Thursday, 18 February 2010

Waitrose must not park this issue

I was very surprised to read that a number of Waitrose customers are getting agitated about their customer service failings [see article]

The problem stems from the fact that they have been heavily penalised for parking for longer than the permitted 2 hours.... then, when they approach Waitrose, they get a response from the customer service department saying that car parking and this grievance is outsourced to Britannia Parking.

Big mistake.


Firstly because this is not how people expect Waitrose to behalf (Waitrose were ranked 2nd on the UK Customer Service Index).

Secondly because if it continues to be handled inadequately it could get out of hand. We see time and again how this type of story can build momentum, given the infectious and potentially dangerous power of social media, and that it may well escalate dramatically if it starts to be re-tweeted on Twitter [see lessons from Dominoes].

That would be a shame because in almost every other aspect of their business they deliver brand experiences that delight. A key success driver on the path to advocacy

Waitrose should quickly review this issue, their approach to car parking, and manage it smarter before it gets out of hand.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

John Lewis tops customer service rankings

I have raved about John Lewis before.

It is no surprise to me to see that they have just come top of the UK Customer Service Index.

These are the top 10 brand organisations:

  1. John Lewis
  2. Waitrose
  3. Marks & Spencer (food)
  4. Toby Carvery
  5. Marks & Spencer
  6. Virgin Holidays
  7. RAC
  8. First Direct
  9. Marriott
  10. virgin Atlantic

They are all great brands, but why does John Lewis win?

That is easy....because good customer service is a core part of its corporate culture.

They really walk the talk.

It is a great store, with great staff, who are empowered to deliver consumers with brand experiences that delight, and sometimes even WOW.

That's how they get people to shop there again and even tell their friends about it.

What else can I say?

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Beer brand mischief

This is a great idea.

Picture the scene.

You are in the bar with your mates.

Your mobile is your girlfriend, wife, partner...

What do you do?

You step into an sound proof 'excuses booth' that provides a range of background sound effects (hospital, traffic jam, gym, etc) that you can play as you answer the phone - this enables you to create the impression that you are not in a bar with your mates..

This tactic is harmless fun that will get a brand noticed in a bar (a key moment of truth) and talked about.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

A brand's actions speak louder than their (advertising) words

Most parents out there will recognise the phase:"Actions speak louder than words." It is something we might say when the kids promise they will behave..but then don’t!

It reminds me of the way too many brands behave.

You know the drill... see see a nice glossy TV ad with a message promising that brand blah cares about their customers... then experience first-hand the misery of trying to speak with an overseas outsourced call centre. are dealing with a brand organisation that states on their website, internal posters, etc, that customer service excellence is one of their corporate values - but their front desk staff behave like they don’t give a damn.

This is business suicide because when a brand says one thing and does another, consumers get hacked-off.

For me it is simple.

Brand organisations must consider the brand experiences they deliver at every consumer touchpoint (maybe using the path to advocacy framework), and break-down silos to ensure they promise, deliver and delight consumers - because that's how to drive loyalty and maybe even advocacy (two success drivers)

“Actions speak louder than words” should be the mantra of every brand organisations.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Do you need Superman to build a winning brand experience?

I think Seth Rocks, which is why I read and reference his blog a fair bit.

He recently talked about a book that pointed out that comics work because the readers’ imagination fills the gaps in-between the frames.

He then suggests that marketing works in exactly the same way.

He is absolutely right. (Of course.)

He says:

“Marketing is what happens in between the overt acts of the marketer. Yes you made a package and yes you designed a uniform and yes you ran an ad... but the consumer's take on what you did is driven by what happened out of the corner of her eye, in the dead spaces, in the moments when you let your guard down.”

That is why it is vital to ensure you are delivering a consistent brand experience at every stage of the consumers’ path to advocacy.

To do that every part of the brand organisation has to be involved.

Get it wrong (via poor customer service, a rubbish web-site, etc) and you’ll turn-off consumers...they stop buying and tell their mates about how crap your brand is.

Get it right...and ideally WOW them...and they may buy again and recommend you to their mates.

It may require some superhuman time and effort to build winning brand experiences but it is worth it.

I suggest you get the right people in a room....think about the brand experiences consumers are currently having (use the path to advocacy framework)...and make them better.

This is a proven way to build your business.