Tag Archives: Pizza Express

Are your customers starting to suffer from customer feedback fatigue?

A couple of weekends ago I travelled to the New Forest in the South of England for a two night break with my wife and two boys. The trip was focused around a day out at Paulton’s Park as a treat for our three year old. Our seven year old loves hotels so we stayed in two. We ate out a couple of times and overall had a great family time.

What made the stay so good? Well it was the fact that we all get along famously, plus everything worked as it should – because we’d organised it as such and chose brands we could rely upon. Okay, I can’t take all the credit.There were a couple brilliant customer experience moments which added to the occasion such as the yo-yo’s for the boys when we checked in at the Novotel and having the pool at The Best Western all to ourselves.

ikea feedbackOn the way back home we popped in for a typical ‘essentials only’ shop at IKEA Southampton. We won over the boys with the promise of apple flan. £150 later we’d picked up the supposed essentials and headed for some lunch.

As we were eating lunch I noticed a customer feedback machine in the restaurant where people were coming to eat. I asked a member of staff why it was chosen to go there in the restaurant. His response summed it up, “People come here to shop. People come here to eat. Why would they come here to tell us what we should do better? I’ve never seen it being used”.

I think I need a holiday to complete these feedback surveys!

The following morning I was at Waterloo and stopped at Pret’s to get a cup of coffee on the way to work. On the wall was another feedback survey request. My iphone inbox pinged at me with a request from the Novotel to tell them what we thought of their services and facilitates! This was soon followed by Paultons and Best Western.

survey emails

Less than 24 hours since IKEA and I’d been confronted with several feedback surveys! Even as a CX expert with a penchant for interrogating customer feedback to develop differentiating brand experience for clients, I felt worn-out at just the thought of ploughing through the surveys.

nero surveyThe quality across pret surveythese surveys varied wildly. And with some it was clear all they were interested in was a performance score rather than understanding what worked and what could be better. More worryingly not one took time to find out whether my weekend went as planned, was I happy with the jaunt, how their brand fitted into my weekend, which other brands I’d been relying upon that weekend alongside theirs, how their brand compared to those others I’d been pleased with, did they stand out for any reason that had been memorable to any of my party or whether I now saw their brand as a reliable trust agent for just this sort of event or I’d let them into other parts of my life. in fact, the stuff that mattered to me!

Sadly the insight which would richly furnish their understanding of the value of their brand to their customers and the impact the experience had on them was omitted. Instead they asked me questions like:

  • Was it value for money?
  • Would I tell my friends?
  • Was the booking website easy to navigate?
  • Did I speak to a member of staff whose name I can recall and did they exceed my expectations?

I love all the brands I’ve mentioned, with this type of bombardment we will soon see the demise in the value of customer feedback unless a sprinkle of innovation and a large dose of customer relevance is applied.

However, too often customer feedback is seen as a measure rather than a palette to enhance customer’s lives with.

Is this really the best time?

dublin surveyThis example affronted me the moment I’d gone through security at Dublin airport. Now is this a moment I really want to stop and feedback my experience? Perhaps (small ‘p’) if it was less than a great experience AND time is on my side I might. But if time is against, no chance. And would anyone really consider stopping and feeding back on a good security experience?

On two recent commissions I have seen ‘customer feedback’ surveys appear in the top ten issues for a brand in the Voice of The Customer Analysis. One brand was serving ten feedback surveys to customers a year. It seems the survey ‘monkeys’ have forgotten, it’s the customer’s world and we just live in it. To obtain feedback from a customer is a privilege, not a right. We should be mindful of that when asking for it and even more so when considering how to apply it.

Future Trends in Customer Feedback

Feedback systems will continue to be rolled out. But, can brands look forward to customers informing them of their priorities? Or will consumers begin to find their day becoming ever more polluted with feedback requests and drop them from their daily activities.

My prediction is that feedback will be less readily offered in the future. I was reviewing trends in the customer feedback space for an airline conference presentation and noticed two which will mean we might all have to rethink how we engage customers for feedback:

@VexVox The prickly hedgehog listens to tweeters grumbling about brands and brings it to the attention of others as well as engaging the brands affected. As the volume of followers grows vexvox will have not one or two comments to feedback to brands, but acting on behalf of consumers will have hundreds of similar complaints to bring to the brands attention. With such an easy way of jumping the complaints queue and a no hassle way to attain resolution, feed back surveys will become a less attractive route.

The second is still in development so I can’t share the newco’s details just yet. But the principal is this; ‘your data is your property’ – their genie commercialises it for customers. Sources tell me the customer will trade claimed behaviour data for credits. These will increase in value if the ‘claimed’ matches the ‘actual’ behaviour. One aspect is a ‘catch all’ customer feedback survey option which provides back to the brands structured around what matters to the customer. The customer will be discouraged from using any other form of customer feedback.

Don’t get me wrong the health of the feedback survey sector is very much alive. With TripAdvisor we see that the ‘public’ feedback channel is booming. The difference here is it has a commercial model underpinning it. This form of feedback has a future.

Whereas internal feedback systems will be under threat. It’s time to start thinking about the next generation of customer feedback because consumers are getting tired and impatient at a time when business’ are becoming every more reliant.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Customer Strategy Consultant & Director at Lexden

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Consultancy | Putting your 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.

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 7968 316548. You can also follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter.

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Unordinary Thinking No. 11 – Pizza Express ‘new’ customer experience

When you take a look at the picture there are three elements which you should notice.

Whilst you can’t argue it’s a change table (element 1), you may argue that the new branding (element 2) of Pizza Express does not give it ownership over black and white lines. Whilst I agree, I do applaud their strength to not overhaul the ID in 2011, and opting for a ‘retouch’ instead. And then applying it throughout their livery (I’ve worked with bigger brands who live in a state of limbo between ID’s for years because they ignore the detail).

It is from Pizza Express’ Ocean Terminal restaurant in Leith, which is where I found myself one evening in December, having finished a workshop for a client, with some time for Christmas shopping. And as a father of a 5 and 1 year old I am pleased to see change tables in more and more Gents these days, reflecting the fact that us dads change plenty of nappies too.

But neither of these elements are what grabbed my attention. As a customer proposition and experience strategist, what impressed me was that someone has acknowledged the ‘change of nappy’ experience involves two people; parent (payer) and baby (guest).

By doing so they’ve been able to take a step back to see how both can have a better experience of dining at Pizza Express and simply added a mobile (element 3) above the change table. When you look at it from a parents perspective the mobile is a useful distraction for them, but look at it from the babies perspective it’s a new stimulating entertainment centre to amuse whilst being changed.

Pizza Express also provide crayons and mats for children at the table. They could be there as ‘things to keep the kids quiet, so the adults can talk and order’, but I believe Pizza Express think more deeply than that they will have thought, ‘it’s entertainment for children because we know they think it’s boring waiting for a routine event such as a meal’.

And by thinking like this Pizza Express demonstrates it recognises that everyone is a customer and has needs which should be catered for within their dining experience.

Commercially, the crayons and the mobile might encourage parents to choose Pizza Express over chains without such facilities. But what it really says to me is that Pizza Express has the capacity to step back and look at the wider vista before making changes, ensuring they are to the betterment of all their customers; whatever their age. From branding to baby changing.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

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.

If you like what you’ve read, don’t forget to sign-up to our ‘Putting Customers First’ new Lexden newsletter. June issue out soon. 

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