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customer experience

Are you making promises you can’t keep? Now you can’t hide.

By | Branding, customer centric marketing, Customer experience | No Comments

Are you making promises you can’t keep? Chances are you are and now you can’t hide . There is so much pressure to deliver more than the competitor next door that it forces many small businesses to over commit and under deliver. When your service has become a commodity it is a pressure that is constant.

However customers are now seeking authenticity, transparency and collaboration. We want to engage with brands we identify with and trust. To do this we need to be sure that you are going to deliver what you say and keep your promises!  Phoniness can now push consumers away because it is not what it says it is.

Consider clothing retailer Gap Inc. Its advertisements over the past decade, featuring line dancers and celebrities, have had several effects. First, they put off many current customers who saw images portraying Gap as different from how these individuals saw themselves. Gap no longer conformed to (and thereby confirmed) their own self-images. With each successive ad, the Wall Street Journal observed, such consumers grew “tired of [the] trendiness.” Second, in-store displays merely paid lip service to the advertisements — actual interactions with sales personnel fell far short of the energy and enthusiasm displayed in the ads.All Gap stores — thousands of them — look exactly alike.Gap’s advertising says “Unique,” but the in-store experience falls far short of what it says it is.

Or think of any airline, hotel, or even hospital; if you could only check into the ads, you’d have a great experience. When you check into the actual place, however, it so often falls short of what the ads represented. When it comes to the Is What It Says It Is standard of authenticity, the easiest way to be perceived as phony is to advertise things you are not.

The Dove real beauty campaign was such a success because it focused on real promises and achievable success.Your promises don’t have to be extra ordinary but they have to be real.A promise only works as long as it hasn’t been broken.  Don’t make promises you can’t keep because someone who has put their faith in you only to be disappointed won’t make the same mistake twice, and they’ll warn all their friends away from you as well using sites like, trip advisor, product review and more.

My favorite skincare that doesn't cost the earth!

My favorite skincare that doesn’t cost the earth!

But the converse is also true.  When you are able to over-deliver on your promise and give people more than they asked for they will eagerly become your biggest fans.

So if you are going to stand for something and make a promise you better make sure you are going to deliver it every time. Every touch point has to be delivering on that pburgerromise. We know that this has become more critical today than ever before, which is why we have built Strategic Service Design to align your service to the promises it makes.

Worst still is to lie because there is no where to hide. Make good on your promises or you will be out of business.


Coles is listening to me, and won me back!

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight | No Comments

I must admit I am a bit of an Aldi shopper. Basically cos it is cheaper! A whole lot cheaper. I love Aussie Farmers and I do a bit of this too because I am so busy and it is convenient and supports local farmers which for me is important.  This weekend I was in a rush and I knew that Coles would have everything I needed so I went there the first time in months. I am glad I did. They totally got me. They know that they can’t really win on price  with players like Aldi in the marketplace, but they can deliver differentiated product just made for me. They just get me! From packaging kids snacks, to location of stock so it is logical, to pre-packaged meals that take the guess work out of a tasty recipe and (it actually take 15 minutes to make unlike some TV recipes)

shop coles

They have a number of markets I believe they are seeking to serve with clear offerings:


  • The busy mum that is seeking convenience (pre-packaged healthy options for kids and family meals)
  • The Gen X that wants to eat well and try other cultures, ie indian, thai or veggie
  • The retiree that wants the plain label basics to fit the pension budget
  • The person who is trying to loose weight with there Coles Less brand.


So good on you Coles you have won me back. Your options and product packaging have told me that you have gone the extra mile to understand your market and while the teenager on the desk serving me was half asleep and not a least bit interested in conversation, I will forgive you this as it beats the Aldi tolley slug pack and unpack routine any day. If a grocery store can start to think like their customers, why can’t you? It is even more important as a service based business. How can you offer a service that is differentiated? Are you listening to your customers?

PS Lamb shanks that are pre-cooked for 5 hours are dellish!


Learn more at  Strategic Service Design.



If 70% of us pick up a smart device to learn about you, what do we find?

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Service Marketing | No Comments

They find youIn 2012 Google Published ZMOT: Winning the Zero moment of truth. I did an post on this in the impact of multi-devices some time ago. You might think that you have a website, so you are fine right? We now know that customers are checking out 10 sources about us before they engage. In 2010 /2011 the average number of sources used doubled. Now if we are booking a dinner we check out reviews like WOMO, ask our friends on Facebook, go to our Apps. When you are considering a purchase, what sources of information do you seek to assist you with your decision?

The truth is, we decide to share whatever we experience when you are not there and we use digital channels to do that. This shared experience is what others seek out before they engage with you. This social proof is more important than anything else in shaping our opinion. We are looking for substance, personalisation and a shared experience to guide us in our decision making. This is the Informational Experience. Jagan Neman in his book The Shift calls it the Customer Knowledge Chasm.

