Who is an experience maverick?
A company who has exceeded expectations of providing what is considered as traditionally good customer experience (CX) and redefined the art of curating such experiences.
While we are all familiar with the building blocks of good customer journeys – efficient customer service, a digitalised interface, personalised interactions, an experience maverick breaks these boundaries and wows customers with above and beyond experiences.
We define an experience maverick as a company that is:
- 1. Doing the unusual
Companies that are reinventing the norm by creating unique and unforgettable ideas, cultures, environments (all in all, experiences) – setting them apart from the rest of the competition.
- 2. Has taken risks to accomplish the outcome
Companies that are taking calculated risks to create their own business path – utilising their creativity, expertise and insights for everlasting impressions on their customers.
The team has conducted a comprehensive analysis across 13 countries in APAC to identify the top 5 companies who are mavericks. Specifically, twimbit:
- reviewed existing CX studies, company profiles and annual reports (if applicable) to identify exemplary performers in CX;
- engaged with several industry experts to validate insights and perspectives.
- This report is researched and written by Alexis Low, Wei Min Yi, Manoj Menon, and Syahirah Raffi.
#1 Sip in Style with Bacha Coffee: The epitome of beverage luxury
When customers think about the coffee culture, 2 types come to mind.
1. The first is the on-the-go coffee offered by massive coffee chains like Starbucks where coffee is sold to patrons rushing to places with the focus placed on speed and convenience.
2. The other is the slow, café experience where customers get to sit down in a comfortable environment and sip coffee over brunch.
- Founded in 1910 Marrakech, Bacha Coffee transcends both of these cultures. It marries its Arabican-coffee expertise with its rich history and offers unmatched luxury coffee experiences in one of the most expensive locations – benchmarking itself against luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel and the like.
What makes Bacha Coffee an Experience Maverick?
The coffee brand created a blue ocean strategy of selling the experience of buying and consuming coffee. Its experience centre is created to flood the senses with exquisite interior, the aromatics of premium quality coffee and world-class service.
Outstanding feature – Bacha Coffee’s flagship store: The Arch
Located in Changi Airport, Singapore, Bacha Coffee’s largest retail space is not competing with the other coffee joints or bakeries. In fact, it is competing with the perfume, cosmetics and liquor category – becoming the must-stop location in the airport. The boutique:
- 1. Is illuminated by glass arches, revealing a dreamy library of coffee canisters that are 11-metres tall spread across the 7000 sq ft space.
- 2. Presents a breathtaking hand-painted stained glass ceiling, filling the space with colours.
- 3. Offers over 200 varieties of premium coffee from around the world for travelers passing through.
- 4. Offers a range of signature croissants, kouglof and pound cakes served in a tray with vanilla bean Chantilly cream.
- Distinct market identity as a world-leading luxury coffee brand within 24 months.
- Fastest growing retail store in Changi Airport.
- Multiple award winner across categories for coffee and luxury.
#2 Insuring with heart: Bajaj Allianz revolutionises the insurance industry with a people-first practice
For consumers in India, the process of purchasing insurance and making claims is a complicated and tedious one. The complex customer journeys, extensive documentations and the lack of transparency is often frustrating but sadly accepted by customers.
Bajaj Allianz breaks the status quo of insurance experience by not only acknowledging customer frustrations but also provides innovative customer-centric approaches in insurance. It firmly believes in going above and beyond for every customer and creating ecosystems of support. Bajaj Allianz is awarded with one of the highest NPS scores in the insurance industry worldwide.
What makes Bajaj Allianz an Experience Maverick?
By constantly listening to customers, the company created one of the world’s most unique initiative in insurance. It identified that the tedious administrative work is one of the most stressful parts of the hospitalisation process in India. As such, the insurer created a program where it deploys Care Angels to provide personalise support to patients, helping them navigate these aggravating tasks so they can fully focus on getting better.
Outstanding feature – Care Angels program
On top of feeling unwell, patients need to worry about figuring out paperwork, financial support, medical expenses and claims.
The Care Angels program by Bajaj Allianz is created to relieve patients from administrative stressors and celebrate their journey to recovery. These are the key aspects of the program:
- 1. Angels get trained in a holistic and stringent 21-day program and cultivate a deep sense of compassion and empathy
- 2. Angels support patients and hospital staffs through all hurdles that is typically encountered in the hospitalisation journey
- 3. The Angels to patient ratio is kept small (1 to 4) to ensure that all patients’ needs are being methodically and empathetically met
- 4. Angels are empowered to celebrate patients and make them feel valued in the often-challenging recovery journey
- 5. Patients are often surprised by how easy and warm the usual stressful hospital experience becomes with Care Angels, while the hospital finds them extremely helpful as they free their administrators from having to manage these tedious tasks
- General Insurance Company of the Year at India Insurance Summit & Awards 2022
- Customer Service Provider of the year 2020 – 2021
- Employee Driven CX of the year 2023
- 157% enhanced productivity in policy assurance for farmers
- ~95% of policies digitally delivered
- Top 50 most trusted BFSI brands in India
#3 Art meets fashion: Gentle Monster breaks boundaries with experiential retail
Popularly known for its uniquely designed eyewear and art exhibition-like stores, Gentle Monster was founded in 2011 by Hankook Kim and a small team of designers.
