John Quinn|Nov 18, 2013

At the Holmes Report’s second annual  Global PR Summit in Miami, three global brands shared inside information on how they have infused customer service best practices throughout their operations to burnish brand reputation, bolster customer loyalty and boost business results.

Their stories, presented during rbb’s “Customer Experience Factor” session at the Summit, coincided with the release of our second annual Breakout Brands consumer insights surveya part of the firm’s overall “Breakout Brand” strategy, which garnered the Holmes Report 2013 PR Thought Leadership award.

Moderated by rbb CEO Christine Barney, the panel included AnneMarie Mathews, vice president of public relations at Norwegian Cruise Line; Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications for Feld Entertainment; and Eileen Sheil, executive director of corporate communications for the Cleveland Clinic.

“We went from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’,” said Sheil from the Cleveland Clinic, highlighting the extraordinary progress in boosting customer experience survey results. Their multi-year, multifaceted effort began when the company’s new CEO made “patients first” the theme of his first employee town hall meeting.

“People were getting the highest level of care, but they just didn’t like us very much,” Shiel said.

The Clinic appointed the first-ever patient experience officer and focused on its culture, making sure that every employee understood their role was one of caregiver, no matter what aspect of operations they were in.  The team even helped found a new trade association of patient experience officers that now spans the country with some 500 members.

For Feld Entertainment – an organization that spans the globe presenting family entertainment events from Ringling Brothers, Disney on Ice, Monster Jam and others – effective, closed-loop customer engagement helps them tailor communications and show content.

Payne explained that customer feedback drives important changes to the shows to make them more enjoyable, meaningful and culturally sensitive. “No ‘Three Little Pigs’ in Abu Dabi,” Payne said, providing one of several examples that instantly illustrated  the “a-ha” moments that good customer relations can provide.

Payne added that customers receive a personal message from Feld’s CEO requesting customer feedback, and that the customer service mantra is front and center across all aspects of their operations.

AnneMarie Mathews from Norwegian Cruse Lines also stressed the value of customer feedback and company-wide engagement as vital components of transforming the customer experience. Listening skills are key, she explained, noting that the company carefully monitors online industry trade news and blogs, as well as social media channels, in addition to their direct customer communications.

Some clear patterns and common themes emerged from the three brands’ stories of customer experience transformation:

  • Commitment and enthusiasm from the top. All three brands have chief executives who live and breathe the Breakout Brand philosophy of putting customers first in their strategies to drive growth and success.
  • Commitment across the board. From Cleveland Clinic’s “caregiver” role instilled in every employee, to Feld Entertainment’s fast-response philosophy, to Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Vacation Hero” badging for staff members, the focus on customer experience is evident throughout the organizations.
  • Creativity from within. None of these organizations simply mimicked the competition in the process of transforming their customer experience programs. Yes, they followed some core best practice strategies, but each one was shaped differently, driven by customer feedback.

For inspiration to guide your customer experience transformation, check out the key findings from the latest Breakout Brands research: The Service Factor.


Receive our rbb blogs straight to your inbox. Subscribe below: