Is Good Customer Service All It Takes?

Forming and nurturing good relationships between a company and its customer base is the one of the most vital and effective actions a company can take to ensure their success. Promotional engagement of a company or brand is an effective marketing strategy as it directly engages consumers; the consumers can see their in-put from the changes the company has adopted and a relationship between the consumer and company will be developed through this engagement. An example of a company that has begun to change its image through engagement marketing, by listening to their consumers and implementing the changes they have suggested is Ryanair.

Ryanair, the budget airline, has seen its net income double in the second quarter of 2014, rising to £156m. Their chief financial officer Howard Miller has put this down to improvements in customer service. The previously reviled airline company, seems to be turning its image around and attracting new customers that would have previously shunned the company. Within a year Ryanair saw their number of passengers increase by 3% up to 81.7 million. They have put this mostly down to improving customer experience and enhancing their service through many small changes. These include:

  • Allocating seats

    Issues with bad customer service a thing of the past?

    Issues with bad customer service a thing of the past?

  • Simpler website design
  • Free 2nd carry on
  • ‘Quiet flights’
  • 24 hour grace period for booking errors to be corrected
  • Reduced boarding card and bag fees
  • A new service for group bookings and corporate travellers
  • Families can receive discounts

These are initiatives from the ‘Always Getting Better‘ programme which is hoped to keep increasing the number of Ryanair passengers and expand their customer base to encompass corporate travel and business customers. So maybe good customer service really is all it takes to be successful. Ryanair was previously known for its extremely cheap flights but terrible customer service (there are many horror stories circulating about the service of the Ryanair airline and it was even been cited as the worst brand for customer service in 2013), but now it seems to be turning its image around, keeping its low cost flights and improving its other services to really compete with other budget airlines. Although, it may take some time to see how effective this customer service reform is in the long term on their image as a budget airline; there seems to be a lot of negativity  to dispel first.


The QRi Team x

Eco Cars

The future of Cars 

As environmental awareness is taking hold of the world, with countries introducing road taxes and Eco-taxes on cities and countries, Eco-vehicles should be an attractive alternative to petrol and diesel fueled cars. This should be especially true in the biggest and most populated cities, (bad pollution in Beijing even led to the fabrication of stories about pollution being so bad that the sunrise was played on screens across the city just so that people know it is daytime, this was not true but it raised important issues about pollution in the city).


Sunrise in Beijing

According to ChinaAuto, electric vehicle (EV) sales in China rose by 37.9% in 2013, leading to the assumption that people are becoming more Eco-friendly, wanting to take care of their environment. But the number of plug-in EV’s sold in China, barely scratches the surface of the total number of vehicles sold (of the 21.98 million new vehicle sales only 17,600 vehicles made were plug-in EV’s), and with the population booming across the world, these figures seem low.

Electric Car sales in Europe are currently quite strong looking at the percentages – but the actual sales are, as with China, relatively small, with only 38,617 sales of battery and plug-in hybrids. This is up from previous years, although not by much.  Despite the exemption from road taxes and the good feeling people get when doing something good for the environment, sales of Eco-cars are surprisingly low. This may be due to a number of factors.

Firstly, most people would expect the cost of the car to be cheaper than their petrol and diesel counterparts, but this is not true, as they often cost up to twice as much, even after government subsidies in some countries.

Secondly, people have fears about how far an electric car can run before needing to be recharged, and also, worry about recharge time.

Thirdly, there is still a distinct lack of charging facilities available, so it may simply be a fear of being stranded with nowhere nearby to recharge that is preventing people from buying Eco-cars.

It seems that sales of electric cars are directly linked to the amount of subsidies and road tax green parkingexemptions each government allows. Holland and Norway are two of the highest selling countries of EV’s and they are also the most generous with subsidies, road tax exemption, free toll roads, free parking, and using the bus lanes. People want the best they can get for as little as possible, so countries such as Germany, where the government does not subsidise EV’s and appear to be lagging behind countries such as Holland and Norway.

Unfortunately, being good for the environment does not seem to be a very important factor in most people’s decisions when buying cars, and while most would probably admit that it would be nice to drive around guilt free, they like to stick to what they know and trust.