Being in a niche market, Gentle Monster finally made its big breakthrough in the fashion industry when its first flagship store opened in Seoul. The retail space resembled a futuristic and multi-sensory art installation rather than a regular retail store. It exceeded customers’ expectations on what an eye-glass store should look like, quickly garnering interests and popularity among the public and celebrities.
What makes Gentle Monster an Experience Maverick?
It deepens its connections with its customers by creating immersive and memorable retail experiences which displays unique eyewear designs and mesmerising, futuristic art installations to capture the customer’s senses and attention.
Outstanding feature – Multi-sensory art exhibitions
Gentle Monster has stores in over 30 countries with each space coordinated to display distinct and free art installations every 21 days for a fresh retail experience for its visitors.
The in-store art installations and its’ Haus Concepts (combination of sister brands in multi-floor, futuristic displays) are revolutionising retail shopping by resembling art exhibitions. Gentle Monster:
- 1. Plays with senses of sight, hearing and smell to transport visitors to another reality with fresh and new experiences – creating a unique and memorable shopping experiences
- 2. Pays respects to local culture by incorporating elements of art, architecture, and technology into their installations, creating a sense of belonging in visitors.
- 3. Encourages visitors to share their experiences of the exhibition on social media by providing instagrammable moments everywhere for visitors – improving brand image among the public
- Investment from L Catterton, one of the world’s largest consumer-focused private equity firms in 2019.
- Increase of USD$160 Million in sales within 4 years
- Recognised as 2021’s Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies
#4 SCB: Building community-centric financial solutions for the overlooked Thai population
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is 110-year-old bank from Thailand. While traditional enterprises find reinvention to be challenging, this historically-rich Thai bank is in the midst of reinventing itself to enhance its competitiveness in this digital era.
As SCB transforms, the bank shows that it keeps its communities at the heart of everything they do by crafting services and building cutting-edge digital platforms for the Thai people.
What makes SCB an Experience Maverick?
SCB leverages digital as a mechanism to reimagine banking by focusing on solving the customers’ biggest challenges. It has developed unique journey-specific apps to radically transform customer outcomes. From its industry-leading Robinhood superapp for food delivery to financing the underserved Thai community, SCB puts customers first time and time again.
Outstanding feature – Robinhood
Robinhood is lifestyle non-profit superapp built specifically to give back to society. It creates a platform that does not charge vendors any fee:
- 1. Encouraging sellers who were initially gatekept by high platform fees to enter the crucial e-commerce space and offer more at better qualities
- 2. Creating jobs and wage gains for deliver personnels
- 3.1M+ users and counting on Robinhood
- 250K merchants onboarded on Robinhood
- 92K SCB customers acquired from Robinhood
- ~50% more transactions with SCB by Robinhood users
- 1st Global banking entity to have a headquarter in the Metaverse
- SCB10X is the 2nd top VC globally for Fintech Investments in 2021
#5 Uniqlo: Establishing fashion as a way of life
Uniqlo’s humble beginnings trace back to a small city in Yamaguchi, where founder Tadashi Yanai took over his father’s men’s clothing store in 1984 and began producing the brand’s own private label clothing.
Uniqlo’s unparalleled success is rooted in its unwavering commitment to innovation, continuously putting the needs of its customers first. Embodying its “Lifewear” philosophy, Uniqlo not only prioritizes style but also strives to coexist with local economies, ultimately contributing to the prosperity of communities around its stores.
What makes Uniqlo an Experience Maverick?
It embeds fashion into customers’ lives by designing stores with a purpose – a place where customers not only visit to shop, but also to spend quality time with their families and interact with local communities.
Outstanding feature – Destination stores deeply rooted into communities
Uniqlo enables different forms of experiences in its brick-and-mortar stores, all tailored to the communities around them:
- 1. Uniqlo’s flagship store in the Ginza shopping district – a lifestyle hub and museum where tourists and fans alike can delve into the brand’s rich history and cutting-edge technology. Customers can also take home unique memorabilia, including customized clothing and exclusive items in collaboration with beloved stores in the Ginza community.
- 2. Yokohama store – a family-focused space blending play and retail seamlessly. It boasts an enormous outdoor space complete with 3-story slides, jungle gyms, bouldering and climbing facilities, perfect for active children and families
- 3. Harajuku futuristic store – Being at the epicentre of pop culture, this space specifically caters to young shoppers. It features a 240 touchscreen display on the wall, offering outfit recommendations and inspiring shoppers to explore new styles and easily locate their preferred outfits in-store.
- $14.7 billion sales for FY2022
- 2,394 stores globally
- 2.4 million followers on Instagram
- 1.3 billion clothing items sold every year
- 140 million app users
- $6,300 sales per square meter of retail floor space