Recently I switched mechanics. I didn’t have a specific issue with the old one. The cost for a standard service was average. I took my car there when I reached the required kilometre 'check up'. All in all it was a reasonably functional relationship. But I didn’t feel particularly valued. No one checked in with me after my first service, nor for any service following that. Their communication style was really impersonal, and for a while I figured that was the norm.

At my new mechanic, I already feel like a valued customer. The staff start friendly conversations with me. They seem to genuinely care about me (and my car). They remember small details about our last interaction. They ensure I'm organised for transportation to get from point A to point B whilst I'm without my car. To me, that’s valuable.

All companies should act like my new mechanic…but it’s particularly important in the world of online browsing, researching and shopping where our customers are only ever a few clicks away from joining competitors. Imagine the impact of personal recommendations or experiences when community members reach out on social media. It could make or break a business.

Ultimately though, just realising that loyalty is key to your long-term success isn’t enough. You need to understand how customer allegiance is inspired, and ensure it’s embedded in every step of your customer journey.

The key to all this? Improve customer intimacy.

Intimacy seems like an odd word to use when describing your customer relationship. Customer intimacy means moving beyond a transactional relationship, to really understand what problems your customers are trying to solve. 

Customer intimacy is about respecting your customer’s value to the company in the long term, not the value of a single transaction.

Again, be more like my new mechanic and less like my old one.

Katie Miles, Managing Director


Getting Intimate is the X Factor

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In their book The Discipline of Market Leaders (1997), authors Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersma describe three competitive strategies for businesses to employ to get ahead: operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership, of which they suggest brands need to excel at one, and perform adequately at the other two.

1.    Operational excellence is about cost leadership. Think Ikea.

2.    Customer intimacy is all about service, customisation and personalisation. Think Amazon.

3.    Product leadership aims to bring build a culture of delivering superior products to market. Think Bose.

Whilst this sentiment has had merit for decades, one would be correct in thinking that in the current retail climate, there is a clear leader in order of importance, with customer intimacy taking the crown.

A company that invests in customer knowledge and insight, personalisation and connection, is the company that has a better chance of delivering a good customer experience. Customer intimacy drives brand value.

Unfortunately at the rate that marketing messages are delivered and digested it’s easy for brands to lose their edge. So how do you keep develop and maintain your X Factor in CX?

Take a look at the five C’s:

1.    Convenience: Make your experience easy and clear. Identify and understand the customer pain points (such as being passed around from department to department) and make it EASY for a consumer to interact with your brand.

2.    Consistency:  50% of what we do every day is habitual. Humans do not like change. Find the optimum way for your customer journey and make sure it’s delivered the same way, every time. 

3.    Choice: Give your customers a variety of ways to browse, buy and pay.

4.    Customisation: Deliver a truly personalised experience. Preempt the customer needs and demands. 

5.    Care: Without care, none of the other stuff really matters. Care is what your customers will talk about. Care is how you demonstrate that you get them. Care is anticipating their problems and fixing them before they even realise it’s a problem. 

The key to anchor these five Cs is your customer insight. If my original gym had asked me if I felt valued, I’d have let them know honestly. I’m not going to make that effort without a prompt though. The better option is to intimately understand what’s most important to your customers, so if something does go wrong in that area of your service, you’re aware it’s a big deal to them.

Use all your big statistics to build your frameworks and hypothesis and use your small data – face-to-face conversations and interviews and observational techniques – to find the key pieces that will make a powerful customer experience AND retain your customers that you worked hard to gain in the first place.


Realise Online – Reporting Dashboard

Our clients love our dynamic Reporting Dashboard. Want to know at a glance which stores are the top and bottom performers? Or perhaps you’d like to track progress over time for a district, region or the whole network. Or maybe you have a key driver you want to focus on. Our dynamic, user friendly dashboard will give you the insights you need. 

You can create your own dashboard to meet your specific needs or use the ones we create for you. We can give you multi-level access for store managers to the managing director so the right information is available for the right people. It’s simple to navigate, and the easy to read graphs and charts give you all the information your business needs. 

Here’s a snapshot of just a handful of the many widgets we use to help paint a detailed picture of your business. All insights are available online or via the Realise Online app, so you can check out what’s happening even if you’re out of office.

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CAN'T GET TO YOUR REGIONAL STORES REGULARLY?

Our Regional Mystery Shopping program can help ensure your CX offering is consistent across your entire network. We have mystery shoppers from Gympie to Karratha, Moonah to Katherine and many places in-between.

If you can’t visit your regional stores to see what’s going on, we can. Our team of mystery shoppers are ready and available to head in-store. Let The Realise Group be your eyes and ears. Get in touch via phone on (03) 9687 2360 or email us to find out how our Regional Mystery Shopping Program can help you deliver great customer service.

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FIELD AGENT REPORT

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There’s no denying that Australians have an affinity for alcohol. The packaged alcohol market alone is worth an intoxicating $15.5bn according to Roy Morgan Research – which had us wondering…

  • How often are Australians drinking? 

  • Are they drinking more or less? 

  • What’s driving changes to consumption habits? 

  • Which retailers are the most popular and why? 

  • What are Australians drinking and where do they drink it? 

  • What health and lifestyle factors influence choice? 

  • What are the trends in mixers and snacking? 

Throughout June 2018, Field Agent surveyed 500 male and 500 female self-identified alcohol drinkers. We’ve prepared for you a cocktail of insights about Aussie alcohol consumption and expenditure habits.


SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING IS COMING TO THE REALISE GROUP!

In an age where a one star difference on Yelp can mean a difference of 9% in a restaurant's revenue*, a company's social media reputation and online reviews are as critical as ever.

Coming soon to The Realise Group is a Social Media Monitoring (SMM) tool, a one-stop solution managing all of your social media, completely integrated into the reporting environment that you're already used to.

We are currently fine tuning this service that we know you will LOVE. We'll keep you posted once we're ready to go live. 

*According to Harvard Business School Report 2011