To Create Advocates, You Have to Differentiate Your Organization


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Most (efficient) companies are delivering homogeneous experiences. They are focusing on raising the service level to follow the voice of customers or to match industry standards, and ignoring their own unique competitive advantages. Great (effective) companies turn satisfied customers into advocates——beyond customer-centricity——by delivering a branded experience. In order to migrate from homogeneousness to branded experience, you have to derive and concentrate on the MOD™ (Moments Of Differentiation™), the attributes or sub-processes that are most important to your brand and to customers——in reflecting your differentiated brand values and in driving customers satisfied.

How to deliver a branded experience? First to make sure your brand values are what your target customers treasure, deliver them superbly at the most memorable moments during an experience——Moments Of Differentiation (MOD)——across all touch-points, intentionally and consistently. The below diagrams will show you how MOD play their parts in different cases. The MOD happen at sub-processes with high CIW (Customer Importance Weighting) and BIW (Branded Importance Weighting), which are denoted by the blue stars in each diagram. These results are drawn up based on the data and regression analysis concluded from the X-VOC research studies conducted by GCCRM with different professional organizations.

BIW-CIW Quadrant–IKEA In-store Experience

IKEA: “Majority of people can afford us”. Dream of the founder, Ingvar Kamprad, is realized by excelling at attributes which reflect IKEA’s core values both important to the brand and to target customers, but not trying to satisfy all of their needs. ‘Staff service‘, ‘Search and pick stock‘ and ‘Check-out‘ are attributes important to customers but not to the brand.

BIW-CIW Quadrant–Automotive Showroom Experience

The Toyota Way: “Kaizen to eliminate Muda”. If we could learn from Toyota, continuous improvement on something that is not important to car buyers and to the auto brand is a non-value added waste, car dealers should stop allocating resources equally, but prioritizing on the blue stars——the Moments Of Differentiation (MOD).

BIW-CIW Quadrant–Starbucks In-store Experience

Starbucks: “Taste is more vital in the U.S.”. Americans regard ‘Coffee taste‘ and ‘Packing‘ are the Moments Of Differentiation, but to Chinese, MOD are ‘Genuine smile‘ and ‘See and be seen‘. Geographical difference leads to different MOD, even for the same brand.

BIW-CIW Quadrant–Credit Card Multiple Touch-Points Experience

China Merchants Bank: “Maximize PPG”. China Merchant Bank may not be perfect, but she is ranked No.1 in China credit card experience survey. By maximizing the Pleasure-Pain Gap (PPG)——performed worst in ‘Gifts redemption experience‘, reserves the limited resources and focuses on ‘Complaint‘ and ‘Lost card handling‘, which align with her core brand values in service excellence——to delivering her own branded experience.

How to put MOD in practice? Below are the two emotion curves derived from 3,865 and 2,416 responses from Global Starbucks In-store Customer Experience Survey and Credit Card Customer Experience Survey in Mainland China respectively. The blue stars denote the touch-points / sub-processes / attributes which are important both to the brand and to the customers, i.e. Moments Of Differentiation, the red dots are important to the customers only, the yellow dots are important to the brand only, while the grey dots are unimportant to both customers and to the brand.

Emotion Curve–Credit Card Multiple Touch-Points Experience

What do your customers remember? The memories of Starbucks customers are filled with her core brand values since the pleasure peaks (sub-processes with highest Experience Ratings) are also the MOD (blue stars), i.e. S19 ‘Coffee taste‘ and S20 ‘Relaxed environment‘. However, there is still room for Starbucks to optimize her in-store experience by further lifting upwards the blue stars, especially at the end moment.

Emotion Curve–Credit Card Multiple Touch-Points Experience

How much wastage of your operations? To find out, one of the logical ways is to map the differences between current and target emotion curves, as the gaps indicate the extent of under-spent or over-spent at each touch-point / sub-process. The diagram on the left shows that Chinese credit card issuing banks are over-spending seriously on those touch-points with little impact (grey dots), and their customers’ peak experience happen at something unimportant: S16 ‘Billing‘ and S17 ‘Repayment enquiry‘, which means the customers have no memorable peak at all.

Are you making customers HAPPY or LOYAL? A more quantifiable approach is to work out their BEI (Branded Experience Index) and CEI (Customer Experience Index) as these two will give you a more complete picture of customer satisfaction and brand differentiation. Use the Starbucks and Chinese banks examples again. Starbucks is making her customers both happy and loyal as the red dots and the blue stars happen at their pleasure peaks; while the Chinese banks may make their customers happy at where the red dots locate, they definitely have to work much harder to earn their loyalty, as all blue stars are not happening as their pleasure peaks. No wonder 1/4 (26.4%) of Starbucks customers are advocates (with over 70% NPS) comparing to the 1/10 (10.5%) of that to the Chinese banks’ customers.

How’s NPS correlated with MOD? Check out my another blog: Achieve 93% Net Promoter Scores by Delivering a Branded Experience.


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