assistance at the every step of their journey. Many airlines that have successfully incorporated the CUSS machines into their check-in area, have not only shortened the queues, but also significantly improved the overall customer experience.

 

Boarding System

It is often stressful, as many passengers queue up and want to board the plane all at once. Many passengers state that the boarding process is one of the most stressful and unpleasant parts of their journey. Therefore, an efficient and clear boarding system can not only improve the speed of the process but also improve the overall passenger experience.

Tboarding systemhere is no golden rule regarding boarding systems, all of them have their strengths and weaknesses. Studies have shown, that well organized boarding system can speed up the boarding process significantly, resulting in a shorter turn-around times, which results in better utilization of the aircraft. Thus, by introducing efficient boarding system, airlines can not only eliminate passengers’ anxiety, resulting in improved journey experience, but also maximize profits.

Welcome on board

The welcome message from the captain is so important, because it does not only provide detailed flight information, but more importantly, it allows passengers to familiarise themselves with the captain and create a personal bond.  After first-time passengers hear the captain’s voice, they tend to be calmer and more relaxed. Good Cockpit communications can also save lives.

captains welcomDuring a famous incident over Indonesia in the 1980s, when a 747 lost its 4 engines due to volcanic ash, the captain said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.” His candid message prevented a panic on board the aircraft. Therefore, captain PA cannot be understated and should be always a vital part of every flight. As in any other industry, in aviation as well, communication with the customer is the key. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.”

Amenity Kit

amenity packSimilarly to a hotel, where passengers expect to find the essential washroom amenities in their rooms, airplane passengers (beyond economy) are increasingly demanding comparable services. Most airlines now offer amenity kits in Business class, which became a standard premium product.

However, Economy class passengers’ needs are still being neglected. An eye mask, toothbrush, and socks can not only provide much needed comfort on a long-haul flight, but also significantly improve customer experience. Many airlines that have introduced amenity kits in Economy Class, have observed a steady rise in passengers on long-haul routes, resulting in better financial performance overall. Helping passengers spend the long journey in comfort by providing simple amenities results in improved experience.

IFE System

ife systemFinally the entertainment system (IFE). Nowadays, airlines that do not provide a wide selection of entertainment also struggle with overall customer experience. Interestingly, passengers increasingly demand IFE system to be available even on a medium-haul flight. This has become a crucial service expected by passengers across the cabin.

What is more, some research suggest that when an aircraft is fitted with modern entertainment system, staff have less work due to the fact that passengers are busy watching movies, instead of asking for assistance. Also, less drinks and snacks are served on such flights. As a result, it is a win-win situation, staff can direct their attention more efficiently, and passengers have more ways to spend their time on a long flight.

In conclusion, all of these examples either already are or soon will become the essential product parts of the airline customer experience. So I hope these have been of interest to you, whatever sector you are involved in.

Posted by guest blogger, Julian Lukaszewicz, former airline customer experience consultant

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the heart of the decision 

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experiences and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to ‘Putting Customers First’  for fresh insights. Or for further information contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or  T: +44 (0)1279 9022056548. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client case studies at www.lexdengroup.com 

5 examples of how to have fun with Customer Experience

Often customer experience improvements focuses on broken processes, reducing friction or the dreaded self-serve (normally cheaper for the business but more effort on the customers than they would really like). All are about taking away pain and turning detractors into promoters….okay passives.

But do companies have the momentum to take this through from their ‘permission to trade’ or ‘brilliant basics’ level up to ‘make it enjoyable’ level? Not always sadly. But when they do it creates positive talking points and memorable experiences. Of course without the maintenance ground work, building fun experiences is more difficult for the business to feel it should be investing in or customers to enjoy if they’ve got outstanding gripes.

Suspend that thought and put yourself in the shoes of a customer experience team who are over the brow of that hill and living in the ‘make it enjoyable’ zone. Here are five enjoyable customers experiences which tickled us and we hope you take inspiration from too.

What we like about these is that you can see what the old experience was like. It wasn’t actually broken but there’s always room for improvement. Someone has said, ‘Could we make it more fun and see if that makes it more successful?’

Turn left. You will

tomtomThe technologists behind sat-nav science are incredible. But those at TomTom who decided to make the instructions barked at you come from the voices of John Cleese, Mr T, Yoda or Darth Vadar are genius. Rather than labour over the technological improvements in the mapping accuracy, which is already a 1000%  better than me reading the map, adding the voice increases the fun threshold to warp factor 10. And as soon as you get bored you can change to new voice.  In fact, Brian Blessed is the latest voice to be immortalised – Gordon’s alive!

