In a world where more customers want to stay at home and have products and services delivered to them, a company in the pet industry is mixing things up with experiential retail.
Zoom Room Dog Training is an indoor training gym for dogs that is turning the traditional training model on its head. Instead of focusing solely on each dog’s experience like many pet companies do, Zoom Room focuses on the experience of each human. The company’s motto is “We don’t train dogs, we train the people who love them.” Instead of customers dropping off their dogs for a one-time training session to fix a specific issue, Zoom Room builds relationships between dogs and dog owners to encourage socialization and improve skills and agility. At Zoom Room, clients are always with their dogs and have the responsibility to look after them. The company creates a secure setting and screens dogs for sociability before allowing them to join the group setting so that everyone feels confident about their dog’s surroundings and safety.
Millennials are the largest pet spenders of any other group and a demographic that loves experiences. CEO Mark Van Wye and his team designed the company and its programs to pay attention to every aspect of the human experience to change the dog training model. The results are incredibly impressive, and Van Wye reports that many dogs and their owners make Zoom Room training sessions a part of their weekly routines. Zoom Room has a very impressive Net Promoter Score of 90 and retention rates in the high 80s.
In experiential retail of any kind, data and personalization are key. Zoom Room is data driven to provide the best experience to each person. Each client is tracked and their preferences and history are recorded so they only receive specific communications that apply to their needs. Zoom Room also appeals to millennials by taking photos and videos of dogs during their training sessions, which it then shares with the owners on a platform that integrates into social media. Dog owners share the impressive pictures to showcase their dogs, and it also adds to the Zoom Room brand and experience.
By embracing experiential retail and creating an environment where dogs and owners can bond with each other and others like them, Zoom Room is turning the dog training space upside down. The company shows that great experiences can come in all industries and that providing a data-driven, personalized experience resonates with customers.
For years, Australia has had with a well-established culture of customer experience. In general, companies seem to connect with customers better and offer more personalized solutions than they do in other parts of the world, including the U.S. However, many Australians have hit experience roadblocks with big companies lately, especially when it comes to the contact center. Having trouble waiting on hold or not being able to talk to a human isn’t new, but it can have a serious impact on the overall experience.
In the 1980s, many companies started using IVR, or interactive voice recognition systems, to corral people through their phone systems. These are the phone trees that have customers push buttons for certain types of calls, but that really just end up pushing customers’ buttons with a frustrating experience. Over the years, many companies have continued with the IVR mindset by becoming abusive to customers and mismanaging relationships. Instead of looking for innovative solutions, they hold on to decades-old technology that is frustrating and ineffective.
Many companies, in Australia and all over the world, have the idea that customers will keep coming back no matter how they are treated. That’s not the case. As more companies put humans back in customer experience, they separate themselves from the companies that cut costs and rely on impersonal technology. Research has shown that customers want more human interactions and less technology in their brand interactions. Companies that don’t offer personalized interactions with real humans are losing customers to brands that offer quality service and connections.
Customer experience in Australia will continue to evolve in coming years. As companies turn back to humans in our data-centered world, there will be a greater focus on personalized experiences and real relationships. Data and customization will help brands create one-to-one experiences instead of interactions that appeal to the masses. More companies will also turn to self-service tools to give customers power to solve their own problems and answer their own questions without contacting a bot or contact center.
Although customer experience in Australia may have hit some bumps, many companies still focus on what matters most: customers. By turning back to humans and offering convenient and personal interactions, those companies will build great experiences and lead the way to the future.
It may seem glamourous to fly around the world, deliver speeches to adoring fans, and bring in a big paycheck. In reality, the life of a professional speaker is much less glamorous and much more demanding. But even with the long flights and rejection, it can still be incredibly rewarding.
My husband Jacob Morgan worked his last full-time job more than a decade ago. When the boss who had promised him great career opportunities out of college had Jacob running to get him coffee, Jacob left and didn’t look back. He didn’t set out to become a speaker, but instead focused on consulting and working for himself. As he built a personal brand focusing on the future of work, he started getting invited to conferences and his speaking career took off. Today, Jacob is a best-selling author who travels the world to speak at conferences and to top executives. But he says for every one speaking gig, there are 10 that didn’t work out. Jacob responds to speaking requests and negotiates his own contracts, which requires a huge amount of work and time for every speech.
From his years of speaking experience, Jacob offers three pieces of advice to aspiring professional speakers:
Starting a professional speaking career can be full of long flights in coach, uncomfortable hotel beds and paltry paychecks. But building your brand, delivery and experience can create a strong speaking career that opens doors across the globe.
Buying a car can be stressful and time-consuming. It’s not a task that most consumers look forward to. But Carvana is changing the experience by giving power back to customers and letting them find their perfect car from the comfort of their own home without having to haggle with salespeople.
Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer Ryan Keeton points out that the car-buying process hasn’t changed in more than 70 years. Carvana set out to create “Amazon for cars” to provide an amazing experience for customers to find their perfect used car. Using a wide array of technology, customers can peruse Carvana’s 15,000 cars (a much larger inventory than the typical dealership) and get a complete and accurate view of the inside and outside of each car. Once they choose a car, it is either delivered to their home as soon as the next day or available to pick up at a car vending machine around the country. In perhaps the biggest innovation over the traditional car buying experience, customers have a seven-day window to return the car with no questions asked.
Everything about Carvana is designed around the customer experience. Keeton and the other founders wanted to save people money and use technology to reduce friction. By removing many of the extra people and layers of the dealership buying experience, customers have more control and transparency into the process. Instead of salespeople, Carvana has customer advocates who answer questions about the process and specific cars. Customer advocates don’t fight the customer to haggle for a deal, but are on the same team and work with customers to find the perfect car.
In order to create an amazing experience, Carvana relies heavily on technology and data. The company invested heavily in photo and video technology, as well as logistics to be able to deliver cars to people around the country as soon as the next day. Technology also auto-populates many of the contracts, which turns a multi-hour car-buying experience into a 10-minute transaction. Data helps Carvana measure its progress and target its approach to potential customers.
Disrupting such a large industry hasn’t come without its ups and downs. Keeton says many customers, especially those in new markets, think Carvana is too good to be true. One customer even had 20 co-workers waiting with him when his car was delivered. They had a bet on if Carvana was real and if the car would even show up. To combat skepticism, Carvana works to surprise and delight customers with amazing experiences. Continually delivering on its promises helps Carvana stay close to its brand and customers as it continues to spread its message.
Carvana shows that even well-established industries can be disrupted with a renewed focus on customers.