Two centuries after the industrial revolution, technological changes have transformed service delivery models and the way the Customer Experience is designed.
Some companies are significantly investing in delivering the optimal Customer Experience by developing a great mobile application with an eye-catching design and user-friendly interface. Other companies are putting a lot of effort in how to speed the product delivery using outsourced delivery mechanisms such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats in the food industry, while others are elevating the customer service standards by choosing the best calibers to deal with its customers aiming to deliver seven star services. However, what is the best customer acquisition strategy?
Mapping the to-be customer journey or designing the ideal Customer Experience is necessary to aggregate all your customer touchpoints when they are dealing with your brand.
According to Colin Shaw, Founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, in his book Revolutionize Your Customer Experience, the Customer Experience is a state of mind where the consumer is influenced by, impacted, or connected with the brand.
The seven pillars that can summarize the ideal Customer Experience are:
- It delivers a long lasting competitive advantage
- Consistently meets and exceeds customers’ expectations (subjective and physical aspects)
- Focusing on the emotional experience
- Designed by inspiring leadership, and enabled by empathetic and happy
- Customer centric and designed outside-in rather than inside-out
- Focusing on efficiency for both customer (lower cost) and companies (effective operation)
- Embodiment of the brand
I believe that companies should focus on all dimensions related to the Customer Experience, but at the same time should particularly focus on the brand promise.
Brand promise is an extension of the company’s positioning; it is what the customers are expecting to receive. In fact, it is the brand’s fruit – the tangible benefit that makes your brand desirable.
Promoting brand promise could be as simple as focusing on one aspect such as delivering the best taste experience for your food and beverage products, or it could be as sophisticated as promising to deliver all-encompassing experience such as Coca-Cola’s promise to “refresh the world” in mind, body, and spirit; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions; and to create value and make a difference.
Customer perception is indirectly linked with your brand promise. No-one can deny the great experience customers have when they visit IKEA, because this experience is usually linked with IKEA’s brand promise (to provide well-designed quality products at an affordable price), so a customer’s mindset is linked with good design and affordable prices. In fact, a unit’s installation might not be an easy experience, and customers might be confused inside the store moving from section to section, and spend an hour to buy four plates and two cups. However, they are still happy because they received what they have been promised.
In Dubai and the wider UAE , there is a famous seafood restaurant, Bu Qtair, whose primary and only focus is on the taste experience of its customers, and its implicit brand promise is to provide the most delicious plate of seafood. Funny enough, there is no menu, just a couple of basic items that customers can choose from.
It’s also a self-service restaurant where customers queue and wait for almost 10 minutes before ordering and paying, then wait 25 minutes more to get their meal. However, this restaurant is ranked with five-stars on TripAdvisor and one of the most popular in Dubai.
The airline Ryanair is another example of providing untraditional Customer Experience by tagging prices on basic services such as baggage, credit card usage, and providing water. Ryanair offers no airsickness bags, no blankets, and has very tight chairs. However, it has been Europe’s most profitable airline for years, carrying over 131 million passengers annually. It is all about the company’s brand promise – to deliver the cheapest airline experience, and, accordingly, customer perception is linked with the cost.
In Cairo/Egypt, Sobhy Kaber is another example of focusing on brand promise; a restaurant where people literally are eating on the street, sitting on benches rather than tables, and queuing for almost one hour to be seated. However, what customers remember and mention in their feedbacks on social media is the delicious taste of the food.
Companies working without a brand promise are floating with the waves by putting maximum efforts in each touchpoint, which cost both efforts and resources. If today’s overall Customer Experience is good, the brand image will be positive, while if the customer faces any difficulty in one of the touchpoints tomorrow, this will lead to a negative brand image.
Concisely, companies need to consider and focus on all aspects related to their customer journey, but special attention and focus should be given to the brand promise which customers will remember more.