Ro King and her niece explore Paris through emerging channels and touch-points in the era of Internet—managing your brand equals managing the TCE.
Summer in Paris
by Ro King, Global CEM International Partner – the United States
Many teenage girls dream of visiting Paris and this summer, I was able to make that dream come true for my sixteen-year-old niece. We had a long list of things to see and do, so our Paris experience began several months before my niece arrived in Europe. We contacted each other by e-mail, Facebook and Skype to share websites and blogs with information and travel tips.
How different this experience was from my first trip to Paris when I was young. I began by going to a bookstore and buying two well-known travel guides. I sent faxes to hotels to book rooms and I made expensive long-distance phone calls to confirm dinner reservations. Seems very quaint today!
Paris is well represented on the web. Every major attraction has a website and tickets can be purchased on-line. So, with a bit of pre-planning, my niece and I found ourselves cruising to the head of the line with the tickets we printed at home. Then, we downloaded apps to help us navigate through sites and museums, sometimes reading notes and sometimes listening to commentary.
The Eiffel Tower website came to the rescue when on-line tickets were not available. It suggested having dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel, the restaurant on the first level of the tower. I was a skeptical about dining at a “tourist trap”, but, my niece is a budding architect and a visit to the Eiffel Tower was a “must do”.
Leave it to the Parisians to create a magical experience rather than something trite. Although there were hundreds of diners, we had a table for two by the window and were greeted with a glass of champagne. The dinner was surprisingly good and served professionally. As we left the tower, it was bathed in golden light, the full moon rising beneath its legs – what a photo opportunity!
That night, I noticed another difference from my youthful travels to Europe. I sent postcards to my family and friends, each night returning to my hotel room to write a few lines about the day. My niece Skyped family and sent Facebook messages to friends. Some days, she uploaded photos so her friends could also experience Notre Dame or the stained glass windows of Sainte-Chappelle. She was sharing in real-time and with much richer content – very different from my postcards.
Our voyage did not end when the TGV train left Paris. My niece and I shared our photos electronically and we are working to put the best ones into a book. Not an old-fashioned photo album, but a rather slick publication we’ll create together on a publishing website with pictures and text.
I loved seeing Paris through the eyes of my niece, forgetting about the things that frustrate me today and remembering the excitement of visiting the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay for the first time. While many of the experiences “on the ground” remained the same, the Internet, digital photography, Wi-Fi, smart phones . . . all our 21st century accoutrements added experiential layers I never dreamed of back when I was young.
Pray, Shoot, Eat
When I eat out with some of my friends, I notice an interesting phenomenon: a three-step ritual for every meal. They thank God for their food, they use their phone to take a photo of the plate, and then they take a few bites. Sometimes, they text a few words or post the photo on Facebook while eating. Aren’t they enjoying the food less? Not really. They enjoy the whole three-step ritual: pray, shoot, eat.
The Internet has changed how we eat much as how we travel. The pre-, at-, and post-travel experiences of this Paris visit make me wonder how anyone can live a single day without Internet or smartphones. The profound impact these channels and related media have on tourists like Ro are easily found in most industries. Businesses should reallocate sufficient resources from traditional channels and media to new ones. Shouldn’t they? Not necessarily.
The Internet is Running Way Ahead of its Recognition among Businesses
Take me as an example. I’ve never owned a smartphone and I still prefer my one-step ritual: ‘Eat’, without ‘Pray’ and ‘Shoot’ at meals. It seems I’m way behind the Internet era, but I’m not alone. Maybe the executives in your company use smartphones and the Internet more than an old-fashioned, middle-aged guy like me. Maybe no one in the commercial world dares to lag behind, especially top executives! Yet, decisions on resource allocation do not always align with this high-tech image. If you manage marketing, sales, or service, how difficult is it to get sufficient budget to cope with the skyrocketing costs associated with the unprecedented rise of the Internet and its related channels and media. You probably get more than you did last year, but it is still far from enough. Do you feel powerless? Then, try this.
Linking the Impact of Touch-points to NPS (Net Promoter Score)
Many companies use NPS, Net Promoter Score, as one of their key metrics. NPS has its merits and generates vital insights; yet the insights are actionable only if they are connected to touch-points. The idea is simple. Rather than simply ask the NPS question, go one step further and correlate the overall NPS scores with each touch-point experience. This way, you identify which experiences and touch-points to focus on to best enhance your NPS scores.
NPS is a means not the end; the end is always to drive business results. For a tourist destination, the result might be ‘revisits’ of tourists. Figure 1 illustrates how you can manage your primary objectives, e.g. referrals and revisits with an example of a TCE Model (Dynamic) for city tourism. Stars denote touch-point experiences important to driving both referrals and revisits; half-circles denote those important to driving either referrals or revisits; and grey circles denote those unimportant to both. This shows your top management the most effective way to spend company resources to achieve business targets. Now, you are powered by data to justify your budget.
Money Always Talks
Attitudinal data are weak; behavioral data are strong. So, whenever possible, go for behavioral. For instance, if you can collect data on actual behavior related to your top-line or bottom-line, such as whether customers really repurchased your product or really revisited your city, then, correlate this behavioral data. Attitudinal data such as “willingness to repurchase or revisit” is only predictive. Actual repurchases are hard facts and this hard fact means income. Money always talks. Managing the total customer experience and using the TCE Model are much more than simply making customers happy; they drive quantifiable results for your company to your shareholders.
Figure 1 – The TCE Model (Dynamic) – City Tourism
1. The TCE (Total Customer Experience) Model is based on the United States patent-pending Branded Customer Experience Management Method invented by Sampson Lee, president of Global CEM (Global Customer Experience Management Organization), in 2007.
This article is retrieved from a document “Total Customer Experience (TCE) for Branded Cities”. The document is composed of five sections: personal travel stories in the sections contributed by three of our international partners, Marco De Veglia from Italy, Brownell O’Connor from Ireland, Ro King from the United States, and our operations director Alice Tse from Hong Kong.
Section 1: The Good-Pain and Branded-Pleasure of Paris
Section 2: New York as a Brand: Great Cities are Great Brands
Section 3: Dubai: Belly Dancing, the Arabian Desert, and the TCE Model
Section 4: I Love Amsterdam; Mainland Chinese Love Hong Kong
Section 5: Paris 2011: The New Total Customer Experience (TCE)