Boutique Consultancy

Adapters: Exceed Customer Expectations, says Perth’s Captivate Connect

Mark Horwood of Captivate Connect

Mark Horwood of Captivate Connect

Not all Australian companies understand the importance of customer experience, warns Perth entrepreneur Mark Horwood who is changing how businesses around the world relate to clients.

He says customer experience quantified a person’s emotional response in dealings with a company or organisation, and most major US corporations had hired a director of customer experience.

 “We need to look at some of the reasons that this is important, that a customer ‘feels’ an emotional attachment to a business,” Mr Horwood said.

His firm, Captivate Connect, developed new technology to defeat frustrating on-hold phone calls by helping organisations to interact with consumers who were waiting to speak to a staff member.

Mr Horwood says businesses and organisations must exceed consumer expectations to enjoy the benefit of positive customer experiences.

He noted the evolution of commerce with disruptors, such as Uber Eats and Amazon, and commoditisation, in which products or services became indistinguishable from similar ones.

Mr Horwood continued: “Do you ’feel’ any emotional connection to Amazon or the Uber Eats delivery person? Nope. Can you remember the name of the restaurant from which the Uber Eats bag emanated? Nope.”

He said commoditised products had thin margins and were sold by price, not brand. Typically, ever cheaper and common technology was sold by more suppliers who lower prices even further.

“So, when a business does not want to be seen as ‘the same as everyone else’ – chasing prices to the bottom and squeezing margins – what can it do,” Mr Horwood asked.

“It must make the business different in the mind of the customer,” he explained.

“To do this, it needs to create a connection – not an Uber Eats bag type of relationship, but one where the customer forms an emotional connection. One that is memorable long after price is forgotten.”

Mr Horwood said a five-star restaurant that met customer expectations had done just that. But a pasta joint in the suburbs that exceeded customer expectations might be more memorable.

“Which of these two restaurants are you going to bother rating on Google,” he asked. “Which will you tell your friends to go to?”

He went on: “Larger corporations have the most to give and the most to gain from improving customer experience as generally they are not too good at it.”

Mr Horwood singled out being kept waiting on a telephone as a pet hate. “Why do they do that in this day and age of modern technology when there are so many caller preferred options,” he asked.

Captivate Connect’s world-leading phone technology offered entertainment to people on hold as well as information, a quiz, several genres of music and, importantly, a podcast, download of the company app being called and option to be called back.

The internet helped Captivate Connect establish a bigger customer base in the US than Australia.

“From a business perspective, you gain from this new service not only from having improved customer experience, but higher Google ratings and, of course, the business database grows from every number that requests the quiz or app or podcast link,” Mr Horwood said.

He said customer experience differed from customer service. The latter concerned human interaction and directly supporting customers but was only one aspect of dealing with customers.

“Customer experience is the sum of the entire customer journey with your business,” he said.

For more information go to: www.captivateconnect.com

This article is one of many featured in 'Adapters', a series in WABN exclusively for Perth Media clients, profiling news of

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Adapters: Boutique Business Consultants Illumium Launch in Perth

Paul Clarke and Josh Horneman:    Switching On to Modern Business Demands

Paul Clarke and Josh Horneman: Switching On to Modern Business Demands

Perth consulting duo Paul Clarke and Josh Horneman have combined forces to launch Illumium, a boutique consulting practice switched on to the common demands of businesses and organisations.

With a background of running their own businesses, both in the UK and Australia, Illumium is able to relate closely to the many challenges that business owners and organisational executives go through daily from a strategic basis.

Illumium is recognisable from the pragmatic approach taken when conducting their business.

As Mr Clarke explains “If people expect us to turn up in a suit with a briefcase, and a six-step process to success, they’re always disappointed! We simply treat every project as though we are a part of the business we are working with.”

Illumium helps business to achieve their growth aspirations and goals by providing an external perspective to overcome a variety of day-to-day commercial and operational challenges.

“A major differentiator is the investment in our own cloud software solution, VentureCast. We use it to practically and cost effectively provide strategic planning, support funding applications, help with growth planning or to build an internal business case.” said Mr Horneman. “VentureCast, along with our advisory support, is a unique and powerful combination which speaks the language of business, often resulting in light bulb moments for clients, which is great.”

The business benefits from a unique creative flair, thanks to the founder’s unconventional careers. Mr Clarke has been a music composer for artists, film and television for over 35 years and Mr Horneman runs a film and television production company, recently completing a project that stars comedy legend John Cleese.

An awareness of the economic pressures faced by business has led Illumium to identify and unlock funding support for some of its clients, through initiatives such as The Entrepreneurs ProgrammeASBAS Digital SolutionsAccelerating Commercialisation, Industry Facilitation and Support Program and Indigenous Business Australia.

“Many business owners are unaware of the various funding pools available to assist them with growth activities. Having up to 50% of a project matched funded is often a light bulb moment and can make all the difference for clients.” Mr Clarke explained. “Utilising the funding available has had a major benefit for many of the clients we work with across diverse areas such as; defence, the arts, construction, technology and indigenous business. It has enabled us to make a real difference in the key areas of strategic, growth and marketing planning, as well as mentoring and other supporting services.”

To schedule a free discovery session with Illumium visit their website www.illumium.com.au

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