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.

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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: Perth Skincare Manufacturer – Marina’s Ambrosia – Plans Sustainable Shift to Eco Packaging

Marina Herlihy of Marina’s Ambrosia

Marina Herlihy of Marina’s Ambrosia

Perth businesswoman Marina Herlihy is rebuilding her thriving skincare and cosmetics firm after realising that her company must take responsibility for eco-friendly social change.

Ms Herlihy wants to appeal to a new market, despite returning annual profits of 20 per cent year on year from Marina’s Ambrosia, the brand of organic personal care items she launched a decade ago.

 “Each day I get between 10 and 20 customers who want to know if I use biodegradable packages,” Ms Herlihy says. “These customers are generally in their early 20s to mid-20s and many of them won’t buy if the packaging isn’t sustainable.”

She identifies these inquisitive young people as drivers of future business growth and has decided to meet their demands or risk being wiped out in today’s new world of environmental awareness.

“I’m budgeting for my products to be made in biodegradable packages for a relaunch in the new year,” Ms Herlihy says.

 Her range of organic products will be offered in organic packages, including bamboo. “My products come from the Earth and soon you will be able to return them to the Earth,” she says.

Ms Herlihy said plastic harmed the planet and everyone must work against it. A sustainable business must have sustainable products, she reasoned, and cancelled her existing packaging order.

“If I don’t do this now, then changing to biodegradable packages later will become a huge demand that will be overwhelming. And if my products don’t shift off the shelf there won’t be an income. And that is where brands fall down.”

 Some customers wanted refills instead of repackaging but that approach was costly, inefficient, impractical and did not always work for mail order items. 

Initially, she planned to offer organic packaging within 10 years but was acting now because of a sense of urgency driven by a new generation of customers.

Redesign costs surprised her. She retains a designer in South Africa having been intimidated by quotes for work in Australia. “I couldn’t afford in Australia the calibre of the work that I will get in South Africa,” Ms Herlihy says.

Customers can expect products packaged in bamboo and cardboard. Old labels in black, white, silver and green are likely to be displaced by biodegradable ones in earthy bamboo tones.

Products would either be recyclable or biodegradable.

Ms Herlihy says the need for change was driven by plastic – a cheap, ubiquitous product that was hard to break down. She hoped scientists could one day produce a chemical bath that could dissolve plastics acceptably. “We cannot stop plastics, but we must slow their advance,” she says.

Some recyclable products posed problems. Glass, for example, was disliked for skincare and cosmetics packaging because, if dropped in a bathroom, it could shatter or break a tile.

Similarly, cardboard could be compromised by moisture. Marina’s Ambrosia was successfully selling deodorant in cardboard tubes with waxed-paper linings. “Everybody loves it,” Ms Herlihy said.

Bamboo packaging held great promise because, like wood, it was recyclable. Ms Herlihy had found a supplier in Indonesia who farmed sustainably and did not employ child labour.

Ms Herlihy, a mother of four who trained in naturopathy, founded her company after inventing what is now her bestseller, Organic All Over, a body lotion that successfully treated her bad skin.

Marina’s Ambrosia has a catalogue of more than 100 products with a global customer base.

For more information go to:

This article is one of many featured in 'Adapters', a series in WABN exclusively for Perth Media clients, profiling news of innovative small businesses, start-ups and not for profits.

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Perth Media Testimonial: Blockhead Technologies 'Excited to Reach a Global Audience Thanks to Perth Media's Excellent Network'

Blockhead Technologies - Supply Chain Intelligence Redefined

Blockhead Technologies - Supply Chain Intelligence Redefined

“Blockhead Technologies saw excellent success from the engagement of Perth Media to assist with the design and distribution of a press release that announced a global customer would be leveraging our software solutions.

Nationally, we featured in some of the top mining news publications, and internationally we saw reach in the media in Canada, Russia and also Yahoo News. We are excited to continue reaching a global audience thanks to Perth Media’s excellent network.”

 Josh Horneman - Advisor, Business Development, at Blockhead Technologies

Media results included feature articles in Mining Global (London) and Acuris’ Mergermarket.

Media Monitoring: Perth Media's Top 5 Recent PR Results

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Perth Media continues to log excellent results. Our top five recent include three ASX-listed clients as well as two of Perth Media’s Adapters clients: one utilising our Written Adapters service and the other advertising her brand through our first ever Adapters Film.

 1. Australian Mining Review’s ‘In the Spotlight’ series focused on Renascor Resources Managing Director, David Christensen.

 2. Prestigious global financial publication Acuris/Mergermarket featured Bryah Resources after an interview at Diggers & Dealers last month: ‘Bryah Resources could seek further JV opportunities as manganese strategy advances.’

 3. Adapters Film is up and running. Here is the first: Marina’s Ambrosia short film.

 4. Several clients appeared in Stockhead, including Australian Vanadium Limited, on lower vanadium prices prompting new Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) developments.

 5. Through our Written Adapters product, Raj Singh of RealIQ outlined his novel co-living accommodation developments in India.

- Janine Taylor, Consultant, Perth Media


'Supportive Attitude, Pragmatic Approach and Huge Contribution': Leadership WA's Testimonial

Thank you Leadership WA for this thoughtful testimonial, it has given our small team a huge boost today, as we reflect on the past two years of working closely with this inspiring WA organisation.

'Perth Media has made a huge contribution to Leadership WA’s mission to help create an environment in Western Australia in which great and thoughtful leaders thrive and have the greatest possible impact.  Cate Rocchi and her team have consistently produced high-quality content for us, including the "10 Minutes onLeadership with . . . " Series published in WA Business News for the past year. Cate has also been instrumental in coverage of us in The Australian; ABC Radio’s The Country Hour; Oil & Gas Australia, and various community and rural publications such as The Kalgoorlie Miner, Pilbara News, and The Guardian Express.

I have particularly appreciated Cate’s guidance as we made the transition to a new brand and logo, and reshaped the vision and strategy for our organization.  She has helped me understand how we should best present ourselves, how we can most effectively explain what elements we are changing and what we are keeping, and how we can position ourselves in various media formats. Cate has also been generous in introducing me to potential sponsors and other supporters, and in promoting our programs and courses to her broader network.

Perth Media’s contributions were invaluable in helping me settle in as Leadership WA’s CEO, and in enabling us to make the best use of the media and branding opportunities available to us.  Our media profile has increased significantly because of our collaboration with Perth Media over the past two years.  

I am confident Cate Rocchi’s expertise, pragmatic approach, and supportive attitude will make Perth Media a valuable partner for any organization.'

- Leadership WA CEO Robin McClellan