Tag Archives: Disney

Customers will never forget how a great branded experience made them feel

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou (American poet, biographer and actress 1928-2014).

This sentiment has proved a useful yardstick when designing memorable customer experiences and compelling customer value propositions with clients. You know when you’ve got it right because customers state favouritism in feedback session such as, “I can’t quite express why I like them. They just seem to be in tune with what matters to me”.

brand heartHowever, measuring this emotional fulfillment is challenging. And I’d argue because it’s difficult to measure, it isn’t. Brands tend to be valued on awareness or share of market instead. Even if salience, relating to buyer memory structure, is on the brand dashboard it tends to be informed by recent promotions and the latest wave of advertising messaging. Businesses prefer to set their path by that which they can measure results against. Sadly a warm feeling inside because someone did something that left a lasting memory is not something a city analyst calculating brand equity will be able to make a company valuation on.

That said, customer experience does create an opportunity to deliver memorable engagements between customers and brands, which will remain in the consciousness for a while and the subconscious even longer.  And with measures such as NPS proving effective predictors of retention rates and profitability, it’s no wonder customer experience is seen as the next battlefield for differentiation.

Will it catch on? I think it will – I judged an awards last year where a market leading GI firm’s Commercial Director presented the case for CX as the reason their business fortunes had picked up.

So how do you deliver experiences or propositions which make customers ‘feel’ differently about a brand? For me it’s about three things:

  1. Understanding the situation your customer is in now
  2. Deciding how the better place you want them to be in feels like
  3. Devising how you get them there in a way that reinforces the nurtured values of your brand

Companies like Disney and Zappos do it naturally. For most it’s more of a commercially calculated decision, but that’s still okay. If the outcome makes the customer remember you favourably because of the way you made them feel, it’s a deeper connection than a 50% discount will ever achieve. As well as being a considerably more profitable one.

Here are a couple of examples which hopefully will leave a warm feeling inside and demonstrate how you can get massive cut through at very little cost by putting the customer’s feelings first.

Timpson’s & the unemployed

timpsonIf you’re out of work you can’t afford to be splashing out on dry cleaning. But at a job interview to rectify the situation, you want to give yourself the best possible chance of success. A freshly pressed dry cleaned suit or outfit can only help your cause and confidence. I’m not sure how they got there but this big hearted gesture from Timpson’s Dry Cleaners will live long in the memory of any out of work candidate who takes it up and lands that new job. As well attract applauds and a new customer or two in people like me acknowledging they don’t have to do this, but they do.

Ritz-Carlton & Joshi

This has almost become legend on the CX circuits but it’s worth rolling out a few more times yet. Having returned from a holiday at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Florida, Reilly’s Dad realised that his young son had left his favourite soft toy Joshi the Giraffe behind. He called the hotel and they located it. Having found it the staff could have said they would ship it back at cost. But instead they had some fun and at the same time justified Joshi’s extended stay to Reilly. Joshi was returned with an album of memories from his time ranging from Spa treatments, to restaurant meals, pool time and more. Reilly, his parents and now millions of social media viewers have a warmer feeling about Ritz-Carlton than they did before.

joshi2 joshi1

It’s that simple. Start with a scenario which is relevant to your customer and devise the best outcome you can achieve. Then worry about how to make it happen. It’s amazing where it can take you and just how long it will last in the hearts and minds of your customers.

For more on brand impact of customer experience try this presentation made by Lexden in 2014 to the Financial Services Forum.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, 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. 

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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What angry water molecules and a Disney Princess can teach us about executing customer experience successfully

When it comes to customer experience the driver is typically customer satisfaction or advocacy. When we work with clients to improve these metrics and in turn drive profitability, we often find a key enabler is the positive engagement of the employees responsible for the customer experience delivery.

Here’s an example of when it works. Because when it does work, it can really work.

At Disney, it’s not a trade secret that staff understand that every time they are in front of customers they are on stage. And their role is to make their audience happy. It’s also well documented that this is something employees implicitly understand because of the way they behave off stage. They look at each other in the eye when in discussion and smile at each other – often. The natural response from those they engage is positive and so they smile back. That reaction becomes a behaviour they enjoy giving and receiving – smiling is a positive communication tool.

So if we accept that employees also spend their time ‘off stage’ smiling which leads to happier employees (there are plenty of other similar activities to keep the culture alive at Disney), then it’s fair to assume when it comes to dealing with customers it will be easier to deliver happiness. The great thing about the Disney approach is how the ‘tone’ of the customer experience is clearly defined by the business which therefore allows the execution to be personalised.

dsineyHere’s an example which perfectly highlights the power of the Disney employees engagement with happiness. It’s about a security guard. He works at one of the Disney parks. Visitors to the Disney park carry autograph books around so that they can get signatures from characters buzzing around. The security guard also carries an autograph book. Whenever he sees a little girl dressed as a Princess he makes a b-line to them and asks, “Hey, you must be the famous Disney Princess, please may I have your autograph in my book?”

Needless to say it’s a hit with the mums and dads and probably turns the little girls into lifelong fans of Disney. He would say he is just doing his job.

