Brand Builders - Key to Success

Customer Experience - Ep 04

Bad customer experience is one of the main causes for people to leave a brand. There is no better time to get to know your customer, than now. What they want? Who they are? What drives them? What are their needs? Is your customer experience best suited for them? Anticipating if there are areas within the purchasing process, which by nature may cause pain or aggravation or frustration. These are only but, a few of the things to assess when looking to improve customer experience and a good starting point toward creating a brand relevant to your customer.

Marius: 00:00 Good afternoon.

Kyle: 00:02 Good Afternoon Marius.

Marius: 00:04 Thank you for joining us again. Today, we are going to take it a step further by saying and I'm going to leave the microphone to you now. The brand has been established. Everything's wonderful. Training has been given. All my staff are on board and then we expect the first comers customers to come in. Whether they buy a hamburger or a pair of takkies. It doesn't matter. And then they've got a very very bad customer experience. Now the brand's been built but the service is absolutely horrendous. What does that mean for the business?

Kyle: 00:37 Well, it will basically mean that you're not going to be building your brand for very long. Bad customer experience is the number one cause for people to need a brand. So I think that even if the product is awesome, even if the burger tastes great or the pair of shoes really worked well, if your customer experience is not up to scratch they'll start looking around for another competitor that maybe sells something that's similar or close to it but has a much better customer experience. So it hurts your competitiveness. So ja, it's exceptionally important.

Marius: 01:15 Now we've built it. We're there. As I've just said. Do we have to revert back to those people who built the brand for us and together with us over a long period of time or do you, as somebody that knows what's going on, leave this in the hands of the businessman and his team by themselves? Or are you guys still involved after the fact Kyle?

Kyle: 01:37 No, well look that's the whole purpose of the series of discussions I'm having with you. Idea Power comes from a brand communications space. So we're the type of people that go out there with a [00:01:50] loud. Hey listen [0.8] and tell people about how great or awesome your business is because what we realise that the client needs assistance from the other side of the coin so to speak. Making sure that the product and the service is great and everything's coming together so that the marketing and the brand experience are all coming together in the same direction. Otherwise the money that they fundamentally spend on marketing is wasted. So we've developed a process of helping the client develop their brand on the inside and one of the focus areas within that process is customer experience. [00:02:25] So what we do with that, the first point is, we do a thing that we build on throughout the process, is knowing [5.5] your client. Knowing your customer really really well and that's the first thing that we will look at, is knowing your customer. Who they are. What do they want. What drives them from day to day depending on their needs and where they are. And then we analyse your customer experience and compare it to this customer, this client that you want to service. Is it the best match for them? Are there areas within it which are going to, by nature caused pain or aggravation or frustration through the process? I mean, if anyone has sat in a queue for anything, you know that that is a big frustration. So how do you optimise that?

[00:03:08] How do you make it permanent? [1.2] And a really simple example of this, if you go to say that you can pay and you'll notice that all the queues are for the individual tills but if you go to Makro you see, I don't know if it's throughout, but most the Makro's is just one long queue. And they've actually proven that psychologically people feel better about that because they don't have this stress of having to choose the shortest queue. You know what I mean? You know when they're walking around in a grocery store and you're like "Oo no, which one to pick?" Then you get these people that are shuffling between queues and they've found that that is not only incredibly inefficient but it causes massive point of frustration for their customers. So if you look at your better grocery shops, this is either they actually structure their checkout point. Where everyone goes into one long queue because everyone's in the same queue, it feels like the queue is moving faster because it's moving along and people feel better about it. And overall, if you take your average weight across the board it is quicker. So this is just one point where people looked at the customer experience and said "how do we make that better". Other things could be like having your booking thing online. We have a few clients within the healthcare space and something that's really hopefully going to become a driving innovation of health care, is going to be being able to book an appointment with your healthcare provider at any time we like. So in other words, not that they are available but you will have access to their diary or their calendar at 10 o'clock at night whenever you think and seeing when you can get availability with him. Giving you real time feedback as to whether you can get that appointment tomorrow. So I think those are just some of the examples, very broad of where people have looked for those pain points with the customer and seeing people get really frustrated because they need to book an appointment. They have to wait until 8 o'clock in the morning and then they phone and the line is busy and etc. So if you make online booking available of an appointment that's going to take away a bit of pain for the patient. It's going to make our brand better. So much so that this technology is such a driver of demand within the American market that if you are a five star provider, in terms of your knowledge and expertise. A four star provider will outperform you on sales if you are more convenient. In other words you have this online booking system available.

