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Is our obsession with CX and “putting the customer first” causing damage to brands?

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Our Digital Team Lead Heidi Hawkins attended last week’s Mumbrella360 event and shares with us below her takeaway from Adam Ferrier’s segment ‘The consumer is not the answer’.

As a supplier to the advertising industry, we work closely with some of the greatest creative minds and agencies in the business, and, as a result, we acquire a detailed insight into what’s hot and what’s not.

Over the last few years, the conversation has focussed squarely on CX, where the customer meets human centred design. This involves understanding on an intimate level, the needs, wants, desires, preferences and feelings of customers.  Buzz words such as frictionless interactions, superfluid and customer journey are focussed on making our everyday lives easier. But has it?

Admittedly, when I heard Adam Ferrier’s Mumbrella360 presentation, I thought it might have been titled “Screw the Customer,” which made for a refreshing change. Whilst the title was click bait, the content got me thinking, are we approaching this CX the wrong way?

There are two schools of thought here;

  1. New age thinking where it’s about CX and human centred design (online shop
    ping and mobile technology); v’s
  2. Traditional thinking where the BRAND is the most important asset and customers don’t know what they want, and don’t say what they mean.

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Ferrier used the examples of inaccurate focus groups and direct customer feedback on brands such as IKEA, JBHFI and 7Eleven.

Take IKEA, a highly successful brand, but one that possibly has one of the worst in store customer experiences in the business.  They make you walk through the entire store like herded cattle which takes up to an hour. Your intention was to shop for one item, but inevitably you end up collecting additional stuff due to the cleverly designed layout which strictly controls the customer flow.

Meanwhile, you are left thinking how much you are enjoying the experiential nature of this shopping expedition, there’s a café, and those Swedish meatballs to look forward to at the end. By now, you’ve been in the store for over an hour, to buy that ONE thing, only to arrive home to finish making the products yourself. Where is the delight in the customer experience I ask you?

When it comes to in-store shopping experiences, it’s no surprise that customer’s feedback from all three brands is negative. However, if the brands acted on the customer feedback it would drastically change the in-store experience for the customer, the brand would lose some of their unique brand identity and this would inadvertently affect the bottom line.

This is where the Ikea brand succeeds, Ferrier argues, it’s sticky, slightly ugly, is unique and highly memorable. Now that’s powerful.

 

If you would like to have a coffee and a chat on what is happening in the wonderful world of advertising contact Heidi Hawkins at: heidi.hawkins@talentinternational.com