In a hyper-connected world, how can the valuable human connection be maintained between brands and customers? &Open is a ‘customer happiness platform’ that helps brands like Airbnb, WeWork and Turo stay connected to users through personalised gifting. In this episode, we are joined by &Open’s co-founder and Director Jonathan Legge to discuss how his startup is helping major companies win their customer’s hearts through the age-old practice of giving and why real relationships are built on care.
In this interview, Jonathan also talks about:
- The importance of human connection in an hyper-connected world
- How good gifting can reinforce what a brand stands for
- Navigating the legacy left behind by the corporate gifting industry of old
- The power of contextualising the gifts you send
- Why bringing moments of surprise and delight to the customer journey can be impactful
- Scaling &Open and the challenge of setting the right pace of growth
“We’re always endeavouring to keep the customer journey coherent and making sure there is that same narrative running through.”
In the following extract, Jonathan outlines why he believes small amounts of friction – appearing at the right time and in the right place – within the customer journey can truly delight.
“What has been really interesting is that everyone is talking about stripping the friction out of everything and Amazon has done that amazingly well. But they are transactional and they’re not looking to engage you emotionally. If you are looking to engage someone in that way, you need to have those little bits of friction. If our human relationships were frictionless — well, I’m not sure how you’d have a frictionless relationship with someone really!
“We could just say [to our customers]: ‘Tell us your country and click one of these icons and that’s your gift’. But we don’t. We’re like: ‘Wha-hay, you’re getting a gift!’ Click here and some animation happens. People talk about removing the friction but it’s also about gamifying it.
“Taking it further, we have to gamify the experience at a technical level, but we also have to do that at a physical level as well – the email, the platform experience, that has to line up. “Additionally, that gift arriving on your doorstep, that has to speak that same language. That when you open the package it feels that same way, and from the messaging within the package as you are unboxing it, that same experience happens. We’re always endeavouring to keep that coherent and making sure there is that same narrative running through the whole thing. When you do that, it’s really strong.”
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If you enjoyed this episode you might be interested to hear about another company making its mark in the world of CX: This Audio Startup is Making it Effortless for Consumers to Receive News. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter to receive our latest news and insights and to get the lowdown on our podcast episodes.