Copa-, Copacabana – Customer Journeys from Goodfellas

Jul 23, 2019 | Marketing

Remember the scene in Goodfellas where mobster Henry Hill takes his date Karen to the Copacabana? The characters — played by Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco — experience the ultimate customer journey through the New York City club. And, it’s all masterfully captured by director Martin Scorsese in a whirlwind, three-minute-long single take that follows the couple.

First, the Copacabana’s valet takes Henry’s car. Then, after seeing a crowd waiting outside to get into the club, Henry bypasses the line entirely and enters through the basement instead. A staff member opens the door for Henry and Karen, as others usher them further through the halls. With their arms intertwined, they walk through the bustling kitchen while Henry pats the cooks on the back. The new couple emerges from the kitchen directly into the club, where the maître d’hôtel immediately orders a special spot to be set up for them, saying, “anything you need, just let me know.” The servers carry out a table to the front and place Henry and Karen ahead of already-seated patrons.

Capped off with a bottle of wine, Henry and Karen get the absolute best spot in the house to hear the zingers from the comedian: “Dr. Wellsler is here — gave a guy six months to live. Couldn’t pay his bill — gave him another six months.”

Naturally, Karen is impressed by it all – “What do you do?” she asks Henry — and who wouldn’t be?

Even if you do not operate a fictionalized New York nightclub, there’s a lot that leaders of magnetic organizations can learn from the unforgettable customer journey that Henry and Karen experience at the Copacabana.

Customer journeys: capture the breadth of interaction points that affect customer experience

Henry was clearly a loyal patron of the club. He knew all the staff, and all the ins and outs of how to get that premium Copacabana experience. But what happened during the off-screen parts of the journey? Did he first hear about the club on the radio? Why did he decide to go there that night and not, say, Coney Island for cotton candy? As leaders, it’s important to appreciate the scope of potential touchpoints where your customers may interact with your organization, in order to understand what fuels customer loyalty.

From first contact to final interactions, mapping out customer journeys helps leaders understand the perspectives of their most important audiences, and how a positive relationship with a customer unfolds over time. For instance, when the Copacabana servers were setting up the special table for Henry and Karen, they were sure to also place a fresh cloth and a lamp to set an intimate mood. Customers remember these little touches.

Customer personas: understand customer motivations, pain points, and unmet needs

At MacPhie, as part of our customer journey mapping services, we develop customer personas — archetypes of your key audiences — that provide clarity as to how you can best market and position your organizations. These personas outline the story, motivations, pain points, decision-making criteria, personality traits, and sources of information for each customer archetype. Personas help you get into the minds of your customers, who hopefully are not Mafia-connected gangsters with a penchant for violence because, let’s face it, that is not a sustainable model.

Many customers, like Henry, understand some of their underlying thought processes. For instance, he leaves his car with the valet because “it’s easier than leaving it a garage… a lot quicker.” He enters the club via the basement because “it’s better than waiting in the line.” But deep down, he wanted to look cool on a date, to showcase the seductive mobster lifestyle. Focus group testing, individual interviews, and other research tools can help leaders uncover the conscious, and unconscious, motivations and pain points that govern their customers’ choices.  

Provide a consistent customer experience that is appropriately tailored

At one point, as the camera tracks the special table being carried to the front of the club for Henry and Karen, viewers can faintly hear off-screen customers complain to the maître d’hôtel, “hey, how come we can’t get seats?”

As leaders, you want to ensure your brand experience is consistent for each customer across touchpoints. It might be fine to have a tailored, premium approach for mobsters whom you fear might burn down your establishment. But, understand that Dr. Li the law-abiding dentist might resent your favoritism towards those who are more legally disinclined.

It’s a fine balance, really.

At MacPhie, our customer journey mapping can help ensure leaders holistically understand the perspectives of their customers. By helping you to develop research-based approaches and customer-focused messaging, we can help you deliver a premium customer journey experience to everyone, not just those who work “in construction.”

By: Swaraj Mann


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