One of the best ways of explaining how CX works is by giving real life examples of Customer Experience Excellence. We have found genuine customer stories and shared insights into how these bring to life the Six Pillars in our CX framework.
The Six Pillars are based on creating emotional connections with customers and include Personalisation, Integrity, Empathy, Time & Effort, Expectations and Resolution.
Credit Unions give you a hug, while banks give you an interview
Saragh, received a call last week from John – her Credit Union branch manager. John informed Saragh that a loan payment was overdue and they might have to put a black mark beside her name – effecting her credit score and ability to get future loans or a mortgage. Saragh apologised and told John that she was due to be paid at the end of the month and will be able to pay off the outstanding amount. She also promised to set up a standing order. John very kindly told Saragh not to worry and that all she needs to do is pop a cheque through their letter box or come in on a Saturday as they are open.
Saragh told us that the phone call felt like a chat with a friend and at no point did she ever feel stressed. John has managed Saragh’s account since day one and has built a strong relationship with her. John knows that Saragh can be relied upon to keep her promise. He also knew that Saragh is in her mid-20s and a black mark beside her name could lead to all sorts of trouble when she may need a mortgage or future loan.
For the second year in a row The Credit Union were the highest scoring brand in our Customer Experience report. This is due to their remarkable scores in both Empathy and Personalisation. The way John handled the above experience shows us exactly why the Credit Union is excelling in these pillars.
CX isn’t just for big businesses
Using handmade, curved canvasses and frames he paints to the music his customers request. Much like the image on a tattoo, Chris’ artwork will always have a personal attachment to the customer and he has found himself bonding emotionally with each customer while working with them.
One of Chris’ customers recently lost her brother in a terrible car accident. She asked Chris if he could design a butterfly canvass and if she recorded a song for him to paint to. Chris obliged and ended up visiting a recording studio to watch Denise and her husband record their own version of “Dancing in the Sky”. They took the recording back to Chris’ studio and created a living memory of Denise’s brother in this unique painting.
Over the course of the project, Denise and Chris had four face to face meetings and over 1,000 Facebook messages regarding the project. Chris put several projects on hold to see this one out as it had such importance to Denise and he felt it required his full attention.
A few weeks after completing the painting, Chris received the most wonderful thank you card saying: “You will never know how you helped through the darkest time of my life and now I have a smile and most prized possession in my Kitchen”
On a KPMGNunwood questionnaire on Empathy, respondents talk about staff members showing they care in three different ways:
- Pays ‘special’ attention to me
- Goes out of his/her way
- Gave me something extra that I might not expect but will appreciate
Empathy is a way of addressing other people’s feelings in a way that helps them feel good about themselves – and feel good about you.
Chris is able to tick each of the above boxes in what he does with his customers and his business has boomed because of it.
Chris’ profession may allow him to spend more time on each of his customers, but there is still a lesson to be learned for small businesses. SMEs have a significant advantage over larger businesses when it comes to delivering CX Excellence. large businesses have to pass decisions through silos and board members, potentially taking months. Small businesses can be agile and make decisions based on the customers best interest, instantly.
If you would like to learn more about Chris’ work you can visit his page here
Driving the extra mile for a guest
Last month, Von was approached by a customer with a question about the nearest petrol station. He was low on fuel and didn’t think he would make it. Read his story below.
“I arrived at the hotel last week with my petrol tank on red due to missing the previous petrol station. As I had an early morning meeting, I had hoped that I would have passed a petrol station on the way to the hotel. After speaking to the concierge, I discovered that the nearest place for fuel was some distance away, and I certainly did not have enough fuel to get there. When I explained my challenge to him, he immediately took control, and organized for a driver to go and get me petrol. When the petrol arrived they dealt with filling my car. This was all done as I was in my room relaxing. Crown Plaza Concierge Von, thank you for going to the extra mile; very much appreciated. I am not sure how many hotels would have helped as much as you did. Thank you.”
The pillar of ‘Time and Effort’ is often one of the highest-scoring for some of Ireland’s most successful brands. Similarly, it is one that customers attach a particularly high value to. Time is regarded as a precious asset, and one that many people wish to protect at all costs. Removing unnecessary obstacles, impediments and bureaucracy to enable the customer to achieve their objectives quickly and easily have been shown to increase loyalty.
