Monday, August 2, 2021

How Well Does Your Brand Know Your Customers?

Over the last decade, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, leadership, and customer experience/customer service experts. One of these experts is Jerry Angrave in England. We recently had a discussion about customer experiences and their impact on the overall brand experience. Highlights of our conversation follow Jerry's introduction.

Jerry Angrave is Customer and Passenger Experience Director of Empathyce, a UK-based Customer Experience (CX) consulting and coaching company. His background is in CX roles in the corporate world. As a consultant, he has helped organisations around the world culturally, strategically and operationally in sectors including aviation, financial services, SaaS companies, and utilities. He is also a mentor and trainer for professional development of those in CX roles. In 2020, he wrote his first book, the Customer Journey Mapping Playbook. Connect on Twitter @JerryAngrave and on his website:

QUESTION: In one of your Blog posts, you explained four ways to secure buy-in for Customer Experience from skeptical stakeholders. Can you share your secrets?
JERRY ANGRAVE: We have to help them see how CX can support what they do and contribute to their objectives. Create a starting point they are familiar with: themselves. Ask them to talk about experiences, good or bad, they’ve had with companies in their own lives. Explore what happened, how they felt, what they did or will (not) do next time and reflect on how that impacts the business. The penny will drop, I assure you.

(Post referenced:

QUESTION: There’s currently a lot of buzz surrounding the concept of customer journey mapping. You wrote a book on the topic. Can you boil it down to a quick explanation?
JERRY ANGRAVE: Journey mapping is the practice of not just creating a visual representation of what it’s like to be a customer, but of then doing something with it. It’s about organising the thinking about a customer journey into stages and then for each stage, recording what are they doing, thinking, and feeling. At this point, it’s nothing to do with your process maps, they get overlaid later. But armed with a journey map, validated by customers, it becomes apparent where the biggest, easiest wins are for both customers and the business based on the pain points and where you are creating emotions that erode value.

(Post referenced:

QUESTION: There is a direct correlation between the customer experience and the employee experience. Can you elaborate based on a post on your Blog whereby you wrote that customer journey mapping leads to employee engagement?
JERRY ANGRAVE: The act of having a journey mapping workshop brings people together in a way that rarely happens. They will be from right across the business, different functions who are often in conflict with each other and third parties who may not share quite the same values. But the common thread here is how they all collectively have an impact on the customer. They learn about their own business, the roles each person has, and are given permission to step back from the functional day-job to think about the customer. Done effectively, that ignites an excitement and belief abut the benefits of focusing on customers and the pride that will come and with it, therefore, deeper employee engagement.

(Post referenced:

QUESTION: Since March 2020, which brands have stood out by providing excellent customer service during the covid pandemic?
JERRY ANGRAVE: It’s tricky to call out any specific brand because so many have stepped up, refocused their business around people and done the right thing, whatever that may be for them. For others, it’s not been their best moment. So the ones that stand out are those who didn’t just keep doing what they were doing but recognised the position their customers were in and were brave enough to throw the operational manual out the window and, in some cases reinvent themselves. People will remember those companies who helped them through this as well as those who stayed wedded to their policies and procedures come what may. It’s not just the big corporations, the corner shop, the local gym, and cafĂ© have all learned as they go and done some amazing things.

QUESTION: Have you had any exceptional customer experiences during the covid era?               JERRY ANGRAVE: I’d say early on when it wasn’t quite clear what was happening, yet a booking we had with AirBnB was changed and then refunded without question. The expectation was that it would be like dealing with one of the airlines who’ve not covered themselves in glory but it couldn’t have been easier. We felt they trusted us, it worked as they promised, and as a result, I have no doubt we’ll use them again.

QUESTION: Bill Gates has a famous quote, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” What does that quote mean to you?

JERRY ANGRAVE: At one level, it’s obvious, but at another, it’s about being brave, being bold enough to take time to empathise with those who are most frustrated by what you do. It holds the leadership team to account...if they are not prepared to speak directly to an unhappy customer, then the future of that company will be limited.

My gratitude to Jerry for appearing on my Blog and sharing his inspiring international insights about customer experience marketing.

Image Credit: Image by Patrick Tomasso via Unsplash app.

In first question, Jerry's post, Securing buy-in for Customer Experience, listed four ways. Here they are:
1. Get them to tell their own stories
2. Spend time getting to know them
3. Talk to other peers and colleagues as well as senior stakeholders
4. Make the business case, even informally

To learn more about the benefits of customer journey mapping, read this post:

For an interesting commentary, read this post:
Journey/Experience Mapping Isn't Just for Customers

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