Creating a Branded Customer Experience

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you are traveling far away from your desk. Your to-do list is complete, your projects are current and your calendar is clear for the week. You're on your way to the exclusive Avocado Spa in Arizona.

Yesterday you packed your suitcase using the suggested packing list the Avocado Spa sent, featuring customized suggestions based on the weather forecast for the upcoming week and the specific activities you have scheduled for your stay—hiking, horseback riding and yoga.

When you arrive in Arizona, a limo driver with your name on an Avocado Spa sign greets you and drives you to the resort, where you settle into your suite for a relaxing week. The signature avocado appetizer is so delicious that you request the recipe, and the avocado skin treatment leaves you feeling refreshed. Your meals are all prepared with your favorite foods and no worries about your allergies. Every staff member and instructor knows your name and room number, and they are all courteous, helpful and genuinely nice. The staff suggests new activities based on your personality, arranges special luxuries and is truly concerned with your happiness.

After a blissful week, you return home to find a farewell package containing fresh avocados and the recipes you requested. Each month, you receive an e-mail newsletter suggesting healthy activities based on your preferences during your stay and new recipes to try. You are already planning your visit for next year, and the year after that.

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?

It's obvious that the travel industry has made significant advances in the development of the "branded customer experience." This is an environment that is focused on gaining customer knowledge, fostering customer loyalty, personalizing customer interactions, marketing to customers on a one-to-one basis and improving the business process wherever it impacts and touches customers. The most powerful impact of this experience is the feeling the customer takes away—absolute, unwavering commitment to maintaining his or her relationship with a specific company.

The challenge is to carry the feel of this branded customer experience throughout every part of your enterprise, no matter what product or service you provide. The reality is that many areas of your organization cannot be automated—they require one-on-one communication with your most valuable audience—your customers. The key then is to use technology to enable the people within an organization to provide this same type of experience when they interact with your customers—an experience that is personal, customized, informed, intelligent, helpful and branded with your company's unique personality.  So, how do you get there from here?

The keys to building a branded customer experience are as follows:

  • Evaluate your current customer experience.
  • First things first: make it predictable.
  • Step it up: build momentum.
  • It's all about the details: the branded customer experience.

I'll blog on the four steps I listed above in weekly entries