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  • Richard Hewitt

Get the Customer Experience Right, and the Rest Will Follow

Updated: Oct 1, 2019

They say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. And how astute this age-old saying is when it comes to the commercial world. Putting this into concrete figures, we find that driving down your customer defection rate by a seemingly measly 5%, can bolster your profits on a staggering scale of between 25% and 125%.

But as obvious as customer retention is, far too few businesses have gotten to grips with holding onto their existing consumers. At the core of which, is customer experience. So, what can you do to design an experience worthy of creating loyal customers?

Be everywhere, consistently. Deliver a constant experience, no matter where or how.

Consumers now expect more – they demand a seamless experience, Millennials being the perfect example. 68% of whom have stopped doing business with a brand due to a single poor customer service experience, and who expect customer service to be delivered to the same standard cross-channel – over phone, email, social and chat. This is also all whilst 42% of the wider consumer world expect a response to their social query in under an hour.

To meet the new level of expectation, you need a wholly integrated customer experience. You need to harness every digital medium for a single, integrated customer experience. Known as being omnipresent, this challenge is no small feat. And beyond digital means, the customer experience out there in the ‘real world’ must match up – speaking of which comes an unlikely brand showing us all, in any industry, how it’s done...

A revolution and Ryanair

Ryanair was renowned for its brashness, its carefree nature and branding that was borderline rude, and out and out brazen (though in their words, they were “straightforward, rough and ready”).

Today, revolution is afoot – and a transformation of the Ryanair image is being powered by focusing on the customer experience. Namely their laser-precise focus on:

  • A newfound openness to listen to customers

  • Branding values of low fares and better service

  • The use of data and digital mediums to achieve both conversion and retention

  • The development of a quality product, minus the low cost leadership

  • Innovation across mobile, Google and content

  • The introduction of new capacities, bases and routes

Now (and just as surprisingly) on the flip side of the coin, there is British Airways – a brand long since linked to luxury, to the epitome of extravagance, and to an elevated customer experience. And yet they’ve eradicated free meals and drink on short haul flights, suffered serious technical issues (and handled them badly) and now have staff who are threatening to strike over a bitter and long-running pay dispute saga.

Could it be that the tides are turning, that BA are suffering from seismic shifts not helped by their seemingly newfound ambivalence to experience, and their customers’ willingness to tell all and sundry over social platforms. Not least of which has been Brian May’s rant about the poor re-design of business class– lamenting the “junk between the seat and the window” (an open and shut case of poor design if ever there was one – a point it doesn’t take a design research agency to see).

It seems that Ryanair knows something that British Airways doesn’t. That the customer experience is the be all and end all and laurels are not to rested on, no matter the track record. As for the wider business world, these examples show that customer experience is a challenge to be tackled with explicit design efforts.

As for your next steps...

The designing of business processes can complicated, to say the least. And the crafting of them in a way that positively reflects in delighted customers and a faultless experience, as standard, well that can be quite another – tricky? Most certainly. Overwhelming, always, without the right expertise.

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