The Royal Yacht Britannia is the number one attraction on Trip Advisor in the UK. Chief Executive Bob Downie is someone I have worked with for a number of years. Downie would tell you that it wasn’t his goal to be #1 on Trip Advisor, but instead to be the best experience for their Customers that they could. That being said; he admits they might have done some things differently. So what are these?
At the time they began their Customer Experience improvement process, the concept was relatively new and largely untested. Downie compares their journey to “driving a snowplow for Customer Experience in Scotland.” He went on to explain that they were learning as they went and gaining wisdom on what works and what doesn’t. While they couldn’t do things differently on this project, they would do things differently if they were setting up a new one.
Here are five things they would have done differently to increase their ROI even more:
1. Embracing the emotional parts of the Customer Experience right from the start. Most businesses focus on the internal operations of the experience rather than looking at it from the Customer’s perspective. Downie said that the focus is often on getting all the objective parts right but not focusing on the emotional parts of the experience. Since we know over 50% of the Customer Experience is emotional, he would start with a Customer focus as his basis for design, with a particular emphasis on the interaction with the Customer. He said that getting systems, procedures, uniforms and signage right is good, but “if you can’t get the interaction with the Customer right, then you are losing half the marks.”
2. Setting a standard for recruitment that looks at more than technical ability.Many organizations recruit employees for their technical competence. Over time, however, it’s clear that while the technical aspect is important, the personality and attitude of your job candidates are critical to improving your Customer focus in your experience. Keeping that in mind, he would start with a high pass mark for new team members to focus on these qualities as well.
3. Ensuring the management doesn’t get in the way. Having all the best systems and procedures in place is an important part of management’s job. However once established, it’s important to step back and let your team do their job. Downie believes that you get the “right people, and you train them to do things at the right time and in the right way,” and then let them do it. Too many times, management creates hurdles to this and upsets the Experience along the way.
4. Leaving behind the “Proprietor’s Outlook.” Many businesses have the mindset that it’s their business, and they can run it however they want. While it is true, this approach is also shortsighted. Downie believes it is easy to fall into this trap but that organizations should work to avoid it. Running your business the way “the Customer would like you to have it run” is what makes for a better business.
5. Using all five of your senses when designing an experience. Downie said that when you look for improvements you can’t just use your eyes because they aren’t enough. Other senses can evoke emotions, so appealing to all five senses is critical to creating a great Customer Experience for guests. You need to think about the role sounds can play in the experience, as well as smell, taste and touch.
If you want to learn more about what Downie and his team did to become the #1 Attraction on Trip Advisor UK, please come to our Webinar, “How to Become TripAdvisor’s No.1 Attraction” on Thursday, October 30th, 2014.
Downie, who I enjoy working with for many reasons, has an analogy he uses to describe his approach to improving Customer Experience:
You have to gain these life experiences. I’m a great believer in using the same ingredients but following a different recipe. So if you put a cake in the oven for an hour and it burns, there is no point in shouting at the oven. You change the temperature, and you change the time. So we learn. We say that everything can go wrong once but not twice, because if it goes wrong twice then we haven’t learned from the first time. So you change your procedure, your process, your systems, the way we do things, so the same thing doesn’t go wrong twice. “
The Royal Yacht Britannia’s Experience is why they are the number 1 attraction on Trip Advisor. Downie knows, however that it could change. He fully anticipates that a different, possibly adrenaline-loaded attraction could take over the top spot.
He isn’t concerned about that, however. He maintains that his focus on taking care of Customers, listening to their feedback on the experience, and fixing problems when they arise ensures that they continue to get the same rankings by their Customers that they do now. I couldn’t agree more.
If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:
- How Emotions Generate $$$
- 3 Steps to Becoming #1 on Trip Advisor
- ROI on Customer Service–New Research from the Economist Intelligence Unit
Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker. To read more from Colin on LinkedIn, connect with him by clicking the follow button above or below. If you would like to follow Beyond Philosophy click here.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX