Delivering luxurious customer experience
Luxury exists in its own perfectly appointed bubble, a refined world set a little apart from the masses where buzzwords like engagement, sense of place, authentic experiences and customer honesty have floated serenely for some time. Luxury with its enticing ambience is eminently desirable, the masses peer in through the windows wanting to emulate and experience the lives of the wealthy and their representatives stand close by taking notes in how they might recreate it for them. It is in luxury that the majority of customer experience trends originate.
As one would expect, luxury brands are entirely focused on delivering exemplary customer experience but the luxury customer easily becomes restless as one plush carpet leading to the checkout becomes remarkably similar to another. For them, walking the red carpet isn’t enough. But luxury brands know what their customers do want: the perfect host to accompany them, these hosts know the terrain, they know how their customer is feeling and they will ensure that they reach their journey’s end without a single stumble.
Understanding customer lifestyles:
Almost all luxury brands clamour for staff that understand their customer’s lifestyles and it is easy to appreciate why. Often, those employees new to luxury have been plucked from outside the luxury bubble and spend their first months acclimatising to the changes. Throw this newcomer into the arms of a luxury customer and is it really surprising that they don’t speak the same language? Luxury brands spend considerable time and energy on the acclimatisation process and whilst the discord between lifestyles of employees and customers outside of luxury may not be as great, a focus on understanding customer motivations would be beneficial.
A trend that persists in luxury is luxury quotient, or rather how infused with luxury an experience is. To provide 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, or a gleaming-red Ferrari is an exercise in production with relatively simply control mechanisms but when it comes to luxury quotient in staff, there isn’t a production line in the world that can produce the finished product. A luxury customer can tell an interloper from a hundred paces. It is in their grooming, their approach, their confidence and poise and even in their tone. Luxury brands are working to develop luxury quotient in staff and this can translate to everyday businesses in ensuring employees offer a consistent, quality service.
Offering expert advice:
The innocent uttering of the word sales or selling is akin to blasphemy in the world of luxury, causing heads to turn swiftly in the direction of the sadly clueless speaker. In the luxury bubble we do not sell, we advise, we do not have salespeople but ambassadors. One might argue that this luxury trend has already filtered its way to the mass retailers and operators but it takes more than an adoption of key phrases for a salesperson to become a brand ambassador, similar to how anyone can bandy the word luxury about. It is not luxury because someone says writes it on a package, but becomes so when luxury is imbued through the entire experience which includes the availability of expert advice from a representative of the brand as and when it is required.
Luxury is the original and the best, it is the gold standard to which the masses aspire and before too long the caterers to the upwardly motivated many will cotton on to the fact that luxury isn’t in the product or service, but in the people that deliver it.
About the author
Paul Russell is co-founder and director of Luxury Academy London, www.luxuryacademy.co.uk, a multi-national private training company with offices in London, Delhi and Vishakhapatnam. Luxury Academy London specialise in leadership, communication and business etiquette training for companies and private clients across a wide range of sectors. Prior to founding Luxury Academy London, Paul worked in senior leadership roles across Europe, United States, Middle East and Asia. A dynamic trainer and seminar leader, Paul has designed and taught courses, workshops and seminars worldwide on a wide variety of soft skills.