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How a brand lives and dies by the customer experience

Take a moment to think about the brands you love or admire.  Why do you feel that way about them?  Did they do something that created an emotional response within you?

What about the companies you dislike?  I would place a bet that something you experienced when dealing with them, or something you heard about, caused you some frustration or anger.

For businesses, it doesn’t matter how much people need their brilliant product or service; giving their customers a poor experience means they might not go anywhere near them again and they will probably tell loads of other people how they feel too.  Social Media and the ability to access reviews through many online platforms simply exacerbates the situation; one ‘disappointed’, ‘zero stars’ review could lead to dozens of people avoiding that business like the plague.

In contrast, companies generating multiple, repeat business through customer advocacy and word of mouth recommendations are quids in.  Marketing activities for businesses like these can work so much harder for the money because there’s very little negative fog to cut through.

Think about TSB and the hard work and money they invested in launching as a new challenger bank, supporting local communities, sponsoring the Pride of Britain awards and generally positioning themselves as the newly-emerged good guys of the UK banking world.  One IT disaster and the stories of personal hardship and distress experienced by their customers in the fallout has turned all that hard work on its head.  It was recently reported that TSB could lose up to £150m as a result of this issue and their reputation with customers has been possibly tarnished beyond redemption.

Contrast that with First Direct bank, who have been consistently rated a best in class as a banking provider for a number of years.  Their secret is simply that everything is designed around the customer.  Their net promoter score (an indicator of advocacy and recommendation) is above 70 compared to an industry average of 18.  A high net promoter score can help with significantly driving down acquisition and retention costs. First Direct have even survived a system outage in 2011 and were one of the first banks to remove unconditional free banking in 2017 but their customer-centric approach to dealing with recovery of service and change minimised any dent in their reputation as a result.

Throughout my working life I’ve always been passionate about the importance of the customer and how important it is to prioritise the customer experience.  I’m hoping to bring that to my new role as Account Director at Thrive, not only in how we deal with our customers, but in also helping clients to ensure their marketing approach is customer focused.


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