Challenge Pizza Hut

Ipizzhut came across this example through twitter so have pieced the story together. But as I can make out when ordering there is a ‘any special requests’ section taken at the end of the order. Typically the response is ‘please hold the onion’ or ‘double anchovy’, but the customer has thrown in a cheeky ‘draw a dinosaur on the box’ request and rather than tell the customer to take a jump, the Pizza Hut staff have risen to the challenge and made a boring space very fun. It begs the question what else can you do with the inside of a take away box!

Grow your money trees

Umpqua could have a whole blog on fun experience all to themselves. Where others are moving from retail banking to mobile banking they are opening more stores. And according to Barclay’s analysts’ it’s not just a community play, it’s a commercially sound model. The Economist reported, “Barclays predicts by the end of next year, Umpqua’s return on equity will be 14%, far above the average”.

umpqua

They do things differently. For examples here is a plant on a customer’s door step. That may be what it looks like to you and I but this is actually a loan mailing. I’m sure you can get the creative reference link to growth, but you may have got the fact that what is normally a dry comms piece is made memorable and fun. And guess what it outperforms any other loan mailing stats you’ve ever seen!

Beep. Beep. Making shopping more fun for Mums

 tescocarToy cars in supermarket are not new. In fact they’ve been with us for a few years now having been introduced by Tesco in 2007. But go back to that moment when someone said, ‘I know stick a toy car to the trolley’. After a ‘Are you insane!’ was first fired back the visionary commercialist (also known as the customer experience manager) would have said, ‘hang on there is something in this. Anxious Mum’s buy less. Mum’s get anxious because of bored kids. Bored kids love driving toy cars. Toy cars would fit to a shopping trolley’ at which point everyone’s proverbial penny would have dropped. It was brilliant then and it always will be brilliant. And it’s less to fund than a crèche!

And the overall winner in the CX fun category is…

My favourite examples of fun in customer experience are those like the Tesco example above where fun has been used to take away anxiety or a negative behaviour. It’s a movement in its own right and if you are interested take a look at the VW Fun Factory examples.

But to finish my favourite example of improved customer experience is actually from real life. It’s the toddler eating journey that parents go through daily. It makes business challenges look like a walk in the park when it goes wrong! Getting small children, who are very good at manipulating broken processes, to eat when they want to play is a real challenge. But this fun idea is very successful and has probably been around since toddlers first needed feeding, but the ingenuity of it is still stunning.

mums

Put into a corporate context, ‘fun food’ versus ‘as it comes food’ – the outcome is exactly the same food gets eaten so why do it. But with fun food there are three huge advantages:

  1. More produce (toddler’s food) is consumed with fewer issues (tantrums) reducing time and effort spent on getting the customer complaints (toddler pacified).
  2. The customer (toddler) engages in the process (dinner time) willingly prepared to be distracted from the other more enjoyable daily tasks (toys and TV).
  3. The front line staff member (Mum) is more productive because there is less effort needed (feeding & remaking thrown food) and satisfied because the labours have been appreciated (feel like a good parent for a moment).

If you want some new inspiring creators of fun customer experience recruit a group of Mums with toddlers (left at home). They are world class fun CX practioners.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the heart of the decision 

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experiences and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read sign-up to our ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter. Or 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 case studies at www.lexdengroup.com 

How M.A.D. is your Customer Experience?

cx model

Is the ROI on your customer experience living up to its potential?

In our experience many CX programmes full short of what they should deliver largely because of the structure of the programme.  They end up Maintaining an acceptable customer experience or only occasionally delivering a real Advantage to customers and the business  but rarely achieving the ultimate ambition of reinforcing the Differentiation of the brand (or M.A.D. CX for short).

What does your CX working world look like?

If you find yourself knee deep in root cause analysis, customer mapping yet another page of exceptions, struggling to get MI produced at touch point level or explaining to the board why NPS has plateaued whilst CX investment has increased, then you are know your are a customer experience practioner.

But if this sounds familiar it may mean your customer experience programme has become more about maintaining a level of acceptable customer experience rather than striving for reinforcing brand differentiation.

Despite the business investing the resource, communicating the importance of customer centricity internally, delivering dozens of cost and time saving experience improvements and celebrating NPS increases, many CX programmes are not actually getting past ‘Level 1 – Maintain‘.

It’s reinforced by customers who believe only 8% of companies deliver a great customer experience whilst 80% of companies believe they do.

With this in mind, we’ve made it our mission to help brands revisit their approach and achieve the optimum potential of their CX endeavours.

At Lexden we’ve developed an independent check-point Customer Experience Effectiveness Audit to help brands committed to customers to understand where they are, how they got there, how much more they could achieve from CX and how to get on track to realise this.

