In the brave new world of social media empowered and connected customers we are becoming obsessed with measurement through a vast array of big quantitative data that purports inform how we are satisfying our customers. It is, however essential that we never forget the qualitative side to brand experiences,the way we make people feel is everything and you can't always measure that quantitatively.
Never is this more evident when our brand touch points are outsourced to 3rd parties.
I recently brought a new new car (brand) from a dealer (another brand) via a salesperson (another "brand"). The experience has been most informative as it has taught me a few things, at least.
1. Only looking at individual touch points can cloud the view of the overall customer experience and reaction
2. Measuring the real value of the experience can never be just a quantitative thing
3. Putting the right brand at the heart of the experience is critical, you just need to know which brand is driving the experience!
My experience was made up of a 9 stage process within which there were a series of highlights and some lowlights but my overall reaction is that I am left rather bemused as to which brand was seeking my loyalty. Was it the product brand, VW? The dealer brand, Inchcape? Or was it the salesperson’s “brand”? Depending on my answer to these questions I would approach any quantitative customer satisfaction response differently.
- For the product brand - I was just repeating my purchase, so I am evidently satisfied with my previous experience. However an annoying little rattle has rather dulled my enjoyment of the brand as have VW’s follow-up emails sending me details of the new model that is just about to be launched so I now own something that is “so last year”! Nice touch.
- As a dealer brand they tried very hard with a lot of gestures that ranged from the interesting to the rather naff and pointless that seemed to be focused on their “innovation” than my needs. Illustrating they are more focused on themselves than me.
- The salesperson “brand” who did good job at selling me a car I was going to buy at some stage anyway and then gave me an education into how to fill out the customer satisfaction questionnaire to his advantage and the influence of NPS on his potential bonus structure.
How will I rate the experience on the customer satisfaction survey? – I don’t know yet as it was unavailable to use when I tried to go on it! Will I be able to tell them how I feel or will it all be about them and their processes? I’ll let you know once they let me onto their system.
Am I an advocate after this experience? Not really? I think my relationship with the product brand is best reflected by many of the motoring press reports on the car – efficient, comfortable but rather uninspiring.
So maybe the product brand did come through after all.