June 4, 2018

On Rollercoasters and Customer Experience

We love visiting theme parks, they’re environments dedicated to the sole purpose of having fun with friends and family. However, it’s not just the rides that keep us coming back, it’s the entire customer experience. From finding pre-visit information to home time, every stage is a positive. The use of apps, wayfinding, information points, rest areas, music, souvenir film records of our visit, smell etc. all carefully considered to enhance the overall customer experience and lure us back.

But for the owners of some retail and mixed-use destinations, sadly, too many consumers still endure unsettling experiences as a result of the inconsistent delivery of the end-to-end customer experience (CX). So the question is, how can this be fixed?

The first point to consider is a change in mind-set. Too many organisations are still focused on ‘making money first’, with the customer coming a distant second. Change this up – simply put the customer at the centre of all your thinking. The money will follow.

Secondly consider that with rising customer expectations, good service is no longer enough. Customers want unique, special and innovative experiences –  they want ‘hyper-personalisation’. This involves organisations moving away from process standardisation, towards a more agile approach to experience personalisation. With advanced data analysis and burgeoning AI capabilities, we should be able to provide personal, omnichannel experiences to customers. As more companies figure out how to do this, customers will come to expect it, or leave.

Thirdly, understand that customer experience doesn’t just involve awe and delight, as much as you might read this on social media. It’s much more about making each experience effortless for customers. Customer surveys, deep dives into customer service contacts, and conversations with key customers are great ways to fuel continuous improvement. In our time we’ve asked many customer service professionals and customers alike for their feedback and we’ve never been short on insights on potential improvements.

As a starting point, consider a CX journey audit as a good way of reviewing all of your brand experience touchpoints, to see how you stack up. What does your brand say, how easy is it to move around your space, how comfortable is it to socialise in and how do customers access information, or personalised suggestions, to help plan and enjoy their visit?

Visiting a mixed-use leisure destination should (in a different way) be as enjoyable as visiting a theme park, but the customer journey shouldn’t be a rollercoaster ride. A CX strategy that smoothly considers the end-to-end customer journey will help to boost footfall and sales, get an edge on the competition and ultimately enhance asset value.