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Sometimes, the strength of a customer experience strategy can be in its solid long-term goals, and its firm grasp of the big picture. Whilst it is important for brands to have this strength of vision if they are to improve in the Customer Experience Excellence rankings, some of the best organisations in the United States excel because of their attention to the finer details. They home in on the microscopic moments, the personal touches and small gestures that become the ‘cherry on the cake’ for a person’s interaction with a brand. Known as signature experiences, they are an essential component for any company that is hoping to improve the quality of CX it delivers.

The reluctance to speak out

Often, human beings don’t feel able to recommend or endorse brands in too vocal a fashion. Their conversations with their friends need a starting point – something about a company’s behaviour that was so clever or insightful that it warranted a mention over a coffee and a catch-up, or even on social media. These signature experiences then sit alongside other small moments of excellence that help contribute to a greater customer experience overall. And they do not have to be large or costly for an organisation. Rather, they should be symbolic in nature, and easy for a brand to replicate in the future. In short, it is the art of doing lots of small things effectively.

“It’s my pleasure”

Indeed, many successful brands in the US CEE have become adept at offering signature experiences. The restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, for example, has firmly incorporated them into its customer experience strategy. Of course, its primary concern is to serve good food, but it wants diners to enjoy every moment of their time in its restaurants, from the minute they sit down until the moment they leave. If it’s raining outside, staff members will greet customers with an umbrella at the door. They will also use the phrase “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome“, and address diners by their first names to help make the interaction more personal. And when the customer is seated, they will find fresh flowers waiting for them at their table, and they will be visited at least once to make sure everything is okay with their meal.

As one diner commented: “…every time I’ve [been] there, I’ve had a really good experience. My order is always right, the employees are super-friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere is relaxing. It’s just a nice place to take your family to eat.” Another person added: “They had a karaoke event where you could sing a song and get a free chicken sandwich coupon. It was a blast! Or as they say, it was ‘my pleasure.’ Great sandwiches, too.”

It is also worth noting that Chick-fil-A is one of the most successful companies in the US CEE, landing in sixth place with strong scores across The Six Pillars, particularly in the areas of Integrity, Empathy and Expectations.

A magical customer experience

Similarly, the world-famous Disney Parks brand has not shied away from the importance of signature experiences. Although its founder and namesake passed away in 1966, his customer experience values have continued to underpin the organisation. He strongly believed that the backbone of quality service was in the creation of perfect processes which could then be repeated at scale, and he didn’t allow any detail to be overlooked; his dream for Disneyland was for it to be one hundred times better than anything else available.

For some people, a visit to Disney Parks can be ‘magical’ by its very nature, immersed as it is in colourful characters and fairytale structures. However, like any theme park, it has the potential to be marred by large crowds, and long waits for some of the most popular attractions. Instead of fighting against these queues, though, Disney Parks has instead made them a part of the ride experience. For Peter Pan’s Flight, for example, visitors find themselves participating in the Peter Pan story as they make their way towards the attraction. They pass through the home of the Darling family, and get to interact with the Tinker Bell character, who plays friendly tricks on the guests when their shadows hit the wall.

Signature experiences, therefore, are powerful components of any customer experience strategy. They ensure that the individual has a pleasurable interaction, and the company also benefits; customers are more likely to describe their encounters in conversations with friends, or on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, and this can increase advocacy and revenue growth. As such, companies such as Chick-fil-A and Disney Parks, as well as other top performers in the US CEE, stand as good examples of what can be achieved through a greater attention to detail.

For more customer experience insight visit the KPMG Nunwood CEM blog.

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