There is no doubt that George RR Martin and HBO have created a phenomenon. Never has a television series final season been so hotly debated, theorised or anticipated. Game of Thrones (GoT) season 8 debuts on the 14th April, and is sure to be full of plot twists, unexpected deaths and victories, sweeping filmography, and of course untold scheming. While the fantasy series is wholly entertaining (if a tad violent and morally questionable), there are interesting lessons to draw from the characters when it comes to customer experience.
If you know nothing, start listening
One of the most quoted lines from GoT is “You know nothing, Jon Snow”, where the hero of the show is accused by his love interest of being slightly clueless as to the real goings-on around him. Thankfully, the hero took this to heart, engaging the help of various people in his most recent exploits. The valuable lessons here are, firstly, Jon Snow acknowledged that he didn’t know as much as he thought he did, and then secondly, he started listening to what the people around him had to say.
For any brand seeking to improve its customer experience the first, and hardest, step is to acknowledge that the organisation may “Know Nothing”. Too often, organisations build strategies on presumptive understandings of their clients, relying on revenue data and internal feedback to guide their impression of customer satisfaction. Often, these perceptions are off the mark. Once an organisation is brave enough to acknowledge that they may “Know Nothing” they can make honest strides towards better understanding their customers. The next step is then to measure and build real-time feedback loops that not only give organisations a clear picture of the actual experience customers have, but also to start listening to what customers really want.
Always pay your debts
While the House of Lannister has produced mainly questionable characters, their enduring mantra of “A Lannister always pays their debts” has stood them in good stead through all their wheeling’s and dealings. Tyrion Lannister has used his need to always “pay his debts” to grow from the much-derided imp of the Lannister family to the Hand of the Queen as she seeks the iron throne.
Improvement must ultimately be the goal of any customer experience programme. A brand should seek always to pay its debts to its customers. Modern brands seek loyalty, championship and continued relationships with their customers, and as such, any dissatisfaction from poor service should be identified, escalated and rectified. By no means are we suggesting that every discontent needs to be directly dealt with (although this is an excellent way of improving customer experience), but by aggregating voice of the client feedback to identify trends and escalate critical concerns, an organisation can react swiftly to any experience debt they may have within their customers journey.
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen…….(you know the rest) has spent seven seasons differentiating herself from the other claimants to the iron throne in the most dramatic ways possible. From her flowing white hair and pet dragons to her unbending commitment to freedom for the people and clear vision of reclaiming the seven kingdoms Daenerys has listened to what the people want, has adapted to rise to the occasion and has stood out amongst her competitors.
While a brand can’t storm through the market on the back of dragons, like Daenerys, they can use customer feedback to become better than their competitors and indeed better than they were yesterday. Brands are facing an intensity of competition on the customer experience playing field like never before. In a world where innovation and product offering can be imitated in the blink of an eye, customer experience will become a unique and long-lasting differentiator. Using customer journey mapping, best in class survey mechanisms and detailed insights from data go a long way in finding a brand’s unique presence when it comes to customer experience, and by building and protecting that, an organisation may well see themselves entering the battlefield with a uniqueness akin to the Mother of Dragons.
As season 8 starts and GoT fans go into overdrive, one can only wish that every brand viewed their customer experience with the same enthusiasm. If we all listened like Jon Snow, differentiated like Daenerys or corrected our wrongs like a Lannister, not only would customer centricity be the norm, but our brands would relish in the unique competitive advantage created by excellent customer experience.
Author: Andrew Cook