4 customer experience strategies inspired by Vincent Van Gogh

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Vincent Van Gogh has had a controversial history. He cut off her ear and gave it to a prostitute, although he later does not remember doing so. Van Gogh failed as a missionary in a poor mining community in southern Belgium and the church fired him. He was so aware of his insanity that he admitted himself to a mental hospital. During his lifetime, he only sold one painting for around 400 francs. And committed suicide at 37. What CV, isn’t it? Don’t judge an artist on their vita.

Van Gogh was a genius. He painted over 850 paintings, 200 of which were in his last year of life. Several of his paintings have sold for over $ 100 million each. The current Van Gogh immersion experience is receiving rave reviews in every major city it has performed in, sparking a Van Gogh revival. Critics rank him among the five best painters who ever lived. Her magic words, not just her amazing paintings, inspire new perspectives and stimulate deep ideas.

Imagine your organization has a decent, not great customer experience. You rarely get customer complaints, but you never get praise either. Impressed by the genius of Van Gogh, imagine you could hire him as a customer experience consultant. What would Van Gogh recommend? Below are his poignant words as powerful principles reflecting his likely perspective.

Innovation takes precedence over excellence

“Normality is a paved road,” Van Gogh wrote. “It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow there.” The popular “paved road” in today’s customer service world is value-added excellence. This point of view is that if you provide great service – on time, accurate, reliable – with a value-added experience that exceeds customers’ expectations, you can capture their hearts and their wallets. Service excellence is about doing the right thing, exactly what customers expect. And, while the added value is lauded, exceeding customer expectations raises their expectations along with your addition. As a result, you run the risk of running out of space.

Van Gogh would suggest “flowers on your way”. It means adding ingenuity to your great offering. Customers today see expressions of innovation as a symbol of survival, not just a strategy for success. The adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is now a recipe for failure. Customers are looking at your pilots, beta tests, experiences, and test balloons as a clear signal that you are growing steadily. Stop focusing on adding value and focus on unique value. Set your goal “flowers” ​​and inspect every element of your customers’ experience. What is fascinating, whimsical, enchanting, upsetting or entertaining about the experiences you create for clients?

Remarkable is in the handling of details

Van Gogh wrote: “Great things are accomplished by a series of small things put together. The masters of detail management are often found in high-end products and services. Steve Jobs was obsessed with the packaging that housed a new iPhone, even the sound the box made when opened. The chairs at a Bentley car dealership are made from the same leather as the car seats; the desk on which the papers are signed for purchase is made from the same burl walnut found in the dashboard and steering wheel of the automobile. Bentley seeks subtle ways to give customers a subtle congruence between their car appointments and all aspects of their showroom experience.

Premium brands can be great role models on how everyone can better “specialize in minors”. These brands recognize that there is tacit communication with the customers’ subconscious. A wealthy client might be better able to identify elusive details – the gilding on a chair, the number of threads on a hotel bed sheet, or the styling of a club pro. But even a worker who takes advantage of that long-booked special occasion evening at a fancy hotel can feel extraordinary details when they do, even if they can’t explain exactly why.

The creation of memory comes from orchestrated magic

“I’d rather die of passion than of boredom,” Van Gogh said. Today’s customers want experiences that stimulate, captivate and amaze. They love enchantment. The brass railing at a Disney theme park is polished in the middle of the night, so guests never see it being cleaned. The five-star Las Brisas Acapulco hotel mows the grass after hours with manual mowers and motorless push mowers so guests never hear the unpleasant noises of ongoing maintenance. Guests feel the effect and marvel at the magical process.

Part of the magic of serving is that it always strives to happen at the right time. There ! It is never late or early. It is in tune with other time-bound events that surround the experience. Waiting time, for example, is carefully managed to ensure that customers don’t experience it as a wait. Niccoli’s Roof, a five-star Atlanta restaurant, presents guests with the chef’s special appetizer and later a taste of the chef’s favorite vodka, all free toppings to help patrons stay charmed while their meal is on. prepare.

Great experiences are purely sensory

Van Gogh’s mantra was: “You have to work and dare if you really want to live. Applied to a great customer experience, it’s about creating a unique sensory experience showcasing the rare, the unusual, the forbidden, or the challenge of getting. However, their use is synchronized with the overall experience. The flowers at Mansion on Turtle Creek, a five-star Dallas hotel, don’t all seem to come from the local nursery; some seem to come from a distant jungle. A fruit plate at the Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles might contain passion fruit, unique figs, or slices of cumquat. Art experts rave about Van Gogh’s innovative expansion of the yellow color spectrum in his sunflower paintings.

The spa at Cap Juluca Resort in Anguilla, BWI, puts a special scented plant (like bougainvillea petals) in the tub before a massage. They mix the same scent in the oil used by the masseuse and put petals at the bottom of the client’s locker so that the unique scent is “worn” by the client after leaving the spa. Sewell Village Cadillac in Dallas bought expensive bathroom wallpaper from its car dealerships. Customers in the service waiting area enjoy freshly brewed designer coffee, delicious pastries, leather sofas, and classical music. The exhibition hall is lit by giant glass chandeliers that reflect each evening on a meticulously polished floor. The customer’s impression is generalized to everything relating to his experience, including the meticulous maintenance of his vehicle.

All of this enchanting, enriching and exhilarating may seem expensive or far too over the top. Van Gogh would suggest you start somewhere and pilot. Van Gogh wrote: “What would life be if we didn’t have the courage to try anything? He often painted the same scene over and over until he got the colors, the blend, and the right wit. Self-portrait by Google Van Gogh. You will find that he painted 32 self-portraits, always experimenting with every characteristic of painting – colors, brushstrokes, angles, shading, etc.

Creating a customer experience is fundamentally a performance, just like an artist at work. It starts with knowing and assessing customer needs and expectations. To be good at these basic elements today is as much a table stake as a palette and a brush for a painter. The masterpieces are the result of daring displays of creativity and passion. “Your profession,” Van Gogh wrote, “is not what earns your weekly salary, your profession is what you are put on earth for, with such passion and intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling. “


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