7 brilliant ideas that made customers feel special

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Photo courtesy of Samsung/Flickr

Supervised children play area, double shopping carts, self-order kiosks, smart mirrors and even a free airport lounge access to all passengers. Companies around the world come up with brilliant ideas how to satisfy customers.

It’s all about customer experience today. Brand loyalty, brand advocacy and even company revenue depends on a satisfied client. Companies that prioritize customer experience grow faster: the revenue growth of the top 25 leaders in customer experience was more than seven times that of the bottom 25 companies, showed KPMG Nunwood’s 2017 US Customer experience excellence ranking of 257 brands.

Given these numbers, hardly surprising that 73% of consumers name experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, just behind price and product quality, PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey revealed. Speed, convenience, helpful employees and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience.

Companies around the world come up with brilliant ideas how to make a client feel appreciated. While some of these ideas are based on an expensive technologies, others aren’t about the money at all. Sometimes even a simple touch can show that a company care about its customers.

From double shopping carts and supervised children play area in supermarkets to self-order kiosk at restaurants and a free airport lounge access to all passengers. Here are 7 great ideas from companies around the world that know how to make a customer happy.

Free lounge access to all passengers

Bangkok Airways grants a free airport lounge access to all passengers. Photo of Jurgita Laurinenaite-Simeleviciene

While most airlines deliver exclusive experience for business-class passengers, Thai regional carrier Bangkok Airways make every passenger feel appreciated no matter how much he payed for a ticket. Bangkok Airways operate lounges in Bangkok, Chang Mai, Phuket and other airports around the country that are available to all passengers with no extra charge.

Apart from comfortable chairs, free wi-fi, computer terminals, TV, newspapers, magazines and area for kids, each lounge has a courtesy corner where passengers can serve themselves with free snacks, hot and cold drinks.

Such attitude toward customers pays off. In 2017, Bangkok Airways was voted the World’s best regional airlines at World airline awards. Thai carrier won the award for the second consecutive year. Winners are chosen by travelers across the globe that vote in an annual airline quality survey.

Free fruit for kids in a supermarket


Rimi Lithuania offers free bananas for kids. Photo Jurgita Laurinenaite-Simeleviciene

The supermarket chain RIMI in Lithuania has been offering free banana fruits for kids for several years. It was former CEO of RIMI Lithuania Christian Wijkstrom, a father of two, who came up with this idea after realizing that shopping with hungry children can be tough. All children under 5 years are welcome to take a piece of fruit from a basket placed in a fresh produce section free of charge while shopping.

Similarly, more and more retailers across the globe are starting the free fruit for kids initiative. Baskets of various fruits are available at Woolworth supermarkets in Australia, Tesco in the UK, Kroger, ShopRite and others in the US.

Supermarket chain Kroger in the US gives free fruit for children. Photo courtesy of Dan Keck/Flickr

When Woolworth announced this program in 2015 it claimed that this initiative would help children eat their recommended two serves of fruit a day. Baskets of complimentary seasonal fruits, including bananas, apples, mandarins and pears, are available at all stores.

As a result, the free fruit program helps retailers to grow customers’ loyalty. Tesco and “Mumsnet” research, which surveyed over 1,400 Mumsnet users with at least one child revealed that three quarters of participating parents felt the initiative has made their shopping trip easier, and nine out of ten parents said they feel more positive towards Tesco.

Smart mirrors in a fitting room


Smart mirrors revolutionize in-shop experience. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Minkoff/youtube.com

Luxury retailers, including Rebecca Minkoff, Ralph Lauren and Neiman Marcus, integrate technology to delight consumers and increase sales. High fashion retailers have been testing smart mirrors, an innovation which completely transforms in-store experience.

Smart fitting room mirrors display items a customer wants to try, allow shoppers to request different colors and size from a store assistant, complete the outfit with other items, control the lightning in a fitting room and even get a stylist recommendation. High-tech mirrors also lure shoppers in make-up corners of cosmetic departments where this technology is used to record a makeup session and send it to a smartphone.

New technology helps traditional bricks-and-mortar stores keep up with the competition from fast growing online retailers since it not only enhance the in-shop experience of customers, but also enables retailers to collect data on shopper’s behavior and taste. Healey Cypher, a co-founder of smart mirrors maker Oak Labs, revealed to Fast company that there’s a 90% efficiency increase with that data.

Children’s bedroom in an airport


Area for kids in Geneva airport includes a playground and a bedroom. Photo courtesy of Geneva airport

A playgrounds at the airport is a great invention as it helps families to keep their children occupied while waiting for a flight. Although a lot of airports around the world have a space to entertain children, few of them stand out of the crowd.

For example, an area for kids in Geneva airport has everything a family could think of. While a slide, bouncing horses, books, children’s kitchen and other toys could keep children busy for hours, there is also a kitchen equipped with a microwave and high chairs, a changing room and even a quiet bedroom. However, only children under 5 years old are allowed into this area.

Self-order kiosk at a restaurant


Self-order kiosks at Japanese restaurants enable customers to get the order quicker. Photo of Jurgita Laurinenaite-Simeleviciene

Japan is packed with great restaurants. While eating at a restaurant in Japan could be a pleasant and relaxing experience, those who don’t have much time head to self-order restaurants.

A handful of Japanese restaurants are equipped with digital self-order kiosks allowing customers to order at touch screens. It enables customers to save time since employees start preparing food the minute they get the order and serve customers at the table. In fact, at several sushi restaurants an order arrives on a conveyor belt and stops in front of a customer.

Digital self-order kiosks are available at all types of restaurants, including sushi and teishoku (which means “set”). Usually they work longer than traditional restaurants and allow customers to help themselves to free additional servings of rice and tea.

The global fast-food chain McDonald’s has also been introducing self-order kiosks since 2015.

Supervised children play area


IKEA customers can leave children in a supervised play area while shopping. Photo courtesy of Alpha/Flickr

Families with children account for 17 percent of customers, showed research published in  Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. It is no wonder retailers try to think of solutions how to make shopping experience easier for them.

Scandinavian furniture and home accessories chain IKEA offers one of the best solutions for families: “Smaland” play area, equipped with a ball-pit and plenty of toys. While many outlets have playgrounds for kids, “Smaland” outshines most of them. Customers can leave their children for an hour in this supervised play area while they shop. Furthermore, this service is totally for free, although only children over 3 years old are allowed. 

Supervised play areas are appearing in other malls as well. Germany’s largest shopping mall CentrO in Oberhausen offers supervised childcare services for a fee of 3€ per hour. However, shoppers can leave children only during the weekend and holidays.

Double shopping carts in a supermarket

A double shopping cart makes shopping much easier for families with two children. Photo courtesy of Jenny cu

Some retailers came up with one more great idea how to make a shopping experience easier for families. Especially, for a customer with two children, who can’t figure out how to handle both children while shopping.

Supermarket chains Coles and Woolworth in Australia have double shopping carts where two toddlers can sit one next to another. Customers appreciate this simple idea. Some of America’s retailers, including Costco, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, also offer twin or double shopping carts.

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