By Phil Blundell, Executive Director, The Edge
The Importance of the Customer Experience
Any business that doesn’t care about the satisfaction of its customers’ cannot expect those customers to care about the services or products offered to them by that business. Sad but true. The sooner a business recognises that fact the better it will go on to perform, building greater customer loyalty and genuine customer affection for that business or brand.
A high standard of customer service has the potential to win your customers’ hearts, making you both recognisable and desirable. But in this day and age when the immediacy and reach of social media plays such a critical role in influencing other people’s attitudes and behaviors, making decisions and changing the opinions of its customers is something that a business simply cannot control any more.
Where once customers of a business only had their own customer experience stories to fall back on, now they can read or listen to the stories of countless others. So god help the business that doesn’t genuinely respect the power of the bad customer experience, allowing the disenfranchised to sway opinions and potentially erode all those years of building a once loyal, happy customer base.
But how many businesses genuinely embrace the importance of the customer experience – actively embedding it within the brand’s DNA and investing a decent chunk of the annual marketing budget to ensuring that its own employees are fully trained and understand what is being asked of them?
Sadly not as many as you would expect. So often a business will slavishly sign-off on a multi-million-pound advertising and marketing program designed to attract potential customers, but if the resultant experience they receive doesn’t live up to the hype, then those hard-won customers are far more likely to desert to pastures new.
What is needed is a properly market-researched, well designed and actively implemented customer experience program. One that is not just a glorified tick box exercise for the here-and-now, but something that has genuine long term staying power, running continually and keeping your business ahead of your competitors.
Even the once non-caring Ryanair changed its mind on the subject. Historically having built its brand on low prices, the airline finally admitted that it had failed to see customer experience as a business priority. So to its credit, in 2014 it ate humble pie and launched a major investment program designed to make customers ’happy’.
The Role of Film
Over the last 25 years, The Edge has produced countless Customer Experience films for the likes of British Airways, General Motors, Greene King, HSBC, Marks & Spencer and Tesco. Many of them award-winning. Films that were deliberately designed to lie at the very heart of are fully structured customer experience learning programs – often raising average (or even good) service into GREAT service.
So why film? Because it’s a proven way of hooking an audience emotionally, grabbing their hearts and minds and making them see what is being asked of them. The hairs standing up on the back of the neck…. The lump in the throat…the tear in the eye… All natural reactions to the effectiveness of powerful customer experience films. A method of story-telling that is able to make an audience actually care about the people being portrayed in the film… Let alone make them realise how they themselves would feel if they were on the receiving end of such poor service.
The result? A highly trackable change in the attitudes and behaviours of a previously latent workforce, now empowered and made to realise the importance of a great customer experience and their role as a customer experience ambassador. Inspired and made to feel proud to offer the very best service to every customer, regardless of whether they work in a customer-facing role or remotely at Head Office.
Implemented properly, just imagine the direct impact an empowered workforce of 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 people could have on the experience of your customers, creating further entrenched loyalty and a deeper love for your brand or business.
Many of our most successful customer experience films and interactive learning modules combine the power of drama, music and great storytelling to powerful effect. Often these stories are based on real-life customer experiences, as this gives them an authenticity, believability and relevance that makes the films actionable in the minds of a previously disengaged audience.
Indeed our first ever customer experience film for Tesco proves this point entirely, at the time improving the MORI verified store exit scores of customers to such an extent, that this memorable film-led internal campaign is still fondly remembered by many employees who worked there nearly 20 years ago!
To see some of our customer experience films please contact us.