Tag Archives: new

Customer-centric thinking at its best, we believe

At Lexden, we spend our time on various customer strategy commissions across Europe and occasionally further afield. Whilst we are engaged in a project we are thinking ‘customer first’. But when we are not running a live project we are still thinking ‘customer first’. That’s our business so it keeps us fresh and up to date. The truth is we are always thinking ‘customer first’.

newBy looking at the world this way we sometimes come across brand new propositions which are outstanding. Ideas which are brilliantly simple and simply brilliant.

Often the client isn’t aware that the perfect solution is out there and because the solution provider hasn’t positioned it in a way that it chimes with the clients requirements they don’t see how it’s the right solution.

But we live in two worlds; 1. the client side world thinking about customers and their emotional and rational needs and 2. The consumers world thinking about how brands can make lives better by fulfilling emotional drivers. This means we can see how to connect innovations and product ideas from one market to client needs in another.

We are always hunting down small ideas which have a big impact as per our recent blog. Those which cause the least disruption to a business stand the greatest chance of actually getting to market.

That’s why we’re are rather excited about our latest finding. It’s simplicity is brilliant and it’s potential has stunned us, and that’s not easy.

We’ve come across a NEW customer experience concept that answers so many of the client requirements we come across on assignment. This idea is up there with the best of them and we anticipate it will revolutionise some clients business models. Reassuringly the developer has a global track record of success too.

If you are the CEO, CFO, in customer experience, e-commerce, marketing strategy and planning, customer insight, customer services or brand, you will find this idea really interesting.

You’ll know straight away if it’s something you should look at if you are tackling any of these issues at the moment:

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“(1) We need to reduce our call volumes down because our (2) cost to serve is too high (3) our quality of call resolution is impaired or (4) our call waiting times are unacceptable.

“(5) But we need to achieve this and increase our customer satisfaction scores at the same time. Our customers are leaving because they can’t get hold of us”

Beyond this there are a host of further benefits to a business improving its customer strategies it provides…

“(6) When we have unresolved queries from customers we are unable to effectively or efficiently get a resolution back to them meaning that often they remain unresolved even though we have an answer or it costs us heavily to set up a ‘work around’ to contact them and resolve their query”

“(7) We are unable to move between channels as quickly as our customers choose to and we are not able to keep an up to date record of the conversation between channel either which annoys our customers, makes us looks stupid and costs us in duplicated effort time”

“(8) Depending who a customer contacts in our business, through which channel and on which day will determine what answer they get back. It’s this inconsistency that means we end up spending money dealing with ‘over promises’ and ‘under deliver’. We upset customers as we’ve let them down which then impacts CSAT scores and retention rates”

“(9) We’ve got some really good customer service people and some less good ones. If we could bottle the good ones and deliver that experience to customers we would be market leaders, but it’s impossible isn’t it?”

“(10) When we close at the end of the day, there is no way of helping customers beyond what they find on our website. Because we have no ‘night shift equivalent’ we offer to resolve their basic or more complex needs they leave us for our competitors who do. But we haven’t found a cost effective alternative which would be accepted by customers”

“We are looking for more customers to self-serve online to reduce servicing costs but the truth is (11) the experience online isn’t as good as it needs to be at the moment or (12) even if it was great (or on a mobile app) many of our customers would still want to talk to someone to get the answers they can get online. It’s just how they are”

“(13) We are unable to control the quality or the consistency of the way the brand is presented when customers interact with the company. It’s fine when it’s presented in an ad or through a mail pack, but as soon as it becomes ‘personalised’, such as the call centre, it becomes unpredictable and inconsistent”

“(14) Our customer feedback tools are disparate and provide conflicting insights which we have to work through and interpret. (15) Whilst they can inform what the issues are and what is irritating customers they can’t provide planning intelligence such as which products are most effective to cross sell to which segments at which point in the journey or what products are trending with our customers at the moment and why”

“(16) We are in a commoditised service market where brand and experience are the most important driver of relationship, we need an innovative USP that could give us the competitive edge”

“(17) I need to reduce my call centre costs overnight but wont be able to switch off the calls”

If you could relate to more than one of these issues it’s worth taking a look at this solution. But if you are looking to reduce call volumes and improve you customer experience at the same time then bingo – it’s well worth an hour to take a look.

Solutions to these challenges can actually all be delivered through one platform and be operational within a few weeks.

If you know us at Lexden, you will know we are only interested in customer centric solutions that are commercially advantageous to our clients. That’s where we fit in? Lexden have partnered with the innovator to pioneer this new concept into market as an advancement in personalisation, presentation and performance for the customer experience industry.

Sorry but we are not revealing anything more unless we know you are interested. So if you’d like meet up to learn more and how it can relate it to your requirements, email me christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com. Sector exclusive deals will be considered.

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

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For more information about how we can help you take your customer strategy forward please contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on M: +44 (0) 7968 316548. You can follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter @consultingchris.

