Align pleasure peaks with brand values: customer experience 6

Post by Anna Eggleton, Managing Partner and Head of Service Brand

This is the sixth in a series of posts on how to make your customer experience more distinctive. This post looks at the importance of creating "pleasure peaks" to reinforce your brand's distinctiveness. 

Whilst it is important to understand the whole customer journey trying to excite and delight customers across the total journey can is prohibitively costly and unlikely to succeed. Furthermore, research we posted on here shows that customer satisfaction is driven not by average levels of satisfaction but rather on the "peak" experience when pleasure is the highest, and how the experience ends. 

The most distinctive service brands focus enhancing pleasure on those parts of the customer journey that reinforce their brands distinctiveness, as shown by the examples below

Below are some examples where service brands have created brand properties out of looking at their customer journey and focusing on those pleasure peaks that reinforce their brand's distinctiveness.

First Direct – GREETING.

The success of First Direct has been built on being a bank with a real person available 24/7/365. It has for many years been the most recommended bank in the UK. Key to the First Direct experience is the pleasure of a nice, polite, friendly person replying when you call. At the time of launch in 1989 this was a differentiated service versus other banks that had a "bricks and mortar model" based on physical branches. With First Direct you could now get the convenience of telephone banking when you wanted.

Interestingly, as the market has moved to more remote banking, First Direct has continued to invest in hiring, training and rewarding people to deliver an excellent telephone experience. This First Direct welcome is a key point of distinctiveness versus the nightmare of endless voice activated menus and calls being taken by call handlers who pass you from person to person. 

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 18.23.51
Trader Joes
DISCOVERY. The US retailer Trader Joes focuses on creating pleasure during the exploration and discovery phases of shopping. Their modular stores make the store chaotically reminiscent of a farmers market. They use employee-created POS and a "treasure hunt attitude" to mixing and re-mixing store layouts to reinforce this exploration experience. Importantly, these features are almost impossible for major supermarkets to emulate, given their focus on convenience and speed of shopping

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 18.15.34

Argos is a retailer selling a broad range of products you consult in a catalogue in store, or increasing online. The company has been using its physical stores as a source of advantage versus Amazon, with its broader range and lower cost base. The pleasure Argos focuses on is the immediacy of getting what you want, summed up with the idea: "Find it, get it, Argos it".  Argos has launched two services that amplify this point of distinctiveness:

a) Check and reserve –  removing the frustration of going to a store and the item not being in stock, while also strengthening its points of difference versus its biggest rival Amazon – local store collection.

b) Same day delivery – Due to its distribution system it can offer this service to almost the whole of the UK as well as 4 different delivery time options. Amazon can currently only offer same day delivery to certain postcodes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 18.15.44

In conclusion, the best investment in customer journey optimisation is to focus on the pleasure points in the service experience where you can reinforce your brand's distinctiveness.