Customer experience is the main driver of future loyalty. Whatever customers experience, determines whether they will come back and purchase or book again. Or not. It also determines what they will share with others personally, on review sites, and via social media. Customers have much more faith in reviews from total strangers than what brands say about themselves (online and offline).
More than anything else, brand reputation determines the true value of brands. In that sense, experience has become the new battle eld. As a brand, you either choose to differentiate or you become a commodity. There’s not much in between. Differentiation and relevance have become key in every sector. With the growing impact of online shopping and booking, several industries are in jeopardy; and many legacy brands suffer, or have faded away because their approach and offerings simply were not relevant enough anymore.
People are the experience
What hasn’t changed is that, in almost every industry, people still play an important role. They (can) help bring the brand promise to life. In fact, in most cases, people are the experience. Whether you like it or not. Customer Experience is always personal, yet you can determine how you would like to be experienced (as a brand, as an organization, as a leader, as a co-worker, etc.).
Great brands start with a compelling purpose and an appealing attitude. That purpose and attitude can be translated into the stories you want your customers to share. In turn, they can also be translated into the experience customers would need to have in order to be able to share these fan stories. You can then de ne the (optimal) co-worker behavior and interaction. Subsequently you can also de ne the (optimal, stimulating) working climate/service and leadership that will facilitate and stimulate co- workers to portray the optimal behavior and interaction. I call this process Reverse Thinking & Engineering.
Reverse Novel – The End of Customer Satisfaction as we know it
To help you understand (and implement) Reverse Thinking & Engineering I wrote a short “Novel” about Josh Smith. Josh is a retailer who has a hard time coping with the impact of online shopping and the changing customer landscape. When he accompanies his wife Marcia on a business trip to London, he learns how some brands are more successful than others. Bread&Care is the brand that inspires him the most, and Josh starts to adapt several of the lessons he learns for his own bookstore. Josh’s team helps to drive a successful turn- around, which initially becomes an inspiring example for the whole shopping street, and later for many others.