First impressions matter, and even the most mundane initial interactions between a company and its guests can be turned into a memorable experience. So imagine a company whose brand image lives customer relations and breathes positivity and yet the first impression on a visit to its HQ is a security experience that would make the TSA quiver... Such was how the Guest Experience started for all visitors to the global headquarters of our client, a clear disconnect between company and consumer. Our job was to recommend a fix.
To be sure, balancing safety and positivity presents a daunting challenge for a company that hosts 10,000 guests each month. At the beginning of our project, we knew security would be top of mind in our planning. But the Guest Experience workstream touched every single company department (as end users) and was especially important to the facilities management, technology/IT, parking & transportation departments, as well as security. We knew we would have to understand each department’s needs and usage habits so that we integrated everyone’s priorities into the final recommendations..
The first phase of this project was to review the current visitor registration process (the heart of the Guest Experience), collaborating with the existing stakeholder departments including conducting formal interviews with 22 different workstream leads. During this phase we also assessed all the current touchpoints in the process, and mapped the current Guest Experience. This exhaustive end-to-end review gave us a list of Strategic Understandings that served as the framework for developing the new process. Two critical examples of these Understandings we referred to as Duality and Cross-Functionality.
Duality: every guest to the headquarters has at least a dual role as they are all both visitors to the company, and Consumers of the company’s flagship product. Identifying this dual role and setting it as part of the framework reminded everyone to keep the “happiness” of the brand front and center in all decision-making.
Cross-Functionality: in order for a new process as far-reaching as Guest Experience would be, we confirmed that it could only succeed with cross-functional ownership at a leadership level. By integrating subject-matter experts from disparate departments, we could reduce duplication and achieve improved efficiencies from the process.
Once the Understandings were identified, we built the Strategic Framework which mapped the new Motivational Pathway for guests. During this step, several early solutions were identified and recommendations made to improve the experience. Two examples out of the previously mentioned Understandings:
Duality: Because most if not all guests were also consumers, we realized that a brand marketing subject matter expert needed to be included in the visitor operations team to ensure that all communication and messaging aligned with the brand. This recommendation has proven to be very successful.
Cross-functionality: One of our first “a-ha!” moments came when we were able to reduce the number of categories of visitors from 17 down to 4. This recommendation resulted in streamlining the registration step of the process (one of the most frequently identified challenges).
Finally, we made recommendations for real-time measurement of the new visitor process, looking at each touchpoint in the new Guest Experience. From single question follow-up surveys that could assess awareness and response for new brand messaging, to automatic measurements (did all guests remember to “swipe out” at the end of their visit), we also improved the relevant data that would be captured and used for on-going modifications and improvements to the Guest Experience.
At The ExperienceBuilt Group, we believe everything communicates, and that on-going measurement and modification improves the experience. In today’s marketplace, maintaining a focus on audience experience sets the stage for a better overall relationship between company and consumer. For this client, aligning the Guest Experience with the core brand messaging and streamlining the registration process removed disconnects for this very important audience.