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

New crew aboard Russian spaceship reach ISS
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) Three new crew members from the US, Russia and Italy arrived Monday at the International Space Station (ISS) on board a Russian spaceship.
 
 
First Italian female astronaut ready for spaceflight
Rome, Nov 24 (IANS) History will be made Monday with the first ever Italian female astronaut set to go into space for a mission on board the International Space Station (ISS).
 
 
Mummy wearing jewellery unearthed in Egypt
London, Nov 23 (IANS) Spanish archaeologists have discovered about 4,000 years old female mummy wearing rare jewellery in Egypt.
 
 
Exercise and fasting could boost brain's functions
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) Exercise along with occasional fasting is good for boosting the brain's neurons, shows a new research.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

270 Syrian refugees saved off coast of Cyprus
Nicosia, Nov 24 (IANS) A boat carrying 270 Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe was towed to the Turkish controlled northern coast of Cyprus after drifting for several hours. The rescue operation took place...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
It?s direction over acting for Jolie
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Actress Angelina Jolie says she is now looking to focus on her directing career. "I've never been comfortable as an actor -- I've never loved being in front of the camera. I didn't ever...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Al Qaeda-linked fighters target two Shia towns in Syria
Damascus, Nov 24 (IANS) The Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and like-minded groups attacked two pro-government and predominantly Shia towns, in Syria's Aleppo province. The attack on the towns of Nubul and Zahra Sunday...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Pattinson gets naughty with FKA Twigs in public
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Actor Robert Pattinson seemed to be in a playful mood when he grabbed his girlfriend FKA Twigs's derriere while strolling here recently. The duo had stepped out together Friday afternoon for...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Focus shifts to 'political agreement' over Iranian nuclear issue
Tehran, Nov 24 (IANS) Iran and six world powers would now look to negotiate a "political agreement" as a comprehensive deal by the Nov 24 deadline would be "impossible", Iranian officials said. "We haven't been...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Political leader shot dead in Pakistan
Karachi, Nov 24 (IANS) A leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), Ziauddin was gunned down Sunday by unknown assailants in Orangi Town in the Pakistani city of Karachi, media reported. According to police, the leader...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Israeli cabinet pushes to make country 'Jewish state' by law
Jerusalem, Nov 24 (IANS) The Israeli cabinet approved a bill Sunday, which enshrines in law that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people and that this right is unique to them. Fifteen ministers voted in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
When Lily Allen's sex life 'lacked magic'
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Singer Lily Allen, who says she didn't enjoy a great sex life until she was in her mid-20s, believes sex needs to be reprented as an "emotive experience" in popular media. She says the media...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Bangladesh beats Zimbabwe in second ODI
Dhaka, Nov 24 (IANS) Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 68 runs in the second one day international (ODI) at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chittagong Sunday, to go 2-0 up in the five-match cricket series. Batting...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Stand up for your rights, Imran Khan tells Pakistanis
Islamabad, Nov 24 (IANS) Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said Sunday that the people of Pakistan must stand up for their rights, when the party holds a rally Nov 30 in Islamabad. Addressing a public...
Read more on Politics Balla