The ShiftYour website is not enough. The future of your influence lies in the experience. The customers entire journey they have with you, online and off. Someone must take responsibility for these experiences and design and define them. Understanding the customer journey is the only way to see what it is we don’t know and what is missing. We like to call this humanising the experience.

Businesses need to monitor and assess these experiences, and ensure to craft experiences their customers enjoy. One of the key challenges facing businesses in a social economy, however, is that the behaviors of connected customers are no longer congruent with that of the traditional customers they were originally built to serve. In many organizations, customer service is still operated out of a call center; marketing is spread across multiple, yet siloed functions that follow the linear path within a traditional sales funnel; and product development follows a roadmap that looks so far ahead
that it inevitably splits from evolving customer realities and expectations.” The Future of Business


Customer Experience is the best marketing you can do!

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy | No Comments

SSDStrategic Service Design. This methodology has been used to create innovative products and services for sometime but no one has taken this approach to create customer experiences that ensure that your customers feel your empathy, care and support. It is the touch points and memorable moments that you create that can propel your business in this new era of social media and customer led tribes. Customers are in control of our brands and are controlling the conversation more than ever before. We simply have to get better at listening and adapting our experiences to remain competitive.

Here is a slide deck that gives you some great reasons to start looking at how you provide a “Wow” customer experience. I can’t say it better.

Spending more marketing dollars inside your company gives a better ROI

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Employee Experience, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

dreamstime_xs_184674A great article in Marketing Management magazine this month Lippincott a branding strategy company identifies some great insights around why marketing is getting harder because of our customers amplifying every little experience they have, good or bad online. There is no so many forums that is is hard for a small business or any business to control our brands. However, I agree with Marshall and Mayer in that if we and our employees are inspired to work on something that we believe in, and we focus on the “how and why ” it can be felt by our customers.

Marshall and Mayer talk of active your brand to go beyond just the message. Here are the key concepts around how to develop a brand internally and why doing these things can potentially give you a better ROI than spending on marketing tactics externally. An Australian company Atlassian is leading the charge on this front. In Dan’s Pink TedTalk on Motivation, Dan shares how Altassian  give employees the chance to work on anything that relates to our products, and deliver it during ShipIt Day, our 24-hour hackathon.

    “we give employees the chance to work on anything that relates to our products, and deliver it during ShipIt Day, our 24-hour hackathon. Been wanting to build that plugin, redesign that interface, or completely rethink that feature that’s been bugging you? You’ve got 24 hours…go!”
      Why do they do this?
    • Foster creativity – When there’s no rules, anything’s possible.
    • Scratch itches – Every employee has something that bugs them about our products, and ShipIt is the time to tackle it.
    • Get radical, dude – ShipIt gives a spotlight and traction to radical ideas that might not normally be prioritzed.
    • Have fun! – Traditions like ShipIt Day help make Atlassian a more fun place to work.

Dan Pink : The Puzzle of Motivation

  • Creating a movement – Employees are delivering the brand in their own way. When this has a shared sense of purpose that energies employees that creates a movement, not just a communication. This energy and excitement can be felt.
  • Inspiring Belief – Making a story that cements the brand value for employees. Can your employees articulate your core brand pillars? Marshall and Mayer say that the answer is less than 50%. The idea is to translate the brand into a story that is aspirational and more than about money. The story needs to be authentic, real. The story is an anchor point. What are the emotional touch points? Employees need to be empowered to open up the organisation to engage customers. Touch points can be the criteria for membership and send a signal about the brand values. Brand immersion programs like training, emotional content, team collaboration innovations, workspace etc. “Progressive marketers ask themselves if they have an internal culture that can sense what it feels like to be a customer and respond accordingly. Culture and brand gestures are becoming more united.” Marshall states
  • Great video from Madpow on creating a company culture.
  • Enabling ActionCollectively build a valuable customer experience vision. Customer experience mapping.Customer Adovocates. Messaging play books, style guides, branding guidelines. Incentives. Using new methodologies at work including ROWE – Results Only Work Environment. Dan Pink states “Autonomy, mastery and purpose, versus carrot and sticks. And who wins?Intrinsic motivation, autonomy, mastery and purpose, in a knockout.There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. And here is what science knows. One: Those 20th century rewards, those motivators we think are a natural part of business, do work, but only in a surprisingly narrow band of circumstances.Two: Those if-then rewards often destroy creativity. Three: The secret to high performance isn’t rewards and punishments, but that unseen intrinsic drive — the drive to do things for their own sake. The drive to do things cause they matter.”
  • Injecting Catalysts – Customer feedback, employee feedback, brainstorming, outside input, guest speakers, tools to collaborate, whiteboards, chat tools, open spaces.
  • Assessing your brand honestly – is your team energised by the collective mission? Are they involved? Can you articulate it clearly? Do you have a customer experience map? Do employees know how to act to deliver this customer experience? Can you “unstuck” and spur new action with feedback and other activities?

