Chocolates on the pillow aren’t enough today, you need to reinvent the customer experience in order to create customer loyalty.
Utah is famous for it’s skiing, but I’m not a skier, in fact, I REALLY dislike the cold. Last February 16, the weather was 28 degrees in Utah, but I didn’t mind that because I was enjoying the 70 degree weather of the day at the Loews Coronado in sunny San Diego.
The break from the bleak, gray February weather was just what I needed. Every touchpoint, every detail contributed to a customer experience that has me converted for life. Needless to say, on my next San Diego trip you’ll find me poolside at the Loews Coronado Bay resort. But it’s not just San Diego, last week I was in Los Angeles speaking at a conference. Where did I say? The Loews Hollywood, and they didn’t disappoint.
Too often the news and blog headlines focus on the customer service losers, not the winners. Today, the need for companies to re-think how they work with customers and develop customer relationships is greater than ever. Based on my experince, I can see why Loews has such an awesome reputation for an exceptional customer guest experience. And it starts at the top.
In a recent interview, Loews CEO Jonathan Tisch discussed the impact that customer experience has in helping businesses develop customer loyalty and the meaning it has for the company’s brand.
All industries are feeling today’s crisis in customer loyalty. The way to address this is to provide positive customer experiences that will make any customer feel like a guest.
…retailers, banks, restaurants, and even healthcare organizations are innovating new kinds of customer experiences.
-Jonathan Tisch, CEO Lowes Hotels
The traditional power of branding is diminishing. Customer price consciousness and doubt in the service delivery continues to rise. Options in the market and new service providers are popping up everywhere, with unique offers that makes developing and maintaining customer loyalty a difficult job for even the most expert marketing and customer service teams.
[Customers today] can choose from many different brands and they’ll go for the best price unless you can convince them that you’ll give them a very different experience.
This challenge forces companies today have no choice, they have to innovate and engage customers as part of their service and product offering. It’s no longer enough to offer a good product or service, you have to wow the customer in order to win the customer and keep them from trying someone else next time. This is at the heart of the attitude Tisch has about the customer experience at Loews:
Customer experiences are how customers experience a brand in a long-term and deeply personal way. If customers feel a personal connection to your brand, they’ll willingly seek your products and will willingly spread the word to everyone else. If you can create a great customer experience, the brand starts marketing itself.
Customer experience can’t be just a gimmick. It has to be based on creating feelings…feelings like exclusivity, individuality, luxury.
Think Build-a-bear. It’s a teddy bear at a premium, but the experience of building your own, making it unique to you, your like, your tastes, keeps you coming back again and again.
Think In-n-Out Hamburgers. It’s a fast food chain. Highly competitive. But it offers insiders a “secret” menu, with custom variations on ordering your meal and they keep fans coming back for more. Some even drive hundreds of miles for an In-n-Out burger.
Think the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. Secret restaurant and lounges are designed to be exclusive to reward those who go out of their way to explore their property and connect with the insider scene it wants to create.
Any company can learn from this by shedding their masses approach and creating insider customer experiences.
Customers are tired of feeling like the masses. Customization is one way that you can create customer loyalty.
Businesses today stand apart from the competition by showing customers they aren’t part of the crowd. More and more we see customization and experience as a strategy to develop customer relationships that create customer loyalty. Custom M&Ms, custom Coke drink machines, custom teddy bears.
To attract and retain customers in today’s competitive marketplace, companies have no choice but to think of new ways to engage them…[and] you’ll only win customer loyalty if you can provide a great customer experience.
Companies are learning how to deliver value to its customers and taylor the customer experience to the needs and wants of customers to keep them always coming back for more.