However, the innovation of electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars is still in its infancy, and with every New Year surprises will be in store. And with this age’s fascination for new technology, and society’s need to have the newest gadgets, it may just be a matter of waiting. So maybe in years to come, electric cars will be the only cars on the roads.

The QRi team x

Word of Mouth Marketing and Social Media

Social media: the word of mouth platforms

Word of mouth marketing is different from naturally occurring word of mouth as it is actively influenced and encouraged by organisations. It makes sense that if one person told two people about this great company, product or brand, and these two people then each went off and told two more people about it, and so on, pretty quickly a large number of people know about it and more importantly, are talking about it.

Now, if one person posts about this great company/brand/product on social media, instantly potentially hundreds of people will see this – exponentially increasing the speed at which people are becoming exposed to it.

This concept is nothing new or revolutionary, but it is effective – especially when trying to reach the younger generations like Generation Y (or Generation Why? as some are prone to call them).

The reason that social media is so important and effective in word of mouth marketing, aside from the swift dispersal of information (which can happen across social media platforms), is that companies can take things even further by creating a dialogue between themselves and their customers on a more informal basis.

This informal connection is what helps build positive relationships with consumers. Don’t believe me? Check out some tweets by Taco Bell:

TacoBell-on-twitter Tacobell-tweet

Tweets like these have gone viral on the internet, creating a positive vibe and a friendly atmosphere between the company and its customers and potential customers.

In most cases, positive comments being passed along are the prime objective of companies encouraging word of mouth marketing. However, not all companies have the business acumen to encourage these positive comments though social media. A prime example of this is Amy’s Baking Company, brought into the limelight by Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (approximately 3.34 million people watched the episode).

The first mistake they made was being rude (to put it lightly) to their customers (and on TV!), who then went and talked about their experience online. A flood of online reviews and social media activity meant that the moment that episode was aired, foodies around the world were talking about the horror that was ‘Amy’s Baking Company’. This led to their second BIG mistake, they engaged with their (ex-) customers in an incredibly negative way, leading to a media uproar and reinforcing the already negative image they had. Now they have turned into a tourist destination, almost like a zoo, where people go to gawk rather than enjoy food.

I certainly wouldn’t follow suit.

But if you can build up a positive rapport between company and consumer, you are building a relationship that is reinforced from both sides, and the more a consumer interacts with you, the better you can understand them. And the better you understand your customers the more you can improve your services and branding, creating a positive synergistic relationship.

The QRi Team x


All You Need is Love

Brand Love and Our Lovemarker® QualiQuant® Tool

How do you measure a persons’ loyalty to a brand? How do you find out what drives consumers to buy the biggest brands? How do you build a relationship with consumers?

How about through LOVE?

Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi pioneered the idea of Lovemarks; what differentiates products and brands is the love and respect towards them that is experienced by consumers. QRi (formerly QiQ and CRAM International) has developed the Lovemarker® Tool to sensitively measure a Brands’ Lovemark status based upon levels love & respect.

“Counting the beats of your heart, not the fingers on your hands”

– Kevin Roberts

This insight into consumer behaviour allows us to go beyond understanding the rational benefits usually uncovered by traditional research (trust, reputation, and performance), and delves further into unconscious and emotional connections to brands through measuring mystery, sensuality, intimacy.

If a brand scores highly on mystery, it has great stories behind the product that draw in consumers and taps into their dreams, they use myths and icons and should inspire consumers. Sensuality involves the sounds, sights, smells, touch, and tastes that are elicited by a brand. And to truly be a Lovemark, a brand has to have intimacy – commitment, empathy, and passion.

Our Lovemarker® approach delivers insight into both rational and emotional motivations, understanding the brand relationship inside the consumer mind.

Our strategic recommendations help strengthen consumer relationships with your brand, creating loyalty beyond reason!

The Beatles had it right…. All you need is Love!

The QRi Team x

hugs8   Just to prove that Love is all around…!

Fragrance, Flavour & Synaesthesia

Sensations® is a vital QualiQuant® tool we created, which we are very proud of, having won the ESOMAR Congress Award for Best Case History for ‘How Does Your Cappuccino Feel?’ in 2013, through our extensive collaboration with Mane. The Sensations® tool allows us to discover unconscious feelings about fragrance and flavour that are not accessible by other modes of research. This provides us with unique and invaluable insight into consumers’ feelings and helps us help technicians to engineer fragrances and flavours that truly meet consumer and brand needs.