Happiness is a powerful emotion which can change attitude and behaviour. There are not many tangible assets, let alone emotions that have that strength. Customer happiness felt from a branded experience can create the deepest consumer feelings for the brand, which when converted into actions cut through everything to achieve brand preference and advocacy.

Japanese Professor Masaru Emoto has been studying the impact emotion has on life. He has chosen a very basic life form: the water molecule, to study emotion. His findings show that if you create a positive feeling around the water molecule it grows in a different way to a water molecule that has been surrounded with negative feeling.

If you are wondering what’s the connection to customer experience, go with it, they do link up eventually!

love waterThe research involved experimenters telling different water molecule structures they were loved or hated which had significant consequences on how they were formed. Those ‘mistreated’ look ugly whilst those ‘loved’ look beautiful.

Now relate this point back to the Disney employee and the way they have evolved because of the happiness bestowed on them and hopefully you will see the connection.

If positive emotion impacts water molecular structure what can it do for an employee responsible for delivering a branded experience?

I’ve witnessed this first hand. Some time ago I worked on a customer experience assignment with a great ‘customer-centric’ visionary leader. But they couldn’t understand why the brilliant customer improvements they’d identified weren’t landing as successfully as hoped. The reality was the ‘boss’ didn’t invest emotionally in the employees in charge of making the customer improvements happen. In fact, it ended with the pay-cheque. So the team could not feel the warmth of a positive experience and struggled to know how to pass it on to customers. The leader would get frustrated and say, ‘but that’s their job!’

If you recall, that’s close to how they put it at Disney. But at Disney the crucial difference is that it’s the employees, not the employers, who say, ‘that’s my job’. The big difference being that time has been invested (continuously) in helping employees understand, through experience, the positive impact to customers of delivering something which makes them happier.

If you want great customer experience – which leads to great customer satisfaction – which leads to greater profitability, you probably need to start with a great employee experience. Does this approach work? Richard Branson preached something similar and look where it has got him!

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and the heart of marketing strategy.

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.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to our monthly ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter.

Or for a discussion on how we may be able to help you, contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com  or call us on M:+44 (0) 7968 316548You can also follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter @consultingchris

Unordinary Thinking No. 24 How to achieve a 100% high street occupancy rate

Over the past few years more and more consumer segments previously believed immune to the impact of a global recession have become caught by it. Some finding it has ripped through the very heart of their worlds whilst others admitting the disturbances are inconvenient but notable all the same.

I have seen this played out in numerous focus groups involving all age and affluence groups. And the knock on effect is that whilst ten years ago the economy never featured higher than tenth place in ‘Concerning Societal Issues’ trends studies it now knocks other issues out of the park. And ‘value for money’ ambitions dominate proposition development projects we run, where ‘exclusivity’, ‘prestige’ and ‘kudos’ once featured as themes to explore.

I have accepted this economic climate is a new norm and we work within it. And assumed the rest of polite society would behave the same way. So imagine my surprise, and delight, when I took a trip recently and stumbled into a world full of happy consumers revelling in consumerism blissfully tuned out to the mood of the rest of the globe.

This was a sight I hadn’t seen for quite some time. As I looked around I realised this world I’d entered simply refused to conform to the changes demanded by the new market conditions.

Instead it had done something really quite simple instead. It had not buckled or deviated from delivering its two ‘old school’ driving motivations for existence;customer happiness and a unique brand. When I looked around I saw the advantageous signs of how this played out everywhere…

– Every street has a 100% retail occupancy rate
– Every outlet is brimming with goods and devoid of ‘sale’ signs
– Slogans such as ‘nothing makes a child happy like a new toy’ hung instead of the more familiar ‘buy me now’ desperation banners
– Every day the doors open for morning trade hundreds of waiting customers sprint in with smiles on their faces
– Customers queue for hours again and again for the experience the attractions of the town offers
– Without consideration customers purchase products they could get elsewhere for half the price
– The experience of the street has as much attention given to it as the products purchased there
– And consumers stay out until 11pm nightly to line the streets and pay homage to the face of the establishment in a firework fuelled carnival type parade.

It sounds unbelievable, but trust me, it is true. In this world Peter Pan is more real than a double dip recession.

So who has managed to keep this high street and it’s town prospering when all around them falter?

Sir Philip Green? Mary Portas? Sir Stuart Rose?

No. It’s none of the above.

It is in fact Mickey Mouse.

And along with his friends and supporting cast of thousands, they’ve created an enduring parallel world incubated from the trials and tribulations of the real one. Disneyland Paris (although I am sure the global experience at any park is the same) is a place where your recessionary evoked inhibitions dissolve and your joy for life is energised.

The customer experience is driven by satisfaction and fulfilment. Forget removing friction from the buying process. Forget price pointing. Forget competitiveness. This place proves when you think customer and act for the customer all other strategies are unnecessary. Delivered in a consistent fashion from the valet to the man at the top when he joins you for breakfast.

For brand and proposition specialists like Lexden, this magical kingdom is a reminder of what can be achieved when you choose to look at the opportunity from a customer’s perspective. And contains a bounty of ideas on how to keep customers coming back for more, happily ever after.

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 & @consultingajai.