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69 - Business Express

Customer Experience is out, Human Experience is in…

What can three leading ladies from some of the UK’s biggest brands (John Lewis, BrewDog and SweatyBetty) agree on when it comes to customer experience?

Alice De Wend Fenton, Head of CRM & Loyalty (BrewDog) was speaking to Charlotte Pearce (Founder, Inkpact) at Inkpact’s CRM Breakfast in October about how BrewDog manages their customer relationships and the speed at which they test ideas. They were joined by team leads from John Lewis and Sweaty Betty where the all female panel spoke to a sell-out room on the importance of loyalty in their businesses, one of the few things these vastly different brands all agreed on.

The different approaches made for thought provoking conversation and as Charlotte put it in her introduction, “…these are three incredible brands and three incredible ladies that we can learn a lot from today.

“At BrewDog some of your customers literally wear your T-shirts and the pins when at gigs or out and about,” said Charlotte Pearce diverting her attention to Alice, “It’s nuts, to get that level of loyalty from a tribe.”

She continued,”‘And then you look at John Lewis and you see what they do around Christmas and how much people share their ads and praise their customer service in-store and just rave about the personal experience.”

“We work in dog years at BrewDog…” said Alice as she discussed the incredible speed at which they launch new customer experience initiatives, with no fear of failure. This included their move from a tiny e-commerce team to a brand whose revenue (£238m) was mainly driven by e-commerce last year.

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On the other side of the spectrum there was Gabriella Johnson, Loyalty Lead from John Lewis, who said the team meticulously plan each and every change that will impact their customers, as they strive for perfection, pre-launch and try to inject enjoyment into the experience. “You get endorphins when you make someone else feel good, we should be doing this as brands…” said Gabriella, “We’ve all got very into the technology [of CRM] and how we tie up all our data, but have we forgotten how to create a fun experience for customers to interact with?”

Georgina Little, Head of CRM at Sweaty Betty sat between the two, enlightening us on how they like to start small with continuous testing and feedback from their customers, not just through data, but ramping up initiatives gradually until they benefit every customer. Talking with Georgina, Charlotte Pearce said, “At Sweaty Betty you have people that rave about the insiders and just like being part of that crew…” as she complimented their customer loyalty.

Whether methodically planned or based on gut instinct, all three guest speakers agreed that CRM strategies should be built with a human first mindset. Customer expectations are higher than ever before and there is a seismic shift in the way we think this is happening. Customer experience has been a key consideration when looking to achieve a competitive advantage but now it is a simple necessity.

Some companies, such as those in attendance, are shifting from customer experience to what Inkpact  believe to be the next iteration. Human Experience.

How can three such different brands, with such different customer bases and approaches to customer relationships, agree on such a strong point?! Perhaps, the humans running their teams have something to do with it.

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