Do You Value Theoretical or Applied Experience in Selecting a Strategy Consultant?
When it comes to legendary customer experience and unmatched service excellence, the most recognized brands in recent times or present-day that most resonate with the consuming public are the Ritz Carlton and Wachovia (now, part of Wells Fargo).
These two brands, although operating in unrelated industries with different strategies to drive their business results, have paralleled value propositions, which are customer centric and put the patron at the center of everything they do.
For readers who have red the white paper I released in the fall of 2014, titled Business Should Integrate Customer Experience and Brand Management, the argument is persuasively made to confute the generally accepted assumption that customer satisfaction engenders customer loyalty (become a free member and get the white paper here).
While customer satisfaction is a basic business goal, set within most business enterprises in the delivery of products or services, it is customer delight that creates the auspicious emotional reaction to an experience, which surpasses expectations to foment loyalty. Brands like the Ritz Carlton and Wachovia have long recognized that in order to maintain their superior brand recognition in delivering a legendary customer experience or providing unmatched service excellence, they have to keep managing the customer experience during each interaction, by moving the experience from good to great!
In addition to my expertise in strategy development, I can speak and advise with authority (based upon my past experience, knowledge and ability to impart change), having worked at Wachovia for 10 years. When I joined the company in 2000, they were at the eve of implementing transformational changes that were both bold and ambitious. Their goal was to turn around their customer experience model to focus on customer service, retention and employee attitude, in order to deliver unmatched services and advise as trusted advisers. I was fortunate enough to see the WISE philosophy (Wachovia Is Service Excellence) imparted and participated in almost every pilot program, roll out and full implementation of recognition programs for employee engagement and promoting a company culture, which creates customer delight and loyalty, and coaching employees to these behaviors.
Wachovia’s success kept outsiders guessing at how they succeeded; however, it was not an unexpected surprise for me or any employee as stakeholders. We were empowered with the knowhow and our actions were deliberately focused daily on putting our customers first. This allowed us to witness firsthand the transcendent transformation of the brand. The result was Wachovia being rated #1 for 8 years in a row, by J D Powers & Associates, for delivering unmatched service excellence and setting the benchmarks for others to follow. I was neither surprised when Forester Customer Experience Rankings, University of Michigan American Customer Satisfaction Index and the Gallup Organization, all conferred #1 rankings for several years in a row, for mastering delivery of top-notch consistent customer service.
While my experience with Wachovia has been on the delivering side of the customer experience to the customer population and coaching employees to model the behaviors of the service attributes to drive quantifiable results with impact; my experience with the Ritz Carlton brand has been on the receiving end, which allows me the opportunity to track behaviors for consistency in their management and delivering the customer experience. I can say without equivocation that Ritz Carlton is recognized, worldwide, for its legendary customer experience; which is at the core of their strategy. It is rooted in the fabric of the company, as employees strive to deliver on the brand promises daily. I am not speaking as a transient guest; I live the Ritz Carlton brand experience daily—since I am a full time resident.
If your organization is challenged with reducing customer attrition, improving customer loyalty and effectively managing its customer experience, it is time that an executive decision is considered for a strategy intervention, to assess and adapt a new customer-experience model. Let’s have a conversation.
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About the author: Lynda Chervil is an entrepreneur, author, environmental sustainability advocate and active promoter of sustainable brands and luxury brands with sustainable practices. She is the Principal of Pearl Strategic Consulting, a business strategy consulting practice. She graduated from New York University with a Master’s of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and had held many roles in new business development, sales management and executive leadership.