Can A Goldfish Show You How To Excite Your Customers?

Feb 14 2014, 9:11am CST | by

Can A Goldfish Show You How To Excite Your Customers?

By Fabian Hieronimus

Big data, supercomputers, and advanced analytics are delivering big breakthroughs in marketing. But at a time of data deluge, it’s the small, unexpected  touches that can make all the difference to your customers.

Guests at the Soho Grand Hotel in New York are offered a pet goldfish for their room. They may take stylish décor, comfortable beds, and welcoming service for granted, but the fish is a quirky extra that gets them talking. It may not fulfill any need identified by surveys or focus groups, yet it typifies the kind of thoughtful, unusual touch that can attract a dedicated following.

Put simply, satisfying customers is no longer enough; companies need to go a step further and excite them to generate word of mouth. That word of mouth can deliver real value: studies have shown that it’s the driving force behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions and that a 10 percent lift in word of mouth increases sales by up to 1.5 percent.

Do something unexpected, noteworthy, and shareable, and you can kindle lasting memories, build customer loyalty, and harness the power of word of mouth.

Ten best ways to excite
By analyzing best practices, we have identified ten directions that companies can take to generate customer excitement:

Extreme simplicity: Devise processes that are exceptionally easy and intuitive to use. Amazon set the standard for simplicity by offering a “one-click” option to streamline online buying. Users of the OpenTable reservation website can check availability at member restaurants, read reviews, and book a table, all within a few

clicks, for free, and with the bonus of loyalty points to redeem against future meals.

Premium quality and design: Develop products that are outstanding in look and feel as well as performance. Some customer segments are excited by the flawless design and build of a Mercedes car, say, or a Bang & Olufsen sound system, with its aspiration to “combine technological excellence with emotional appeal.”

Exceptional service: Create a friendly personalized approach that takes the pain out of purchasing. To foster a customer-service culture, Ritz-Carlton gives its staff a budget of $2,000 each to use at their discretion to solve customer complaints. Kind gestures can surprise and excite customers too: in the UK, Interflora monitored Twitter to find users who were feeling down and offered them free bouquets; in the US, staff from healthy quick-service café Sweetgreen reward people for cycling to work by putting shower caps over bike saddles on rainy days and slipping gift cards under the covers.

Innovative technology: Develop revolutionary solutions that raise the bar of customer expectations for all competitors. Continuing its tradition of transforming the user experience in category after category of consumer electronics, Apple replaced browsers with apps as a user interface in the then embryonic tablet format and scored a runaway success with the launch of its iPad.

Exclusivity: Appeal to status-seekers with pr

emium-priced luxury services. According to the Veblen effect, the perceived value of a product increases as its price grows; exclusivity breeds excitement. Consider Quintessentially, a private club that provides privileged access to information, events, and venues via a 24-hour concierge service in return for membership fees of up to $45,000.

Hedonism: Provide fun, freedom, and shared experience through adventure or entertainment. Red Bull has engaged in so many extreme sports to excite its customers, from wingsuit flying to competitive ice-climbing, that it looks more like an event marketer than a drinks company. Hedonism is also on offer from the Burning Man festival, a week of community art, self-expression, and self-reliance attracting tens of thousands of followers who agree to abandon money, cars, and mobile phones in an escape from everyday life.

Mystique: Cultivate an aura of secrecy or intrigue around a product specification or launch. On its release in March 2013, rock musician David Bowie’s album The Next Day went straight to number 1 in the album charts in the UK and number 2 in the US and went on to top the charts in more than a dozen countries, despite the total secrecy surrounding the recording and the absence of interviews and promotional tours, demonstrating that mystique can trump marketing hype as a way of exciting an audience.

Taboo breaking: Reject stereotypes for a more daring approach. Instead of using professional models, skincare company Dove featured ordinary women in its Campaign for Real Beauty, putting authenticity at the core of its customer appeal. This break with convention enabled Dove to score success through viral campaigns that attracted more than 15 million viewers on YouTube.

Co-creation: Foster shared ownership through participation, contribution, and community. The rise of social media has made co-creation a popular and accessible way to excite customers. When Ford relaunched the Fiesta, it gave cars to a hundred social-media-savvy young people and asked them to blog about it, using customer-created content to create a powerful marketing force.

Authenticity: Show unusual frankness and openness to win – or woo back – skeptical customers. When takeaway chain Domino’s Pizza used documentary-style ads in the US to voice common complaints (“Your pizzas taste like cardboard”), customers were impressed with its willingness to face up to its failings: “I always hated Domino’s, but now I’d give them another chance.”