Exceeding expectations is a proven way to increase loyalty
Mark recently tweeted Kimpton Hotel to thank them for the wonderful experience they gave him and his wife.
Mark landed a role in a new company, having left his previous job due to restructuring. The only downside meant having to commute to Chicago, 2,000 miles away from his home in Los Angeles.
Mark is a member of the Kimpton Hotel Karma club and went online to book a stay at the local hotel with his wife, not too far from his home in California.
After making the initial reservation, he received a letter from a member of staff at the hotel. The letter asked about his reason for staying (business or pleasure) and if he had any requirements from the hotel. Mark wrote back to let the hotel know that he would be visiting with his wife for a weekend getaway. He also shared an image of himself and his wife from the last time they visited their hotel.
Upon arriving, they were told that their room had been upgraded. They were given a beautiful room with a view of the Hollywood hills. And to their delight, the image Mark sent was sitting on their bedside table, framed beside a personalised welcoming note. His wife was almost in tears at the gesture! Having been through a difficult few weeks with all the moving around, she could finally relax and put her worries to the side.
Mark said: “Kimpton never ceases to impress me. From goldfish you can “adopt” during your stay, to yoga mats in the closet and a fitness channel on the television. Nearly every property has a signature amenity and you can bet that I will take advantage of every one.”
It is widely accepted that exceeding customer expectations is key to customer satisfaction, delight, and loyalty. Accordingly, it is critical for organisations to try to find out in advance what their customers’ expectations are, because a failure to meet or exceed those expectations could lead to dissatisfaction and defection.
Being a Karma Club member at Kimpton, Mark had his expectations for how his experience would play out. Kimpton didn’t just meet these expectations, they exceeded them.
This experience lead to mark writing a note thanking Kimpton on Twitter, to be seen by a number of his large following.
An unexpected delivery
Upon the recommendation of a colleague I decided to give Tesco online shopping a go. I hadn’t given it much thought before and I felt that maybe it was for people who were doing giant amounts of shopping.
After I registered which was simple enough (I couldn’t find my address, but after a two minute phone call it was easily sorted), I started my first online shopping experience. It was so easy to navigate and for me I loved that you can see a picture of the product so you’re sure that’s what you’re getting. The system really works hard to bring it to your attention if you’ve missed an offer e.g. two for one. I thought that was really nice, and you still see very clearly highlighted all the offers that you would see when in-store. With my feet up and a cup of tea in hand, I did my weekly shop. I just wish I’d done it sooner!
While the experience was a really good one, the biggest highlight for me was the delivery men. They arrived within the delivery slot I’d booked and they carried the two crates of shopping into our home and unpacked the shopping before taking the crates away. While doing that, they were full of enthusiasm, giving us a few tips on how this all works, and their energy and helpfulness really impressed us.
I thought this might have been a once-off but every time since, the delivery men have been exactly the same in terms of energy and helpfulness. The odd time when something goes wrong, they’ve bent over backwards to help me. I’ve never had the same drivers but the type of people have been consistent every time.
Expectations is by far the lowest pillar score in the 2015 and 2016 Ireland Customer Experience Report. In Ireland we are terrible at managing and exceeding expectations. We tend to over promise and under deliver. Brands leap ahead with messages that don’t quite match the experience, leading to expectations not being met. HR plays an integral role in customer experience excellence. Hiring the right staff is key – after all, they are the ones who interact with your customers the most, which means they have a direct impact on the brand’s customer experience. Tesco’s approach to hiring a certain type of driver allows them to exceed customer expectations. I would never have expected the delivery men to be more than just men who deliver.
Expectations are always changing and can be difficult to excel in. The Tesco delivery men gave me a far better experience than the regular in-store staff! The in-store staff are very good, but that’s the challenge of expectations and perhaps why Irish brands struggle to achieve good results. I would expect the in-store staff to be good as they are trained regularly and it’s therefore difficult to exceed them. With the delivery staff, my expectations were much lower and were far exceeded.
Hats off to Tesco!
We are always looking for examples of CX Excellence. If you have any yourself please send it on to us and we will feature it in our blog.