Tag Archives: ritz-carlton

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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5 customer experience examples from the hotel sector

One of the sectors we help brands attract and retain happier customers in is the hospitality sector. It never ceases to amaze me how hotel brands and boutiques push the boundaries in customer experience.

I often think telecom, utility, financial service, retail and local government customer experience teams should run their strategy round tables and improvement workshops from hotels. It would give them a real sense of what level of customer experience their customers are experiencing when they are away from their brands. It would help them appreciate how their endeavours are often compared to brands in completely unrelated sectors and not just their industry peer group.

With this in mind, here are five examples of great customer experience from the world of hotels which consumers who consume from all the sectors mentioned above are experiencing as well. Some we’ve witnessed first-hand, others have been passed on to us by impressed travellers. But they are all great touches which help to create memorable experiences and advocates out of paying guests.

The Andaz Casual Check-in

andaz ambassadorNot a new idea, but a very impactful one. We stayed at Hyatt’s Andaz hotel in London. On arriving into the lobby we were approached by a greeter. Asked to sit in the comfortable lobby area by a greeter with a tablet to hand, complimentary coffee arrived and the greeter checked us in as we sat. On completion a concierge automatically arrived (no doubt triggered by the completion of the check-in transaction) and took our luggage. We then settled back and watched the world go by drinking our coffee. We ccouldn’thave felt more valued or welcomed. No wonder the hotel achieves a 91% rating and is in the top 5% of London hotels on Trip Advisor.

Premier Inn Family Proposition

premier inn doorThis example proves you don’t need big budgets or luxury brands to deliver exceptional customer experience. Premier Inn demonstrate how you can repackage existing assets to meet customer’s needs better. The low cost hotel has introduced a most impressive proposition; the ‘silent please’ family ground floor. I stayed there with my family whilst visiting my brother in Staffordshire last year. We were put on the ground floor and asked to ‘Shhhhh’ between 7pm and 10am. Having stayed in hotels when our children were babies and been woken by guests not unreasonably chatting in the corridors at not unreasonable times, this idea is helpful when settling children for the night. But it was the lovely touch of an extra spy hole for children on the door which I felt added fun to the experience. It was something for the kids which proved a great novelty. A great and relatively low cost addition to reinforce their family appeal.

Conrad’s Sleep Academy

conrad sleepWhilst on the subject of sleeping, Conrad in Chicago has taken the humble pillow to a new level of consumer choice. Whilst some hotels offer a choice of ‘soft’ to ‘hard’ when you book or as you check in, Conrad has created its own Sleep Menu website with a range of sleep services for guests. Of course you can choose the pillow of your choice, but extras like ear plugs, quilt turn downs, night caps, lip menders, moisture lock socks and wake up calls have all been packaged under this fun proposition. Using services which any hotel could provide, plus a few more to be distinctive, the way it is presented creates a memorable experience which reinforces the attention to detail only associated with a brand like Conrad.

Ritz-Carlton Values Delivered

I am sure you’ve heard this one before, but it’s a compelling demonstration of what you can achieve when you set your customers satisfaction bar as high as creating “unique and memorable” experiences.  Taken from Bloomberg Business Week, “One family staying at the Ritz-Carlton, Bali, had carried specialized eggs and milk for their son who suffered from food allergies. Upon arrival, they saw that the eggs had broken and the milk had soured. The Ritz-Carlton manager and dining staff searched the town but could not find the appropriate items. But the executive chef at this particular resort remembered a store in Singapore that sold them. He contacted his mother-in-law, and asked that she buy the products and fly to Bali to deliver them, which she agreed to do.”

Each day at around the world, employees from every department gather for a 15-minute meeting, known as a “lineup”, to review guest experiences, resolve issues, and discuss ways to improve service. Once basic housekeeping items are out of the way, the time is spent reinforcing the brands service values with employees using guest example storytelling to explain how they have delivered against them.

Hilton Double Tree’s Cookie Miracle 

hilton cookiePeople have told me (more than once) that they choose Double Tree because they get a cookie! When you think how big an impressive a hotel building and the resources needed to run it are, it sounds ludicrous. But what matters to me as a guest, is not the same as what matters to the hotel always. The cookie represents the personal touch, it’s a gesture demonstrating care and consideration. Virtues a guest unknowingly extends to every aspect of the hotel because until they’ve experienced it they only have the cookie as evidence of it. As they put it, ‘there is something special about a warm, yummy chocolate chip cookie. It says “Welcome” in so many ways’. 25 years later and with an annual production run of 21 million cookies, it keeps delivering the values they wish to demonstrate better than any ad or promotion can.

These are 5 examples from one industry, but the sentiment of the examples can be shared and delivered across many others. If you’ve enjoyed this selection you might want to check out our 5 great automotive customer experience examples too.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and 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 (0) 7968 316548. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.