Why brand values should be integrated into every customer touchpoint


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Porsche recently announced that it made £13,061 (AUD$21,656, US$20,422) of profit for every car sold in the first three months of this year. To put this into perspective, BMW makes about £3,500 (AUD$5,803, US$5,473) according to the Economist. Porsche’s sales of 37,000 cars were just two per cent of parent company Volkswagen’s total sales for those three months. However, Porshe’s sales accounted for an amazing quarter of Volkwagon’s profits, netting £487m ($AUD808m, $US762m).

Are Porshe achieving this profit just because of a superior brand or product? No. I believe it’s because the retail experience really stands out. Porsche UK Head of Sales Bernhard Maier recently commented that “Our customers should be handled so smoothly that they don’t even feel a process.” The Porsche sales journey has 120 customer touch points, ranging from the greeting by a receptionist, (who then shares the essential customer information that has been learnt to other staff), and the car, that object of desire during the negotiation, being parked in the customer’s sight line.

So what can we learn from this?

Should the emphasis be sales or customer service?
The market has reached a very interesting point today, where many retail outlets traditionally assumed to be sales outlets have become much more aligned to a service centre. Telecommunications is a great example – I believe Telstra outlets now have more riding re their KPIs on NPS than sales $$. Is this a good idea?

For a purely retail store, sales focus is a given but for industries such as financial services or telecommunications, increasingly retail space is being used as a welcoming place for customers to chat, drink coffee and surf the net using the free wi-fi.

This raises a number of questions: does this align with brand values and what is the bank/insurance company/telco getting out of this new-found touchy-feely generosity? It was only very recently (in some places it’s still there) that my bank pointed me in the direction of the phone booth in the corner and the requisite endless hold music when I had a question about my credit card. Hardly service focused!

The sudden volte-face to putting service first isn’t necessarily the best approach. Like any relationship, too much bending over backwards to be accommodating from one party could be destabilising. Customers may view this sudden shift as suspicious so it could actually result in reducing trust, essential in building a meaningful, long term relationship.

How do you create a great service environment?
It’s surprising how often today retail or branch design starts with the look, feel and form, driven by the architect or designer’s whim. This is wrong! Like any customer experience, you start with the customers’ needs, objectives and flow. Customers love structure and logic to make their visit easier. Work out the main reasons why customers visit the store and then tailor the design to include relevant touch points that are visible right from when a customer walks in. Challenge whether touch points are worthwhile in the context of the customer journey and if they are practical. For example, a concierge greeting customers sounds like a great way to make customers feel welcome and ensure they get what they want from the visit, but should the concierge just greet or will customers expect them to be able to answer detailed questions? One organisation we spoke to recently had experienced exactly this problem, resulting in customers literally queuing out of the door as each interaction took too long and the concierge was located at a desk two metres from the entrance.

Service focus should also extend to the whole space. For example, the typical bank branch has a glass wall in front of tellers, which can encourage staff to stay out of the zone occupied by customers. For a customer to feel truly welcome, some staff should be dedicated to spending time with customers, otherwise customers could enjoy the free coffee and wi-fi without associating this feel good feeling with their relationship with the bank.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

David Johnson
David is an experienced management and technology consultant specialising in major customer-centred programs of change with a speciality in contact centre transformation and design. He leads our Contact Centre services practice. David has led numerous initiatives that have delivered significant improvements to his client's business results.


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