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BEST PRACTICE: Customer service

It's a simple enough concept: keep your customers happy and they'll keep coming back. It's also a proven fact that by offering a consistently positive customer experience, you will not only enhance your brand offering, but it can also be instrumental in its overall success. So why do so many brands overlook the importance of providing good customer experience - particularly B2B brands, which are failing to cement this vital element into their company's overall strategy?

Customer experience covers all interactions between an organisation and a customer. Every direct or indirect contact you have is measured against their expectations, whether it's the actual performance of the company or the emotions that the interaction evokes. "A brand needs to convey five or six positive feelings to its customers," explains Huw Watkins, account director at marketing consultancy Kae Marketing Intelligence. "These are made up of emotional feelings such as trust and confidence, and physical feelings such as speed, ease of use and accuracy."

The delivery of great customer service doesn't have to be the preserve of premium brands. The Mandarin Oriental offers a very specific, luxurious customer experience, but Travelodge, which also offers a positive customer experience, focuses on comfort and ease. What's important is that a brand consistently delivers the same feelings at every moment of a customer's journey.