smith+co on
customer experience
Shaun Smith
  • By Shaun Smith
  • Mar 24 2009

Croatian Creativity

We presented a one-day CEM event in Zagreb last week for ICPE. It was attended by 180 delegates from a wide variety of companies. It is great that, even in the midst of the recession, far-sighted companies are still investing in the customer experience and encouraging their people to expand their knowledge.

One of the organisations that we met is a very creative brand called one2play. Their business model is to provide experiences for children in retail centres and department stores whilst the parents are shopping. They have, what they call, ‘Supernannies’ who construct a ‘dream experience’ for the child based around his or her choice of story line and characters – everything from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to giant dogs. The experiences are in fact showcases for the toys that one2play sell. The founder and CEO is a young entrepreneur who epitomises the brand – he even wore a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle suit when he went to the bank to ask for a loan – the biggest surprise was the bank gave it to him!

One2play is expanding rapidly and will shortly open a flagship store in Zagreb which will provide three floors of experiences and retail space. When I asked Alen, the CEO, about how his brand was being affected by the recession he said “What recession?” It just goes to show that if you truly create a unique proposition that provides value to your customers you are largely recession proof.

Customer experience is becoming a hot topic in a number of the eastern European countries and in the Balkan and Baltic states and many companies are embarking on CEM initiatives. During the workshop we invited participants to complete a self-assessment to see what their progress is on the customer experience journey. We’ve now posted this assessment on our website so that you check out your own progress and a get a brief summary of your results and where you need to focus your efforts – click to find out more.

Together with our partner in Poland (Executive Conversations Polska), we conducted some research in the Polish market to find out attitudes towards CEM and what challenges companies were facing in implementing it. In particular, we wanted to find out what these developing markets could learn from the more mature markets in the US and UK in terms of CEM implementation. The results will be published in April in the Polish edition of Harvard Business Review but you can get a summary of the key findings by clicking this link: Making CEM work. The results are insightful for any company wishing to execute a Customer Experience Strategy, not just those in Poland.

‘Taming the Search-and-Switch Customer’

Finally, on the subject of customer experience strategy, the key challenge facing all companies is how to retain your best customers. This very minute, one of your best customers is probably on Google, comparing you against the competition and contemplating a switch. Will your brand pass muster and prevail or, instead, get kicked to the curb?

One of the top authorities on customer loyalty, Jill Griffin, has a new book coming out this week which will help you to tackle this issue.

‘Taming the Search-and-Switch Customer: Earning Customer Loyalty in a Compulsion-to-Compare World’ addresses the relentless scrutiny unleashed by Google and other search engines and offers up a wealth of fresh, new loyalty tools for retaining today’s search-prone buyer. If you would like to find out more, click here for a two minute book preview: Taming the Search-and-Switch Customer.

If you buy the book from Amazon today (24th March) you will also receive an executive summary of Managing the Customer Experience - regarded by many organisations as one of the landmark text books in customer experience practice - along with bonus insights from 14 other customer-loyalty thought leaders from around the globe. To take advantage of this offer, there are two steps to follow:

Step #1: Buy the book from (TODAY 24th ONLY!)

Step #2: Go to and enter your order number.