Thought starters
Excitement doesn’t come from serendipity, but from deliberate steps that leaders take to attract new customers and turn existing ones into lifelong advocates. To begin, think about:

Choosing your territory. No company can succeed at all of these options for exciting customers; it’s vital to select two or three directions that you want to own. What’s your territory?

Generating ideas for “Wow!” moments. Try “invention through transfer” – identify breakthrough ideas in other markets and emulate the logic behind them. Build a pipeline to deploy and track excitement ideas systematically. Who needs to be on your “wow” team?

Gearing up your organization. Splice excitement into your company’s DNA and make it a source of pride for employees. Ensure leaders take symbolic actions to underpin the change they want to see, whether it’s by rewarding employees for contributing excitement ideas or taking part in the new activities themselves. What is the one thing you want your leaders to start doing?

Adopting a new philosophy of measuring. Because excitement is disruptive, it needs a new set of qualitative measuring tools to capture the emotional impact on individuals. What metrics and tools should you be using?

Customer excitement is the next step in a successful customer journey, offering you a chance to make your customers more loyal, more talkative, and more profitable.

Fabian Hieronimus  is a partner in McKinsey’s Marketing & Sales Practice, with expertise in helping companies create customer excitement and build above-market growth. Learn more about customer experience and other topics on the McKinsey on Marketing & Sales site, and please follow us on Twitter @Mck_MktgSales.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Solaire Shines Light On Philippine Casino Ambitions
The Philippines hopes to be the next big thing in Asian gaming, and its biggest step toward that goal just completed its first year of operation. Solaire Resort and Casino opened in March last year (see page 77; payment...
 
 
Innovators In The UK: Male, Affluent And Long-Term Planners
For decades, innovation policy has been the domain of technocrats and of party–political consensus. Whilst in other fields – such as science – regular surveys help inform public debate and policy-making, there has been...
 
 
Want To Earn $5,000? Stop Working
If you work for Amazon, Jeff Bezos will pay you a bonus of up to $5,000.  Generous, right?  And what do you have to do to get the bonus? Quit your job. It may seem crazy, but it’s true – a recent article in Time notes...
 
 
Your Local Mall, Re-digitized
As part of the never-ending battle for the consumer dollar, General Growth Properties, which owns some 120 high-end malls through the U.S., has recruited RetailMeNot to its side. Under a new agreement the two announced...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Apple Now Recycling All Apple Gadgets At Retail Stores
Apple has big things in the works for Earth Day, including their most recent announcement that their retail stores will start recycling all of their gadgets. Apple is calling it “free, responsible recycling” that will...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Solaire Shines Light On Philippine Casino Ambitions
The Philippines hopes to be the next big thing in Asian gaming, and its biggest step toward that goal just completed its first year of operation. Solaire Resort and Casino opened in March last year (see page 77; payment...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Jay Z and Beyonce buy London home?
Jay Z and Beyonce have bought a $9.3 million home in London. The superstar couple have reportedly splashed out on a luxury detached townhouse in west London, having looked for properties in the trendy Mayfair area and...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Aaron Sorkin Gives More Details On Jobs Movie
The upcoming Steve Jobs movie based on the Walter Isaacson biography is still in the works, with Aaron Sorkin in charge of writing the script. Unfortunately, that is almost all that we currently know about the film.He...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Innovators In The UK: Male, Affluent And Long-Term Planners
For decades, innovation policy has been the domain of technocrats and of party–political consensus. Whilst in other fields – such as science – regular surveys help inform public debate and policy-making, there has been...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Cameron Diaz planning holiday for Gwyneth Paltrow
Cameron Diaz is organizing a girls' holiday to help Gwyneth Paltrow get over her marriage split. The 'Other Woman' actress is keen to cheer up her friend following the end of her 10-year marriage to Chris Martin and is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Want To Earn $5,000? Stop Working
If you work for Amazon, Jeff Bezos will pay you a bonus of up to $5,000.  Generous, right?  And what do you have to do to get the bonus? Quit your job. It may seem crazy, but it’s true – a recent article in Time notes...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Your Local Mall, Re-digitized
As part of the never-ending battle for the consumer dollar, General Growth Properties, which owns some 120 high-end malls through the U.S., has recruited RetailMeNot to its side. Under a new agreement the two announced...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Jon Hamm slams Justin Bieber
Jon Hamm has branded Justin Bieber a "sh**head." The 'Mad Men' star thinks the 20-year-old singer - who is facing charges for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), resisting arrest and possessing an invalid driver's...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla