Why you should focus on your customer experience strategy
There are seminal moments in your life that you either look forward to or dread like a 12th century plague promising to wipe out half of the Earth’s population. In the first category, you can easily place moments like your wedding day, the birth of your children, landing your first job, going to Disney World for the first time and the list goes on. On the second category, you can place moments such as filing your taxes, paying bills and buying a car.
I want to use that last example to showcase why companies that are now leading the pack and beating the competition are using the customer experience as a competitive advantage like never before. A few months ago, I was faced with the decision to purchase a car. I followed the usual route of going to a few dealers, with all of them rolling out the regular song and dance of never finding any other dealer better than them. Then, someone turned me to an online car company by the name of Carvana. The whole goal of Carvana is to make the car buying experience enjoyable. Not going to the supermarket and I found the loaf of bread I needed experience. No, they want their customers to feel elated about the idea of buying a car from beginning to end, and boy did they ever deliver.
First the entire car buying experience happens online(get rid of the pesky hovering salesman). You get to see the entire inventory based on make and models (everything at your fingertip). Once you choose your “future transportation mate”, you get to figure out the total price according to your credit score, down payment and trade in (None of the price is right guessing game with the wizard of oz in the back). Once you decide to seal the deal, your documents can be uploaded on their site and signed digitally. You can make your down payment directly from your bank, and they handle your tags for you. All of this is great, but you haven’t heard the best part yet. You don’t speak to anyone throughout the process if you choose not to. And, in a few days your car is delivered where you choose on a truck bed, and you have seven days to decide if you made the best or worse decision of your life and return the car for an exchange or a full refund, no questions asked. All I could muster after my experience was why in the world didn’t someone start with buying cars this way since the beginning?
The Customer Experience, better known as CX is nothing new of course. The process of gauging customer satisfaction at every single touch point has been around since the seventies. However, very few companies really incorporated it as a Key Performance Indicator aimed at driving growth and revenues. This is quickly changing with more companies finding success by squarely focusing on customer-centricity. In fact, customer experience is expected to overtake price and product as the number one brand differentiator over the next 5 years. Almost nine out of 10 organizations say they expect to be competing primarily on the basis of how they interact with customers.
The critical leverage of using The Customer Experience as a differentiator is learning to truly understand how the customer engages with your product and service at critical junctures and what type of emotions he or she feels at those moments. It may seem like an easy thing to do, but as you scale any service, you quickly find that your customers begin to segment along various touch points.
Nevertheless, gaining a true understanding of the customer journey is critical in mastering the Customer Experience approach. If you want to invest in this strategy, begin by using methods like Design Thinking to truly observe how and when your clients use your service or products. You can also use tools such as Milky Map to understand how each critical touch point either creates barriers or lowers them for the customer. Once you have mapped out the entire process for the customer, then find ways to either eliminate or lower the barriers to entry for getting things done quickly and seamlessly.
The emerging business landscape promises to be quicker, faster and fraught with shifting client expectations. With competitive levers quickly dwindling, critical differentiators like the customer experience are emerging as exponential forces for growth and sustainability. Customer Experience (CX) Journey Economics is about striking the right balance between what customers expect and what financially makes sense for your company to deliver. Organizations who learn quickly how to shift their focus and decision-making squarely on the customer will most likely be the ones left standing.
For more information about how to understand and master the Customer Experience, you can read Vision Critical’s guidebook “The Enterprise Guide to Customer Experience” or contact Gilead Sanders, and we can show you how we’ve helped brands leverage this critical skill.