Sir Richard Branson on Customer Experience

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” which is offered to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: customer experience

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group companies, speaking at Dreamforce 2012 talked about how he decides to get into a business. He offered that after 100 or so round-trips on British Airways, he found the staff was dreadfully unhappy and the food and service mediocre at best. He thought he could do it better, that customers would appreciate that, and he could build a nice business that he would enjoy using.

Virgin Airways has taken considerable market share from British Airways. Virgin expanded to Australia and has 35% market share there. Virgin America was founded on the premise that it wouldn’t be hard to surpass the customer experience provided by the U.S.-based airlines. Hard to disagree with his assessment, right United, American, US Airways, Delta?

What is the innovation?

  • Hiring a managing director who is passionate about the value proposition who can attract, hire and inspire others to be part of the leadership team.
  • Finding out what customers don’t like and addressing those issues straight away.
  • Hiring people who care about people and putting them in customer-facing roles.
  • Having fun and making it fun.
  • Treating paying customers like they are the reason for the airline.

Complicated? Not really. But, not trivial to execute either or more companies would be able to achieve this level of success. These “innovations” are helping the Virgin portfolio of companies thrive.

Thought for the week:

Heard via Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE at Dreamforce 2012:

“Everybody has a strategy ‘til they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!


Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

© 2012 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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