All posts by 371466pv

TD Banks’ Home Run!

The funny and interesting part about talking with customers is that the underlying concepts don’t change dramatically over time. The word service is still defined in the eye of the beholder. The only thing that might change is that new innovations are provided to that service. Being customer centric is about thinking through the entire experience of using a product of service. For example, if you visit Disney, would you have thought that parking your car should be a part of the magical experience? Yes, it is. It’s all part of the end-to-end journey and it’s not just going on the rides.

One of the companies that has considered this scenario and that you probably don’t expect is TD (Toronto Dominion) Bank – America’s most convenient bank. This company already provides services to its customers for more than 150 years and you can even bring your dog with you while you are doing your bank transactions. Also, its mission statement mentioned that TD bank will be the best run and totally customer-focused. But, how does this exactly work and what’s in it for the customer?  

In my opinion, every company claims to be a customer-centric organization. So, what makes TD Bank different? Theresa McLaughlin works for marketing department of TD Bank and mentions that TD Bank really lives the customer-centric focus day in and day out. For more than 10 years in a row, TD Bank has been ranked first in overall customers satisfaction on J.D. Power’s annual Canadian Retail Banking Satisfaction study (,2017). A big part of their competitive advantages leads to joint profitability and seems to be very simple; TD Bank listens to its customers across all channels and has been responsive to every customer feedback.  An institutional arrangement seems to appear as all employees spend a lot of time on the customer journey to create an emotional connection with the customers. They know that this is really important as it results in happy and loyal customers.

Another strenght of TD Bank is that they are committed to understand and connecting to what matters most in the community where they work and live. TD Bank takes it institutional environment very serious as it helps to foster positive and lasting change in the society through local community support, investments and volunteer services. In 2015, $62.9 million was provided to non-profit organizations, 1,002 green project has been started and 1 in 3 kids has been reached through TD-sponsored children’s literacy programs in Canada. (TD Bank, 2015)

Last, TD Bank says thank to you…. and means it! Other institutional arrangements come in when we take a look at TD Banks’ annual customer appreciation event(s) which they organize every year. For example, they organizes their own ‘Customer Appreciation Days’ on which they give free coffee and cake to every customer.  In addition, three years ago, the ATMS were turned into automated thanking machines and then the magic happened; TD  Bank took the effort to give personalized gifts to its customers.

We can conclude that TD Bank is a customer centric driven company. The company takes it responsibility, takes care and listen to their customers. This results in a situation where both firm and customers are better off.


Harris, R. (2015) TD BANK’S WINNING APPROACH TO CUSTOMER SERVICE (Q&A) [online]. Available at: [ Accessed 8 Mar. 2017]

TD Bank, (2015). Corporate Responsibility Report. [online] TD Bank. Available at: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2017].


How to understand Word-of-Mouth marketing in online communities?

Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is also known as social media marketing and leads to an intentional influence of consumer-to-consumer communication. Many marketers and sociologists recognize the importance of WOM as it affects many purchase decisions. WOM marketing is continuously changing as the Internet becomes more powerful; the accessibility, reach and transparency have empowered marketers to monitor WOM as never before.

The transformation of WOM
The researchers provide three WOM models before they discuss the research questions. These models are used as basic knowledge and as conceptual models in the paper.

Markets change so marketing theories should change as well to accommodate them. A review of the development of WOM is given in below and consists of three models. All three models currently coexist, and each pertains to different circumstances.

Model A
This model assumes that WOM occurs naturally among customers when marketers bring a new product to the market and perform an effective product notification through promotions and advertisement.


Model B
This model assumes that some consumers are viewed as opinion leaders. Marketers could target these opinion leaders to influence them with advertising and promotions. All the other consumers need to be influenced with advertising and promotions as well.


Model C
This model assumes that marketers have become more interested in directly managing WOM through targeted one-to-one communication programs. Marketers see consumers as co-producers of the value and meaning of WOM as the communication is produced in consumer network. This influence is creative and even hard to resist.


Research questions and findings
Three research questions are answered so that further understanding of the network coproduction model (model C) can be developed. The three questions are as follows; How do communities respond to community-oriented WOMM? What patterns do WOM communicator strategies assume? And Why do they assume these patterns? A blog-based campaign in six North American cities is used to answer the three research questions.

