Poor customer experience strategy is a Dumb Way to Die


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Last week, a 10 year old friend of mine downloaded a game on his smartphone called “Dumb Ways to Die.” I asked him about it and he started singing a song that included the lyrics “don’t stand on the edge of a train station platform.” He then sent me to this youtube video (with 51 million views!)

Earlier this month, McCann Erickson Melbourne’s “Dumb Ways to Die” became the most awarded ad campaign in Cannes Festival’s 60 year history. As an AdWeek article put it, “Instead of a typical train safety campaign for the Melbourne Metro where the customer – in this case train passengers – would likely avoid or miss the message all together, McCann Erickson Melbourne crafted a 3 minute music video based on a very simple premise: ‘What if we disguised a worthy safety message inside something that didn’t feel at all like a safety message?'”

Beyond the youtube video and game, the campaign appeared on the radio, Twitter, on Tumblr, outdoor spaces and the Metro Train network had the lyrics posted as artwork.

Again, brilliant marketing strategy and campaign. Customers who are immune to safety messages are now singing safety messages and playing games to reinforce desired safe behavior.

It got me wondering if this brilliant marketing and public safety strategy was part of a broader and clearly defined customer experience strategy? What if Melbourne Metro leaders made daily marketing, services, safety, talent, product, and physical environment decisions to achieve an ideal experience? Of course they would know the tipping points, or the handful of moments in the Melbourne Metro experience that have a disproportionate positive (or negative) halo effect on customers. I bet “the moment I realize Melbourne Metro wants me safe” is one of those moments. Now how to achieve that?

Since I am sadly only a visitor and not a resident of Melbourne (it’s an awesome city), I took a look at the company’s web site to see if I could get a handle on what Melbourne Metro solves for riders. I found this:

Metro will meet Melbourne’s transport needs with unprecedented efficiency by synchronising the train system with the community’s vibrant, diverse and ever evolving lifestyles. (Emphasis mine)

“Dumb Ways to Die” definitely reflects a vibrant and diverse Melbourne. So perhaps I’m right that this terrific campaign is part of Melbourne Metro’s customer experience strategy.

Assuming I’m right, imagine some of the tactics that would play well from a customer experience strategy of synchronising the train system with the communityusingunexpectedly clever wit:

  • Hotline for commuters to call and vent who are stuck in traffic. (I think some of those messages should be used in advertising too! Imagine the radio commercials.) This is a moment they may realize the need. “I need a better way to commute.”
  • Smart, funny things for the conductor to say about safety or the logistics of getting from point A to point B on the Melbourne Metro. Hidden tips throughout the Metro – on walls or inside trains. Let the potential rider see what unexpected relief, clever wit or subtle tips await them when they ride the Metro.
  • Video footage looped throughout the stations that reinforce these delightful acts of wit and help reinforces to the masses these events do happen and the entire ridership can experience.

Melbourne Metro, I really think you’re on to a spectacular customer experience strategy. Let’s not let what you’ve going for you fall flat after showcasing what you’re capable of. (And I hope to see you soon).

You may be interested in:

Focusing on customer experience helps starbucks rebound

Check out Linda Ireland’s book on customer experience, Domino. Download an excerpt below.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Linda Ireland
Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner of Aveus LLC, a global strategy and operational change firm that helps leaders find money in the business performance chain while improving customer experiences. As author of Domino: How to Use Customer Experience to Tip Everything in Your Business toward Better Financial Performance, Linda built on work done at Aveus and aims to deliver real-life, actionable, how-to help for leaders of any organization.


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