End on a high: Distinctive customer experience 1

Developing brand properties out of the customer experience

[Guest blog by Anna Eggleton, Managing Partner and Head of Service Brand]

This is first of a series of posts on how to make your customer experience more distinctive, and it looks at the importance of ending on a high. An earlier post covered off the science behind why this is important, called the "peak-end effect", showing that customer satisfaction depends on two key moments:

1. The peak, i.e. the maximum pain experienced during treatment or the most positive experience during a commercial or a customer journey.

2. The end: The more positive the end, the better the overall experience.

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Ending on a high is a principle known by family restauranteurs everywhere. This is why, almost anywhere in the world, the bill arrives surrounded by a succession of complementary chocolates or sweets. These guys know how to capitalise on the customer’s preference for service encounters that end positively!

What’s more interesting is that many service experiences ignore the importance of this strong finish. Indeed, many companies actively work against creating one, by placing so much emphasis on average handling times. This can inadvertently encourage call centre agents to end a call once the main business is complete, leaving customers with negative memories of brusque treatment.

However, some brands not only do well at capitalising on this moment but also use this moment to ‘bake in the brand’, thereby claiming this moment as one of their brand properties.   

Below are some examples of where a brand property has been created around ending on a high:

  1. Brand Property – Sonic  – The budget airline Ryanair end every flight that arrives on time with a fanfare of trumpets. While not liked by all customers, it does end the flight on a reminder of why you fly Ryanair: its cheap but reliable. The trumpet underlines one of the brand's key claims that 90%+ of Ryanair flights land on time, which they claim beats every other European airline.Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 18.30.09
  2. Brand Property – Product – Boden (a British mainstream online clothes retailer) have long realised that one of the biggest joys of buying online is the arrival of the parcel. The arrival of the product is divorced from payment, making it feel like someone is sending you a present!  To reinforce this ‘high’ they have always packaged up items in tissue paper, positioning the purchase as a premium experience and setting it apart from their competition on the high street. Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 18.30.21
  3. Brand Property – Slogan – Grocery shopping is increasingly price competitive. Sainsbury’s (a UK grocery chain) was one of the first brands in the UK to offer price matching, to back up its slogan of ‘Live Well for Less’.  This capitalises on the power of ending on a high, by demonstrating price competitiveness to shoppers after they pay, through its Brand Match offer that we posted on here. Each till receipt tells the customer how much they have saved versus shopping elsewhere or, if they have paid more, offers them a voucher for their next shop to cover the difference. 

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In conclusion, building brand properties to help you end your service experience on a high is a great way to build distinctiveness into your brand.