The findings indicate that differences are observed in the way the members of online communities respond to WOMM campaigns. The researchers introduce a new narrative model to show that a network of communication offers four different communication strategies; evaluation, embracing, endorsement and explanation. This is also shown in below. Each of them is influenced by character narrative, communication forum, communal norms, and the nature of the marketing promotion. Thus, WOM marketing does not simply increase marketing messages, but the messages are altered in the process of embedding them.


The main strength of this paper is that the researchers provide a standpoint for both theoretical and managerial implications. For the theoretical part, the researchers focused on the motivations to participate in the bold new world of network coproduction of WOM. These motivations are more complex, culturally embedded and influenced by communities with moral hazard. This research is more extensively compared with previous research that indicates that consumers engage in online communication because of altruism, reciprocity or to gain a higher status (Dichter et al., 1966).
The managerial part offers several practical suggestions for managers and marketers who employ WOM marketing techniques. The paper convinces managers and marketers to understand that WOM marketing techniques should be presented in a way that it is congruent with the ongoing character narratives, communication forums, norms and WOM environment and that their provided new narrative model should be considered.

A downside of this article is that the gathered data consists of textual, online blogs. The interpretation and analyzing of the most important parts of these textual blogs takes a lot of time and effort. The researchers are completely dependent on the participants’ productivity and writing skills. I would suggest the researchers to use different studies as well (case study, interviews etc.), especially in combination with textual blog data.
The last note is that the limitations of this paper have not been discussed. I would suggest to include the limitations to make the paper more reliable.

Kozinets, R. V., De Valck, K., Wojnicki, A. C., & Wilner, S. J. (2010). Networked narratives: Understanding word-of-mouth marketing in online communities. Journal of marketing, 74(2), 71-89.

A lesson of Southwest Airlines

It’s well known that the airline industry is a big business. From free soda, to airline services to baggage; the airline industry is an intensely competitive market. I assume that many of you have their own experiences with airlines and I totally agree if you have some bad experiences. Once I traveled to China and had a delay of more than 12 hours and guess what? No compensation. A lot of airlines are focused on euro’s and cents but fortunately some airlines do want to solve dissatisfaction by turning an ear to the voice of its customers. Southwest Airlines is an example of one of these airlines which has implemented customer experience programs to continually listen to its customers and show that they care.

Southwest Airlines is a big player in the US airline industry. This could be a result of its mission statement which is as follows: “Dedication to highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride and company spirit(southwestairlinesinvestorrelations,2016). From napkins with ‘I’d happy to hold your drink’ to stocks which are named as “LUV”, everything is about the brand. But what’s in it for the customer?

Southwest airlines CEO Herb Kelleher has and still uses a couple of secrets which create an unforgettable experience for its customers. These key secrets lead to joint profitability as happy customers benefit the company. One of the key secrets and their long-term competitive advantage works as follows; an organization should be employee centric before it can be customer centric.

In this example, institutional arrangements are considered such as employees supporting each other internally so that they can take care of customers outside the company. Happy employees will try to make the right decision and are proud to work for your company. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers and in turn, the customers will come back.

Another key secret is that Southwest airlines anticipates on customer needs. Let’s go back to the introduction of this blog and imagine that you have booked your ticket to China. Your flight departs early in the morning and the weather is stormy. You have checked the flight information a million times and as soon as you arrive at the airport the flight has been cancelled. In my experience, I had to wait for hours before the airline informed me about my options. Although legislation tries to protect flyers, the institutional environment had not been considered in my case… except for one free drink. Fortunately, the experience of many Southwest airline customers is much better. In the case of a cancelled flight due to stormy weather, a gate agent already booked tickets for the next flights before customers asked for it. In this case, a consideration of the legislation was not even necessary! Southwest airlines always try to anticipate on customers’ needs and be proactive in helping its customers.

The last key secret is to apologize sincerely. We are all just humans and we should accept that humans make mistakes and that we can’t control every situation. Sometimes, a sincere apology has more value than a monetary solution. This all started by Southwest airlines’ institutional arrangements as every employee knows that they should turn an ear to the voice of its customers. Southwest airlines then apologies. At this point, the institutional environment has been considered, as the company takes it responsibility so that both in the end the firm and customers are better off.

This all is almost too good to be true. I totally understand if you still don’t believe the things I’ve discussed above. Just relax, take a breath, and watch these little movies on Youtube to see and experience it yourself 😉

Used sources:
Hyken, S. (2014), Before you can be customer centric you must be employee centric [online] Available from: [Accessed 10 Feb. 2017]

Southwest Airlines Co. (2017) Company Overview [online] Available from:
[Accessed at 10 Feb. 2017]