Peelen (2013) argues that customers highly value the unique and personal experiences that they receive while making use of a business’s service or product. At the same time, customers also base their own value of a company on these unique and personal experiences. This means that the actual value of a company lies with the feelings of a customer instead of with the business itself. (peelen, 2013)
Customers today also expect more from companies they buy from; they want them to offer solutions to their problems and offers that are composed according to their own personal preferences. For businesses to accommodate their customers’ needs, they have to create a network of “value-creating partners”. Moreover, companies need to be able to delegate certain aspects of their service to experts in their network of value-creating partners’. (Peelen, 2013) Peelen (2013) further writes that the network needs to be able adjust timely according to the needs of the consumer and the market.
If companies want to create these unique experiences for their customers, they need to take on an entirely different perspective on the relationships between the consumer and product/service supplier. (Peelen, 2013) For businesses to create a successful value creating interface to accommodate their customers’ needs, it is vital that they make use of technology. (Peelen, 2013) In short, for companies to gain loyalty of their customers in today’s digital world, they should provide a service that runs smoothly and intuitively while facilitating a personal experience.
Theory in practice
Virgin America is a perfect example of a company that Peelen (2013) describes in his book ‘Customer Relationship Management’. The company wants to be seen by consumers as a unique airline company. Normally flying isn’t seen as fun or exciting, but Virgin America tries their best to make it fun and exciting. Even their goal is to ‘make flying good again. The company has set up features to ensure their quality and experience offer by having ‘new planes, attractive fares, top-notch service and a host of entertaining, innovative amenities’. (Salesforce, n.d.)
Virgin America says that it’s important for them to involve all its employees and to make them a part of their community. They are given the opportunity to still be able to interact with the community through technology. With tablets and mobile phones they can interact with other employees and also customers, even though they never sit at a desk. (Salesforce, n.d.)
By implementing a new intranet called VXConnect, which is a social intranet that is powered by Chatter and the App Cloud. This system is operated by Virgin America, but controlled by Salesforce, a partner in the company’s network of value creating partners. (Peelen, 2013) With this intranet, employees can now interact with ‘co workers, share information, solve problems, and work together to provide the best possible experience for guests’. (Salesforce, n.d.) For example, when a storm is causing a delay, employees can quickly notify the customers about the delay and give them regular updates with regards to the delay times or gate information.
The chatter app can also be used by customers and while using the app they can be in contact with a Virgin America employee within moments. The app gives customers information and access to a variety of things, such as their train schedule, boarding pass copies, music playlists while at the same time having access to direct contact with employees. The planes of the company have been outfitted with larger screens that also run the software so that the customer has access to real time information while flying. When boarding, the screen will greet the passenger by name and give suggestions for on-flight entertainment based on what the customer’s personal interests are. (Salesforce, 2012)
Author: Yannick Jongejan
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management(Second ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Salesforce. (2012, November 11). Virgin America 社 – Salesforce でソーシャル化を実現 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbN3-O5H4-Q
Salesforce. (n.d.). Virgin America keeps teammates connected with Chatter. Retrieved from http://www.salesforce.com/customers/stories/virgin-america.jsp