So for me it's quite an interesting thing. And then I guess, the next thing is to identify opportunities where you can add value to your customer, to your clients. Being that, let's say for example you're selling a piece of meat. Being that an easy access to a recipe or some good cooking tips that go on the packaging or an indicator on the packaging to say when the product is no longer suitable to be eaten or not. Castle are famous for now doing a little sticker that goes on they can that tells you when the beer is supposedly cold enough to drink. I think they're just trying to mask the taste personally. [Laughing] But thats an aside point anyways. And you know, you got to look for those little opportunities. They don't have to be complicated. It can be a little thing like having someone that answers the phone and talks to people like human. I mean that sounds like fairly basic but if I look at a lot of small businesses, they are guilty of people that are grumpy answering a phone. So look for those opportunities because I bet that if you look at a lot of your customers and you phone someone and you say why don't you use us, you'll find that there will be a large percentage of those people I would imagine based on my experience anywhere from 25 to upwards of 50 percent of people will leave a brand because they had a bad personal engagement. In other words there was someone that made me feel uncomfortable or talked to me in a bad tone of voice. They shouted at me or something about that. And let's imagine that you have a competitor that has something very similar in terms of the product or the service, I'll rather go to those people and see what they're experience is like. So in other words, how did you make me feel during the process? Did you make me feel taken care of? You know what I'm saying Marius? In terms of when you go to a place and you just walk out there and you go "wow" that was a great experience. I just felt it was awesome. Whereas if you walk in there and it feels like you've walked out you're really depressed. It's kind of like going to Home Affairs to apply for a passport. You know what I'm saying? So if you want to look at a great customer experience you can go to Home Affairs and you can use that as the antithesis of a great customer experience [Laughing].

Marius: 07:55 You don't on that one. [1.1] Unfortunately, not me. Kyle, I need to ask a question. While we're on the point, is the feedback that you get after something's happened or after an incident occurred where you might have felt, you know, the service [00:08:12] was not as I got used to [2.3] or it was just plain bad. If we take this Spur example that happened a year or so ago where the food wasn't bad. There's nothing wrong with the food. People didn't fight one another over hamburgers. But the experience inside and then afterwards the feedback that the franchise had given, that cost them a lot of time. It cost them a lot of money and it cost them a lot of patrons. In your experience, if something like that happens, [00:08:47] how important for me having a brand is it actually? [4.7] To give proper feedback and then stay with that and not just make as if it will blow over.

Kyle: 09:00 It's critical and I think that the Spur example was a great example of where they say you making a mountain out of a molehill or they had a molehill and it became a mountain because of the way that brand responded. That alienated part of their market and as a brand who are you to judge who was right or wrong. I think what I would have done is as a brand, was I would have responded with how are we training our staff? How are we equipping them to deal with these areas of conflict and to be very apologetic. I would have actually tried to make it more, how can I say reconciliatory in terms of seeing both sides of the story because you know the video that went viral was only one side of the story. So I think there was a great example of poorly executed brand communication and the way that the brand went about it and they kind of stuck their heads in the sand so to speak and hope that this thing was going to blow over. It really did hurt them very much so. I mean I even heard of it through other clients that are further down the supply chain. You know that they were suffering as a result of this business going down. So very important to be able to reply and respond properly to people.

Marius: 10:23 I can actually sum that up for myself in terms of a brand saying that all the money in the world, all the effort that you've actually put in and your team is behind you. All that can become quickly undone if something like that happens. You know, you build the brand and and whatnot. And I'm asking the question for obvious reasons again Kyle. All of us aren't builders of brands. We're not engineers of sorts, in terms of that. My question remains for today. Is it necessary for somebody like you, a brand engineer to stay involved after the fact? After we've built it. To give us a bit of target you know, the headway. Where are we going? That direction that we use. Is it important for us to keep with you?

Kyle: 11:16 Well look, I mean obviously my answer is going to be a little bit subjective because obviously I'm coming from the service provider's point of view but the answer from my side is obviously yes. And the fundamental reason for that is because there will be things like this happen. I mean we had a client, recently that was taken to court by the Competition Commission. I'm not going to get into the details of the case because that's obviously not the point [00:11:40] but the client was highly emotional wanted to make, with uncertain. [5.2] Do I make a shoot from the hip response etc? And at the time we actually advised them to just stay the course and see where this thing would go. And we just sent out statements that we fully cooperating with the investigation and we didn't make any comment here or there on the validity of the charges at the time. Anyways, and that kind of ended up going the way we thought it was which is that it kind of petered out into nothing. So there was a nice opportunity where the client would have, as I say put petrol on the fire by starting to get quite defensive and reacting. And I found that our involvement was really valuable to them because we were an emotional support to the client. We will say look, remember we're building this brand. We were able to assess the impact of the statements so we looked at it from a media point of view. How many people had started to see the thing? How many people are sharing it? Are people talking about it? We constantly monitored the social media channels and their websites and their phone lines to see if people were actually phoning in and complaining.

So in other words, [00:12:50] we were looking at it and saying, is this hitting Joe Public that's purchasing a product? [4.8] And you know, and that kind of thing. So they knew they had a partner with them that had their back and that they were going to react to this thing as quickly as possible. And in the correct manner. I think that's really critical. I mean, I don't know who Spur, who they use and who they don't use for their brand communication. And I don't know if you know, if it was a management decision. I don't exactly know any of that detail but all I can say is that was, for me, a case of my experiences are more than often than not whether the client makes a call on how they are going to respond rather than them consulting a professional and being and looking at it objectively.

Marius: 13:36 Fantastic. Look, there's so much to learn. I mean, if you're a budding businessman and these things need to happen and the band's there. All I'm saying is you know to keep a good thing running, stay with the professionals like yourself. Kyle, from Idea Power, thank you so much. It's been exhilarating as usual and we look forward to the next instalment next week.

Kyle: 14:00 Great. Thank you Marius. Pleasure sharing with you guys.