Our Sensations® methodology uses the principles of the psychology of Synaesthesia to overcome the problems presented by traditional flavour testing techniques; limited vocabulary of consumers in terms of describing flavour and fragrance and limited methods of flavour testing (i.e. hedonic questions and verbal rating scales which lack sensitivity and make it hard to discriminate between one flavour and another).

We are able to develop a rich, emotionally based, description of flavours and fragrances and to create a visual and verbal language that our clients can use to help engineer brand positioning using our Sensations® methodology.

For example, we can look at how flavour and fragrance are experienced in terms of the other senses, i.e. sight in terms of colours associated with it, touch in terms of material associations, smell in terms of odour associations, hearing in terms of musical mood associations, etc.

Knowing how people experience and associate flavours and fragrances in relation to their other senses allows us to build a projective world around each flavour or fragrance tested. Synaesthesia is thought to be the basis of long-term memory, imagination, emotion, and language, which leads to improved brand relationships through better sensory and emotional engagement with consumers resulting in stronger brands and higher brand shares.

Our Sensations® Tool has allowed us to dig far beneath the surface of consumers’ perceptions, bringing to light extraordinary insights into emotional responses to flavour and fragrance.

Read the paper here!

The QRi Team x

Where is your company on the FutureBrand Index?

QRi Consulting has been working in close collaboration with FutureBrand, helping to define the research approach against FutureBrand’s initial hypothesis, that the ranking PwC’s top 100 global companies will be re-ordered when the balance between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ (or ‘Experience’ and ‘Purpose’) is measured, regardless of their financial performance. QRi has been managing recruitment, questionnaire development, and providing in-depth analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data underpinning the report.

This work is informed by QRi’s extensive research, brand and sector knowledge and experience as well as our QualiQuant® methodologies.

Our ability to measure emotion, through evaluating companies on Purpose and Experience dimensions, has enabled us to define emotional perceptions and relationships that our global audience has with the top 100 market cap companies of the world. This approach is arguably a better predictor of future potential, showing that Future Brands have strong ratings on both Purpose and Experience.

Helping Samaritans

Recently an anonymous resident of Devon gave the Samaritans a large sum of money to help increase public awareness of the Samaritans service in Devon. The South West regional team decided to run an advertising campaign on all main bus routes in Devon and QRi Consulting were asked to help assess the effectiveness of that campaign. The research will be invaluable for the charity to learn how to maximise their very limited advertising budget for the future and to help them improve communication with the public.Samaritans logo

Samaritans have 201 branches across the UK. In the South West as a whole there were 1,163 volunteers and the service was contacted 417,961 times, by people struggling to cope. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. It is a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.

The figures also show the number of people volunteering with Samaritans across the UK and ROI in 2013 reached a ten year high of 21,200. During the same period, the charity answered 5.23 million calls for help, the highest number for five years.

A record 30,800 volunteering enquires were received in 2013 through the national Samaritans website in 2013. Samaritans relies entirely on the generosity and hard work of its volunteers to support those struggling to cope.

We at QRi are hoping to help optimise Samaritans advertising strategies by gaining insight into peoples’ perceptions of Samaritans, through surveys and in-depth interviews, so that they can effectively offer help to all who need it.

Check out all the great work Samaritans are doing here

The QRi Team

Welcome to QRi’s New Website!

We are extremely happy to be launching our new website. We have been redesigning it to make it more accessible and easier for you to follow.

So, what’s new?

Apart from the slick new design (even if we do say so ourselves), we have made our website more intuitive and interactive…. It is easy to navigate, has links to our social networking sites, and the content has been refreshed and updated.

Speaking of keeping things updated, we now have an active blog in which we will be informing, discussing, and musing about current topics, issues, and projects.

All our content can be viewed on your tablet or smart phone, so you can browse our website on the move.

You can also connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as contact us directly!

If you have any questions, queries, or comments don’t hesitate to contact us.

Happy surfing,

The QRi Team x