I recently had the honor of presenting at the LuxeCX Customer Experience in Luxury Roundtable in New York City hosted by Luxury Daily. The conference featured eighteen speakers focused on the critical role of customer experience in the luxury sector. My own presentation centered on the need to train sales and support teams whenever you are in the process of transforming your customer experience.
Brand and marketing teams often drive new customer experience transformation initiatives. But, in my years of leading the training function of some well-recognized luxury brands, I found they frequently forget to include the front-line customer ambassadors: sales and customer service teams. The sales and customer service associates are the “bookends” of the customer journey. Sales associates are usually the first point of contact your customer has with the brand and customer service associates support the end stage of the customer experience. More often than not, I had to chase down the directors of the marketing, product and brand teams to find out what new customer initiatives were in play. My goal was to ensure that the transformed customer experience cycle included our customer-facing teams.
Continue reading “LuxeCX Roundtable: Transforming the Customer Experience Means Transforming the Sales and Support Teams”
One of the most difficult challenges in training luxury sales associates, is that they feel disconnected to the customer. They don’t live the “high class” lifestyle they believe their customers revel in. They could never imagine themselves paying so much money for a “frivolous” item. They may even decide a certain customer would never be interested in a high-end brand based simply on how that customer is dressed or what car he or she is driving.
Many of us don’t see ourselves as a luxury customer. Indeed, in a rather humorous piece for the New York Times called “So You’ve Wandered Into a Too Expensive Store,” the comedy writer, Monica Heisey explains the sense of panic that can ensue when you walk into an upscale store:
The air smelled too good; there were too few items on the shelves. By the time you’d touched the first wafer-thin turtleneck, you knew: This is a too-expensive shop.
Heisey then shares some tips on how deal with this embarrassing situation, including asking the salesperson to find another size as a diversionary tactic so she can make a quick exit.
Continue reading “Are You a Luxury Customer?”
I’m currently reading Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise by Horst Schulze (co-founder of The Ritz-Carlton Company). So many wonderful ideas and words of wisdom from someone who laid the foundation for service par excellence!
This quote from the book sums up my approach to luxury “Elegance without warmth is arrogance.” Luxury should never be snobby; it should always be inviting.
Below is a link to a previous post about a study that showed while a snobby approach to luxury selling might result in increased sales, the increase is temporary. Ultimately, customers reject this strategy and leave the brand.
The Devil Sells Prada… and burns the customer!
Let me start by apologizing to anyone who is expecting a definitive list of principles that define luxury. This post may leave you with more questions than answers. I ended the year 2014 with a few posts devoted to the very question of what luxury is. It seems I’m still on the same track now that the new year has arrived.
I just finished reading a recent LinkedIn post by Alan Crean, a self-described Subject Matter Expert in Professional Services Automation. The post is titled “Luxury Brands as a Professional Services Market.” It begins with a succinct summation of the luxury question I’ve been pondering. According to Crean:
There is no official definition of what constitutes a ‘luxury good.’
Continue reading “Three Principles of Luxury”