“Brand leaders can’t just set messaging strategy and measure it. They have to dive into the organization itself and address internal barriers to achieving that strategy.” Marshall

This authentic connection to the company’s vision and empowerment of staff to interpret that to create really special customer interactions that are truly memorable and worth shouting about!

Ready to take on the next step of developing your brand from the inside out. Click here.

Synchronise your touch points or loose buyers on their journey.

By | Branding, Content Marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

It is not sufficient to try one tactic and expect a campaign to work well. It usually takes a number of touch points for a customer to be nurtured, trust you and try what you have to offer. It is not like we want to get married on the first date, is it? Well, rarely anyway, and buying something whether it is health insurance, or a new chair, is no difference. Today,the conversation with our customers and prospects, never ends.

A truly great marketing strategy leverages the appropriate marketing tactics in combination that is right for the intended buyer are well synchronised. Most businesses take a fragmented approach to marketing channels. This is becoming every more noticeable with new platforms entering the mix including mobile, apps, SEO, PPC, Social media like Pinterest and more.

In CRM, the focus is the technology organising and automating relationships with customers and prospective customers.It often has a focus upon efficiency rather than upon the customer experience.

Integrated marketing combines three elements that are closely related to service design; an understanding of consumer behaviour, focus upon brand and the link to customer experience. Integrated marketing takes a holistic view of services, in which coordination of touch-points is one major part of linking what is termed contact experiences to the brand:

As a savvy marketer, you need to be able to understand the behaviour of your audience to pick the right mix of tactics and use them at the right time. It takes excellent strategic skills and the ability to translate your marketing into the right messaging to each your target audience. All the data can be found out there but you need to understand it, analyse it and use it! More than this, it takes an empathy for customer buying behaviour that is often missing to ensure that the mix of touch points are appropriate. You need an inside out approach or customer centricity.

To own the buyers journey, we need to have a manageable set of critical touch points that allows us to focus and have a better impact on our customers perceptions. These touch points need to be distinctive, well conceived and synchronised. We need to break down the customer experience into distinct moments from the customers point of view according to AmicusBA whitepaper

  1. Customers’ most urgent needs, insecurities, expectations upon a an approach point?
  2. What transactions and interactions take place?
  3. How should touch-points draw people in?
  4. What products and services, enhancements speak to a customer segments aspirations, motivations and captures your customers attention?
  5. What information is captured?
  6. What knowledge is used and what is shared across other touch points?

Hilton Hotels touch-points they want to own:

1. owning the welcome

2. the guest room first impression

3. The complimentary breakfast offering

4. 100% guarantee of service Talks of different types of touch points in a recent article: Touchpoints Defining various forms of contacts with members.

Company created touch points can be seen as those planned marketing messages. e.g website

Intrinsic touch points are those that are experienced while purchasing or using whatever is being sold.the “how of the experience”

Unexpected touch points are the unexpected references or information about the  prospect receives that cannot be directly controlled by the company. Personal communication, word of mouse communication.

Customer-initiated touch points are those that occur when a customer  contacts the club. ie social media.


How to keep your touch points synchronised – According to

1. Keep the dialogue going and growing

“A dialogue about a company’s product or service on Facebook, for instance, can spill over to Twitter and overnight, lead to a far-ranging conversation with thousands of voices and lots of feedback. By understanding the dynamic and keeping the dialogue going, smart B2B companies can lead the prospect through the conversation to the sales sweet spot: consideration for his or her short-list.”

2. Connect multiple platforms

All touch-points feed one another and become connected in a web of conversation.”A print or on-line ad with a url can lead to a microsite where a corporate buyer can download a white paper or watch a You Tube video offering valued information and insight. Or an outdoor ad can invite corporate prospects to scan a QR code with their mobile device and take them to a microsite with more information.

3. Don’t forget employees!

Employees are a critical part of the customer touch-points for a company

“They are not only the face of the company in every interaction with clients and prospects, they are active in social media, business networking and society in general. Today businesses who empower employees with a compelling brand messaging platform, and help them to understand their importance in their companies’ and their own prosperity, can activate a consistently strong brand identity at thousands of touch points. These companies understand that it is important to link brand strategy with brand behavior so that you not only talk the talk but walk the walk.”


MacInnis Marketing does a customer centricity workshop and maps out the customer touch points based on the following concepts.

1. Mapping the existing situation

2. Identifying the current pain points

3. Which is the best sort of touch point in each case

4. How do all of these touch points create the best customer experience

5. What touch points need to be added or removed

6. Who or what owns each touch point

7. How do we synchronise all the touch points

8. How do we set up feedback systems

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