We call it our M.A.D. CX Audit. It covers:

  • Identify which level your CX is at now and what’s keeping you there
  • Understand the business environment CX is operating in and the governance surrounding it
  • Identify how your employee’s and customer’s value your customer experience activities
  • Assess the commercial impact of customer experience improvements to date
  • Identify your journey comparative to your competitors, your senior stakeholders and your customer’s expectations
  • Identify the optimum level for customer experience within the organisation
  • Highlight activities requiring realignment (people, planning, partners, process, culture) to effectively support revised optimum level potential

It’s the perfect ‘light touch, high impact’ review to ensure your CX programme achieves the maximum ROI.

Or for more details of the service, please click here.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the heart of the decision 

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experiences and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read sign-up to our ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter. Or for further information contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on M: +44 (0) 7968 316548.     You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client case studies at www.lexdengroup.com 

 

How HSBC creates brand advocates through Customer Experience

I rarely write about my own customer experiences. Usually I’m taking examples from others and blending with my observations to evidence best or worse practice CX planning.

But on occasion I experience a customer experience as a consequence of a situation I’ve found myself in which impresses me enough to tell others.

And when it works, really well, it reminds us of the importance customer experience in helping consumers trying to ‘get on’ and live their lives. Great customer experience removes the friction in life which holds us back from getting through the day.

As a ‘consumer’ I can’t really consciously value this until it goes wrong. CX in this context operates as the unsung hero. However, the more important that process to me within the context of my life, the increased favourability I undoubtedly have for one brand over another.

So when something unexpected happens in my life, a customer experience designed to remove the anxiety will go a long way in turning my passive relationship to a promoter of their brand. I might even commit the experience to a blog. Here’s my story…

hsbc 2…at 11.30am I stepped back from a presentation I was preparing and picked up a couple of approved invoices to pay. I looked for my ‘securekey’ which allows me to access the HSBC business bank account. It wasn’t where it normally should be. I knew I needed to call HSBC to get a replacement. I decided I could make the payments when it arrived.

I was working remotely from our Bishops Stortford office so called the London office and told them the situation. I was reminded that these were due today and one by midday. Panic back on. It was at this point I realise I should have paid them before I got stuck in to the presentation but it was too late and the presentation was due to be sent in two hours.

hsbc bsI headed to the local branch of HSBC. As I walked there I realised I didn’t know what it would achieve going in to see them, our branch was in Victoria, but with the minutes ticking I wanted to share my pain and see what could be done over the counter.

On arrival I was greeted with a smile by a greeter. I explained the situation and he calmly said it could be sorted. He told me to head to the teller to get the payments made first. I did. I explained my quandary to the lady behind the glass. With enough security checks to make me feel comfortable, but not so much that I felt violated, ‘we’ made the payments on time. I say we because without the HSBC team I would have failed.

The lady informed me that if I called the replacement securekey team from the branch they could issue me a new card now. Wow, so within 45 minutes of my crisis starting, it would be over.

The greeter dialled through the IVR and connected me to a person. Being a global bank I expected a globally located operator. I was right. But that didn’t diminish the empathy and understanding of my situation he offered.

To get through to the point where an email was sent to me and a new securecard handed to me in branch involved three phone transfers and the assistance of three members of branch staff. But each one of those phone transfers managed my expectations and when I was handed over the recipient of my call explained my situation to me straight off to give me confidence that they were in control.

I left the bank 20 minutes after arriving with payments made, a new securekey ready to activate, a smile on my face and a tweet winging its way to broadcast from @consultingchris on how great they’d been.

It then dawned on me that I’d had a branded customer experience. This was global, local in action. Okay I wasn’t trading with New Zealand or requiring advice on setting up a venture in Baltimore, but I was vulnerable and their global network of operators helped me out capably supported by the local team.

From a customer experience best practice perspective this delivers against all 6 customer attributes:

  1. They managed my expectations across every touch point
  2. They minimised the time and effort taken by employing various channels and technology to arrive at the right outcome
  3. They empathised with my situation and brought my anxiety down whilst we got things sorted
  4. They resolved my issues without any sense of it being less than why they were there
  5. They personalised it to me. It may be this happens on a daily basis for them but I felt they’d structured their customer experience response specifically around my situation
  6. They showed integrity putting my interests first. They could have been more stringent on security (more than needed) but a few smart questions ensured I was who I said I was and they let me use a branch in the middle of the phone even though they were hosting a MacMillan Nurses Cake morning .

Hats off to HSBC from me and our suppliers who got paid on time.

Not forgetting my client who received the presentation in time too. And that’s why all of the above was so important to me. It allowed me to ‘get on’ with my business.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the heart of the decision 

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.

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