Customer Centricity lessons from the Pretty Woman movie

“It must be difficult to let go of something so beautiful” – Barney Thompson, Pretty Woman

Customer Centricity lessons from Pretty Woman Movie

Those of us who have seen the 90’s classic Pretty Woman must have remembered the character of Barney Thompson, the hotel manager of The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. What was peculiar about Barney’s character was that he knew Edward Lewis (played by Richard Gere) in and out. He knew his likes dislikes, his itinerary for the day, his persona or in short he knew Edward Lewis better than Edward himself.

Barney Thompson, Pretty Woman

Now imagine yourself arriving in a taxi at the Beverly Wilshire and before you get out of the cab, the porter greets you by your name, “Hello Mr. X, how was your flight?”

A bit surprised, since you are no Richard Gere (If you are…use your imagination), you must wonder how this happened.

After a bit prodding, the bellman reveals his secret – he popped the trunk and looked at your luggage tag while you were paying, this is when you understand that this is part of the brand: making each customer feel special and unique.

In the era of big data, hospitality industries understand that managing customer experience at every touch point, from the bellhop to front desk to room to checkout is of paramount importance. It’s not about the room and the bed. It’s about the experience and, as the porter recognizes, making people feel special at every touch point.

But what if Beverly Wilshire – or your company – could do even more?

Now let’s say when you rolled up at the Beverly Wilshire, porter not only said “Welcome Mr. X” but he also asked, “How was your flight from DC?”

Then you get to the front desk, the woman there said, “we know you are a vegetarian, so you should be sure to check out the restaurant down the block. Also since we know you are a runner, here’s a running route for you tomorrow.”

But how would they know this? By making social the second screen.

By connecting the CRM data they have about you with the social data that you share. By having a unified view of you as a customer from both transactional as well as social perspective.

  • You checked in on foursquare when you left DC and when you arrive in SFO.
  • You tweet your running times.
  • You have posted your diet.

The Beverly Wilshire recognizes that this data is useful.

Today social media makes it easy for businesses like hotels to listen and ask questions to their guests. Guests now have lots of opportunity to let them know what they are thinking and how they are doing as a company. So imagine that all of this data is connected to your Wilshire profile. Not in a creep you out kind of way, but in a way that says, “Holy goodness, Wilshire actually listens and does something about it.” Barney and his staff could use this valuable information to manage your customer experience across all of these touch points to create an even greater differentiator.

Customer Experience across silos – a great differentiator

Your relationship is not with the people, it’s with the brand. More so for services brands (like hospitality chains, airlines, couriers) – customer experience is the key takeaway, it is what generate moments of WOW, however in the social era customer experience and customer service have gained importance across industries.

By adding a personal touch to their service what the porter or the hotel manager did was to humanize your Wilshire experience. Engaged employees create happy customers and by adding a social layer, companies can augment customer experience and take their core products a step or two further.

The future belongs to companies that are able to leverage the social data as the second screen. The second screen will complement the transactional systems of yesterday to manage customer experiences across silos that are truly remarkable and differentiated.

They will be the winner in the conversation economy.

What’s your take? Leave a comment.

This blog is written by Rohit Yadav, Analytics Consultant at BRIDGEi2i

About BRIDGEi2i: BRIDGEi2i provides Business Analytics Solutions to enterprises globally, enabling them to achieve accelerated business impact harnessing the power of data. Our analytics services and technology solutions enable business managers to consume more meaningful information from big data, generate actionable insights from complex business problems and make data driven decisions across pan-enterprise processes to create sustainable business impact. To know more visit

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of BRIDGEi2i.