Recently Nunwood, a multi-award winning branding agency, compiled a report focusing on the UK’s top 'Customer Experience Leaders' and their methods for attracting and keeping customers long term. The Nunwood Customer Experience Excellence report, now in its 3rd year, focused on 10 of the leading brands in the country, including Amazon, John Lewis and Virgin Atlantic.
Overall the report emphasizes the importance of personalizing the customer’s experience and investing in employee skills in areas such as employee development and motivation. For example, by creatively engaging an employee, many companies aim to improve customer experience as a result.
Additionally it recommends that employees should be empowered to make sensible decisions in favour of the customer, meaning that company regulations should become more flexible on customer service issues. Not only should employees successfully complete a transaction; employees should also be expected to provide information, educate customers about the company and endeavor to build friendly relationships.
Companies also are increasingly placing emphasis upon the emotional factors of consumers, in the hope of making a deeper connection to ensure loyalty of a customer. As a result, the interest in pricing wars with other companies is declining as the leading companies try more imaginative methods to compete.
Interestingly the report offers a ranked leadership table for each of the 10 companies in the spotlight with Amazon emerging as the overall winner - praised for the usability of their website with customers being able to search easily for the product they want along with a guaranteed fast payment process, due to their ability to store customer details. John Lewis are commended on the integration between their stores, website and mobile shopping enabling a seamless, effortless customer experience. One of Lush's noted strengths is their ability to listen to customers needs, enabling the customer to buy the products exactly right for them, thus prioritizing a customers needs over sales targets. Lush successfully engages the senses through sight, smell and touch which addresses a major point of the Nunwood report; attention is shifting towards human/emotional factors in sales. Virgin Atlantic owes some of its success to its market-leading in-flight entertainment and that the cabin staff leave the customer feeling like VIPs.
The overall message of the Nunwood report is compelling; the significance of ‘doing right by the customer’ has a very powerful effect on consumer loyalty. Although, of course, ultimately such a 'doing-right' approach will be dependent on power-brand management tactics including: thoughtful recruitment, relationship building, listening to customers needs, resolving issues quickly, empowering employees to make decisions based on customer needs and utilizing available technology to enhance the customer experience. These methods demonstrate a genuine commitment to service, which ultimately delivers the promise that is used to seduce the customer.
Full report available here.