“Yesterday’s delight is today’s expectation, and brands don’t get credit just for meeting expectations.”

As one of the world’s biggest cycling brands, Peloton has carved out their place in the market through a loyal membership. With The Future of Customer Experience in mind, we spoke with Brad Olson – the SVP of Member Experience at the company – to talk touch points, tribes and true inspiration.


Nearly every company claims to be customer-centric. Yet it’s clearly very difficult to walk the walk. How does a business like Peloton go beyond paying lip-service to the member experience, and really making it paramount to your approach?

One of our core values at Peloton is to “put members first” and “obsess over every touchpoint of the member experience.” While that may sound like lip service, we have lived up to that value by investing heavily to build a vertically integrated business to truly own the end-to-end member journey.

From the beautifully designed bike, to the intuitive and integrated software, to the custom-built production studio in New York, we have built each component of the platform ourselves to ensure a truly seamless member experience.

We even launched our own Field Operations team to ensure seamless and on-brand bike deliveries in some of our biggest markets. These are highly-trained Peloton employees driving Peloton branded vehicles who don’t leave our members’ homes until they are fully set up and taking their first ride. It’s not the cheapest way to deliver a bike, but it consistently delights our members and sets them up to be brand advocates for life.

What’s the biggest misconception you’ve had about your members, and how did you go about correcting course?

Peloton was founded as an ecommerce business, but our founders realized quickly how many consumers wanted to try the bike before they bought.

Our first showroom at The Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey proved the impact of trial on our conversion rate, and we now have 24 showrooms around the country where future members can try the bike. And we continue to test new opportunities for trial, from a mobile tour to our recently-launched partnership with Westin Hotels & Resorts, which put Peloton bikes in over 30 Westin hotels around the country.

The hidden benefit of this approach is that it has also created opportunities for our existing members to engage with the brand. Our members go out of their way to stay at Westin, and our showrooms have become local community hubs to meet one another, take their milestone rides, and buy the latest Peloton branded apparel.

In this landscape, consumers are more precious than ever before about what they spend their attention on. Our belief is that at any touchpoint a brand must be either saving time and freeing up attention for the customer by making life seamless OR ratcheting up the impact and offering the truly one-of-a-kind.

Does that fit within Peloton’s own Member Experience strategy, and can you think of a few touchpoints where you work to save or seize the customer’s attention?

That’s the beauty of Peloton: our product both saves our members time and seizes their attention through a captivating experience.

John Foley, our founder and CEO, founded the company because he and his wife loved boutique fitness classes but couldn’t always squeeze it into their busy lives (especially once they had kids). A 45-minute studio class can end up being a 90-minute commitment once you factor in the travel, early arrival to avoid losing your spot, etc. Peloton offers up to 14 live classes and over 5,000 on-demand classes that range from 10 to 120 minutes, so our members are always just seconds away from a class that fits their schedule. The traditional studio model just doesn’t allow for this type of flexibility.

And this is not a stationary bike where you mindlessly pedal with TV on in the background. We seize our members’ attention with a fully immersive experience with an interactive, dynamic leaderboard. Our instructors are connected to our members while they teach, and they even give ‘shout outs’ to members who are riding live from around the country. It’s hard not to be rapt with attention when the instructor calls you out – by name – to push harder.

Do you find the Peloton member gets harder to please by the day? If so, what’s your advice for staying ahead of rapidly changing expectations?

I wouldn’t say that our members are getting harder to please, but rather that what is needed to please them changes often and quickly. Yesterday’s delight is today’s expectation, and brands don’t get credit just for meeting expectations.

So we constantly look for new opportunities to proactively ‘surprise and delight’ our members. Just today, we identified the Peloton member who had taken rides at the most Westin hotels since we launched the partnership and surprised him with a ‘swag bag’ of Westin and Peloton gear.

And on the reactive front, we listen to our members across every single touchpoint, including our Official Facebook Rider Page, where 37,000 of our most engaged members share their achievements, motivate one another, and provide feedback to us. Then we roll up everything we’re seeing in a regular ‘voice of the member’ report that goes out to every single person in the company. This informs our strategic priorities and ensures that our work drives the biggest member impact.

From within, or outside, your industry, which business truly inspires you in terms of how well they serve their customers?

My team and I are big fans of the highly responsive and affable service that brands like Warby Parker, Zappos, and Casper provide to their customers. But I come from the world of hospitality, so most of my favorites are in that space.

The staff at St. Regis Hotels are trained to observe everything during a guest’s stay and act on that information to enhance the guest’s experience. For example, if they notice that a guest set the temperature rather high, they may leave an extra blanket on the bed. During a stay last year, I ate a banana out of a fruit bowl in my room and, the next day, there were three more bananas waiting for me. The staff noticed my preference for the banana over the other fruit and replaced it with more.

This level of attentive and personalized service creates lifelong brand advocates, which is certainly our aspiration at Peloton as well.


 

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