A Tale of Two Brand Experiences

A Tale of Two Brand Experiences

A few weeks back, I needed some new reading glasses. In the past, I’d always gone to Specsavers. But this time, I thought I’d go to the centre run by my health fund – thinking that I might get a better deal.

Things didn’t go as I hoped. A disappointing experience meant I ended up leaving the store, having had my eyes tested, a prescription in hand, but without buying any glasses, and thinking to myself – you guessed it – “Should’ve gone to Specsavers”! Which is what I did. And the experience there was far better.

So what was so different about the two experiences?

In some ways, nothing. Both put you in the hands of a pleasant, helpful, knowledgeable customer service person, who guides you through what can be a complex and expensive purchase. At that basic customer service level, both were fine.

The difference arose from the set-up of the stores.

In my health fund’s store, the set up seems pretty typical. There are racks of frames, but with no clear delineation (beyond brand), and pricing is nowhere to be found. So throughout the experience, the shop assistant is in control. They direct you, decide which frames to show you (and which not to), and you go along with it. But you have this ever increasing unease, feel as if you’re being manipulated, and are uncertain what it’s all going to end up costing you.

The set up feeds customer unease from the outset, and the experience is poorer because of it.

A very different customer experience.

In contrast, Specsavers is set up with a clearly delineated layout (mens/womens/kids), with a clear pricing structure (2 frames for…), and frames on display at various price points.

This sets the scene for a very different customer experience. It is disarming from the moment you enter the store. It puts you at ease, and you feel you have some control over what happens. You know which frames are for you, and you decide from the outset which you want to look at, and which to ignore, not the shop assistant. And you have some idea how much you are ‘up for’. You feel relaxed and comfortable. It’s simply easier to shop there.

In the end, the quote from my health fund actually wasn’t that much different from Specsavers. But price wasn’t the issue. Had the experience at that first store been different, I may have never left without new glasses, and never gone back to Specsavers. But I did.

To me this is a great example of the power of the brand experience. Specsavers’ more customer-centric experience must surely be a key reason for its continued success.

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