Oh man, I do admit to loving a lot about Virgin in general – there’s no point hiding that fact. I don’t just love them for the usual reasons (@richardbranson, the legroom in economy, TIVO etc.), I love them as they frequently set the standard that others could and should follow in a variety of areas, and customer experience is one of them.

Witness this poster I photographed on a train recently (yes, it does seem a habit is forming – see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/both-platforms-dr-geraint-evans for more rail inspired rambling!); a simple list of every way that a customer can contact Virgin Trains – choose your channel, basically. No excuses, it’s all there: how many other companies can say that?

I frequently help companies develop their customer contact mix and it’s amazing, considering the availability of great new technology, that so many major companies are still reliant on the same old methods.

That’s not to say the ‘same old methods’ of telephony and snail mail are not effective; I had a fantastic experience with Virgin Atlantic recently, where my family-sized booking was just not working with the website’s way of doing things (it was definitely a niche booking of multiple trips, use of miles, stopping points and convoluted child-friendly seat selection) – I picked up the phone in the end and completed it all in one call, even receiving a further unsolicited confirmation call later to double check everything before the tickets were issued. I tweeted my thanks to the agent and, within 20 mins, I had a nice tweet back from @virginatlantic thanking me for my feedback, saying they’d they pass it on to the manager of the agent I spoke too. A warm feeling was made even warmer with a guarantee of even more positive word of mouth from me to those I know (and those who read my rambling blogs!)

So, what’s the moral of the story for companies looking to be more like Virgin? In 2015, customers are expecting to be able to interact in the way they want, when they want – they aren’t expecting an omni-channel utopia (although it would be nice), but they are at least wanting to communicate with you on the channel of their choosing – not the one that is the most efficient one for you!

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