Anyone who has spent time on Virgin Trains will agree the ‘experience’ is different to those on other rail networks. In fact, as I travel on other networks I see more and more of Virgin’s ‘touches’ appearing. However, with Virgin it seems natural because that’s what the Virgin brand investment promises. With others rail companies it often seems awkward and stands out like a sore thumb.
Our preoccupation is to help clients identify what customer experiences drive profit and make those brand differentiating. Simple really. Through years of experience with this focus, we’ve accepted that driving profitable CX is much more likely to succeed when backed by a brand which is:This is the latest in our series of 3 branded experiences in a minute.
- meaningful to its customers so they can extract the value it offers;
- accessible by its employees to translate into meaningful customer experiences;
- envied by their competition who can at best deliver a ‘me 2’ copy of an experience.
Within a minute of arriving on a Virgin Train there are three brilliant reminders of their brand strength, delivered through the least likely of experience opportunities.
This isn’t just any step. Courtesy of the Virgin brand, this is a whooshing, moving into place, Thunderbirdesque gliding Virgin step in to a world of potential (okay, slightly carried away, but you get the picture). It possibly is more attributable to the train manufacturer than Virgin for the steps movement, but none of the other companies have one.. Even if they did, theirs would still be a dirty step on to a train. With Virgin Trains, the brand promise has meant it could be so much more (even when it’s dirty too).
The loo seat
Virgin Trains demonstrate that ‘any’ piece of estate can be leveraged. This message could only come from them though. You will find it on the back of the loo seat on-board, it’s also in the voice over in the loo…..yep the voice over in the loo. It starts as expected with, ‘please don’t flush nappies, paper towels’…but ends in a less expected place with ‘your ex’s sweater, hopes, dreams or goldfish’. This toilet humour would be strange from any other network, even though they have the same infrastructure, but for Virgin it is spot on.
The loo wall
Apologies. My one minute journey took me from boarding to this room! It’s just a wall, surely! On every other train this is no more than a beige bobbly abyss of a wall. But on a Virgin Train it’s an escape route to another world. Admittedly not every other network has a balloon enterprise to throw up, although I couldn’t see that ever stacking up as a, ‘the reason we don’t do it’ response from the competition.
What it does show, to all, is how the less conspicuous and often overlooked spaces have as much a role to play in delivering branded customer experience as the more obvious areas of improvement such as service, comms and technology.
This issue featured Virgin Trains. Click here for our recent blog on Waitrose.
If you want to find out more about how to deliver brand differentiating customer experience, contact us,
We will bring you more 3 in 1 adventures from the world of CX. Next stops will include Citizen M and Mini. If you have a nominee for the 3 in 1 CX equation please send them through.
Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden
We help clients build profitable customer experiences and create commercially advantageous customer value propositions
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