Why reinvent the customer’s journey and consideration? Well to provide the best, of course!
Interview of Sylvain Rabuel – CEO of Club Med France Europe Africa
The title of this article could easily resemble the marketing subject of a Stanford or HEC exam, which started awarding « Excellence in Customer Experience » certificates. We have read the copy of 66 year-old student aiming for the Dean’s list.
The competition is so strong that the actors of tourism do not escape the necessity of thinking, conceiving and offering a different customer experience. Moreover, the hazards are numerous and the margins difficult to maintain regarding the investments to be granted.
Almost 66 years after its creation, a society that transformed the holiday experience set standards even higher by announcing, on the 7th of June of this year, that she wished to increase the development and reinvention of the customer journey and consideration within its French and principal market. Fantastic!
There are two possible reactions when such a press release ends up in your journalist mailbox:
• the first one, frequent: read up to the tenth line and evaluate the story telling part behind the tagline. In 90% of the cases, big disillusion: the introduction had a nice ring to it, but here we are falling asleep by Part I in which the concrete elements become as rare as a good Stones’ single since Miss You (1978!)
• the second, approved by Columbo: grab your mac and drive your 403 to the scene of the crime because you can sense a beautiful investigation.
On Cambrai Street, we have met Sylvain Rabuel, the big organizer of this press release emission:
En-Contact magazine: Why build the future development of the Club Med on innovations in customer experience?
Sylvain Rabuel: I do not have the feeling that it is a novelty for a company that invented a new form of holiday, almost 66 years ago. It was, at the time, an association, but its ambition was already to offer a different and exceptionnal journey experience. I am the depositary of this story. The customer’s expectations have changed, their purchasing behaviors as well. I think that they can be summarized as such: to live intensely the present, to let go, with family or friends and to enjoy services and special attentions.
The mechanism is indeed global, as you create agencies in apartment, like the Champs-Elysées’ one and as you have rethought the ergonomics of all your websites. Does technology have an essential rôle in the purchase experience?
I do believe, enormously, in the contribution of the new technologies. In our sector but also in BtoB sectors. Thanks to our virtual reality helmets, our customers can discover the villages before booking one: they can enjoy water ski in Cancun or slopes in Val Thorens, from their seat in Paris, and thus preview the experience they will have once there. By the end of 2017, all of our villages will be visitable.
But at the same time, the time dedicated and the attention brought by our Club’ specialists, like those of the apartment-boutique of the Champs-Elysées, contribute as well to the vacationer experience. The results obtained with these types of new travel agencies are very promising.
Club Med announced a rise in the range a few years ago, but the promise was not necessarily kept, nor distinctive enough…Must not the product be also rethought sometimes, in the same way the means and tools to sell it are?
Indeed: the hotel service is not sufficient enough, it is simply a « nice to have » element now. What the customers expect, is that we have thought about theses gestures and details that are going to make a difference; it is what I call consideration. In this logic and to answer this need, we launched Signatures. This term englobes precisely these gestures and details which render the holiday experience unique: for instance, during the winter sports, if your skiing equipment is already booked, to your level and size, it is time saved. Pastries and French bread in all the Club Med villages in the world constitute another example.
Something else changed as well: we can measure the quality of the experience lived and received. Is that something you do?
Actually, we have been questioning our customers for more than fifty years. Today, we have a unique questionnaire, globally mutualized, to guarantee the reliability and impartiality of the results. We send it to all our customers and reach return rates of 40%. There are more than 120 questions to estimate customer experience and improve quantity of details. Moreover, it a real management tool.
We even go further with the creation of the Club Makers, a laboratory of new ideas within which voluntary customers are going to allow us to develop the signatures which I evoked earlier.
Numerous consulting firms speak about customer experience and help companies having this type of transformation; was it the case for you?
We work with firms on precise matters, such as digital transformation or for the signature services, but we do not do it on a global project of this type.
What is the amount of the global investments corresponding to these innovations linked to customer experience? Do you have a return on investment objective or an idea of the indicator that would be relevant to measure it?
These investments are difficult to estimate. Indeed, customer relationship is omnipresent in the company since each agent, in the villages, agencies or at the offices, guarantees it. In terms of indicator, it is our customer’ satisfaction that matters for it allows us to measure our capacity to bring a complete answer to the multiple expectations of the experiences.
By En-Contact Magazine
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