Toblerone: Another example of inside-out thinking

22nd Nov 2016

Toblerone fans got a nasty surprise when they bought their favorite treat recently. The chocolate bar got a makeover, losing volume and a noticeable gap between the triangles. Customers noticed the change, but not in a good way.

Toblerone, a chocolate bar known for its triangular shape and unique packaging, reduced the size of their 170-gram (Almost 6 oz.) candy bar to 150 (5.291). Their 400-gram (14 oz.) candy bar lost 40 grams (1.4 oz.). The price, however, remains the same. Customers voiced their displeasure on their Facebook page and all over social media.

The company that produces Toblerone bars is Mondelez International. They cite the rising cost of ingredients as the reason for the change. They wanted to keep the shape and the packaging but needed to cut costs. Hence, the gap between the peaks that outrages customers—and reflects poorly on their brand.

Change the Product, Change the Feelings

I understand about cutting costs. What business doesn’t? It’s a fact of doing business that cutting costs is one of many ways to achieve the margins you need to remain profitable. After all, for most of us, profits are why we bother to have a business.

When you decide to make a necessary change to your product or service, especially one that is negative, it is important to consider how you frame the change. If you just make the change and don’t say anything about it, or worse, say the wrong thing about it, it makes customers disappointed and angry.

Take the new Starbucks rewards program (please!). They changed it recently, and customers didn’t like it. In the past, customers received a point every time they made a purchase and earned a reward after 12 points. If you just bought a brewed coffee for around $3, you could spend $36 and receive a reward. Now, you collect points based on your tab, two points for every dollar spent. However, you have to earn 125 points, which translates to paying $62.50 to get your free drink.

For some people, this program was way worse than the previous one. Just like Toblerone, some customers fussed about it on social media. Some customers decided to take their caffeine addiction elsewhere. How people feel about your product is an important part of their forming loyalty to you. If you want to keep your customers, it’s a good idea not to do things that make them feel disappointed. However, if you do disappoint them, listen to why. Then, fix it!

Taking an Inside-Out Approach Turns Things Upside Down

As Customer Experience Consultants, we advise our clients to learn to take an outside-in approach to their Customer Experience. What that means is that instead of looking out at the customers as they pass through the moments of your experience, you look at the moment of your experience as a customer and how it makes you feel.

It’s surprising for most of them, too. Many of them understand why they do what they do with customers from an operational standpoint. However, they haven’t the foggiest idea what that actually translates to in the day-to-day interaction customers have with their brand. When you look at it, or experience your moments as if you were a customer, you are often in for a rather nasty shock.

The choice to reduce volume to compensate for shrinking margins is a classic example of inside-out thinking. When a company focuses on what is good for them rather than what is good for the customer, they are engaged in inside-out thinking. In other words, they are putting the company’s needs above the customers’. This is completely backwards thinking that turns a Customer Experience upside down.

Have you felt disappointed by a product or service you've enjoyed for years? Share your thoughts below and what you think should have been done to appease you.

To learn about understanding your customers and improving your Customer Experience join one of our training courses. We have a wide range of resources - ranging from learning the CX Essentials to the tools for a customer centricity assessment.


If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

·   The Secret to Rewarding Customer Loyalty

·   How to Measure Customer Emotions

·   Are You Inside-Out or Outside-In? Designing a Customer-Focused Process

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world's leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

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