In the red corner, Virgin Money. In the blue corner, the money saving expert

With the announcement of Virgin taking over the Northern Rock retail banking business I, along with many others, have been fizzy with anticipation about what that could mean to the face of banking. Especially as the existing business had landed but arguably not quite yet arrived (although their customer base and product range looks very healthy thank you very much).

So when I saw the ‘promise’ signage up at an old Northern Rock branch in Moorgate last week and heard about the two concept branches in Norwich and Edinburgh, I thought, as a fan of finding better outcomes, I should take a look.

We hear requests for better and different banking, especially in the retail environment. And others have tried before, with coffee seeming to be the common currency. This has taken the form of bolt on stores such as Costa at Abbey, or a pot of filter coffee as I seem to recall in some Alliance & Leicester branches. So I am expecting the coffee, but what else?

I asked Ajai, my fellow Director at Lexden (and former NatWest marketer) what he’d like to see. He simply said, whatever it takes to make the branch a place where he feels comfortable, wants to stay and is conducive to having a dialogue (about money should they want to).

So I drove up to Norwich on Saturday to take a look for myself (always good to walk the walk). I was greeted at the door and shown in, which made me instantly felt comfortable. It reminded me of http://www.chebanca.it/ in Italy in it’s clean modern design. And as I let my eyes explore the rooms in the branch, I spotted cakes, pianos, Playstations, portraits of Sir Richard Branson, snaps of Virgin Balloons and Virgin Coke art, trays of chocolate money, toilets, lounge chairs and dinner tables, more cake, newspapers, iPads, flowers, coat stands and more. Brilliant. The brief must have been, “Create an environment where customers want to come, and want to stay”. And then I spotted something I hadn’t seen for a while in a branch: lots of young families.

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I felt very comfortable in the environment and must have been there for ten minutes before it dawned , without seeing any sales literature or posters for products. Now this is a very unordinary approach to retail banking. And one that, I have to say, sat very comfortably with me given that it was my Saturday and I wasn’t looking for a product. It made me think: why can’t my banking be more enjoyable? And like when First Direct arrived I saw a smarter relationship, I am now thinking perhaps Virgin will provide an experience in a way I haven’t seen from other banks.

Retail networks are expensive to maintain, and sales targets need to be hit to do this. But, without a sale in sight and given the set up of this approach I am thinking the investment is more likely to be amortised across the lifetime value of a customer, rather than being recovered from incremental acquisition sales in 2012. And that different focus of customer value rather than product, enables the business to think more about the importance of experience and engagement than it does about acquisition. I may not be in the market for a new policy for some time but, when I am, Virgin Money has probably crept up my consideration list-especially if supported with products which provide sustainable rates rather than chasing best buy top spots for a week or two in the year. This would be consistent with the customer experience I enjoyed, so let’s hope that’s the direction.

Is it for everyone? Of course not-it’s not designed for everyone. In fact, there are certain customers hell bent on a cheap product from a bank that should stay away. If banking is to move in the direction of improved customer experience then this requires investment, time and customer commitment. These are currency the likes of Martin Lewis would dismiss as unimportant in a commoditised world of BUY CHEAP. It wouldn’t be his cup of tea or slice of rate tart at all.

And that presents the dilemma. Whilst some banking brands are looking to push banking into new directions, there are opposing market influences advising customers to steer clear of anything that isn’t the cheapest thing on the market.

The two just aren’t compatible.

It’s only when you re-frame what customers should be looking for to include an enjoyable customer experience, does it change the field of play. I wouldn’t choose a holiday regardless of location, accomodation or amenities because it was cheap and then suffer the inferior experience, content in the rational knowledge I have saved money! That has got to be counter productive for what’s good for me emotionally. When you bring experience into the equation for banking, you stop obsessing about getting the cheapest deal and start considering how important the engagement is to you in your more significant emotional drivers.

And when you think like that, Virgin Money becomes a very viable option for everyday folk looking for something fulfilling from their banking experience.

The brand is certainly creating a strong positioning quickly. And I loved the launch film held around the corner from us at Senate House http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86I_1bP7OXc . I’m looking forward to seeing how service, innovation and products follow this approach (expectations now set very high).

And maybe Virgin http://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/northern-rock/ will help consumers appreciate it’s okay to enjoy your banking. As their campaign lines states, they intend making it better – and their flavour of better will be quality.

That’s a very different proposition to the comparison sites and money saving experts model of better-buy cheap. Consumers only interested in buying cheap do not need cake (or the warm and enjoyable experience) from Virgin Money. They can afford to buy their own cake with the difference they saved by buying cheap instead.

Is this a better model? It’s certainly unordinary. So let’s watch with interest and see how the new Virgin Money model unfolds.

Posted by Christopher Brooks http://www.twitter.com/@consultingchris

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.