Customer Experience, the last Strategic Battleground

In this 24/7/365 ‘Always On’ world in which organisations now have to operate, it has become harder than ever to compete in pretty well any market.

Traditional points of differentiation have been whittled away by a perfect storm of Price Comparison and Peer-Review websites (think what TripAdvisor has done to the service delivery of the hospitality market), Auto-Switch websites (for example comparethemarket’s “Auto Sergei’ service) and the behemoth that is Social Media.

As a consequence even Brands which have been household names for years are becoming commoditised by the onslaught of Review, Price Comparison and Switch.

The effect of Social Media are perhaps the most powerful and ubiquitous of them all. Paradoxically, Social Media offers not only a solution to this Brand Erosion but the chance the rescue and redeem a Brand.

Customer Service and the Customer Experience, for so long the ‘poor man’ of the Marketing Mix is back. Not only is it back but it is now THE game.

The Customer is King, his experience determines his reality and the driving impact of Social Media makes the Customer Experience the ONLY strategy worth pursuing.

It used to be that if you gave a customer a good experience, he would tell an average of 7 people about you. These would be mostly close associates. Conversely, if you gave a customer a bad experience, he would tell an average of 22 people. Bad but nowhere near as catastrophic as what would happen today.

Interestingly, in. the old model, people tended not to really heed the advice or opinion of strangers. That has changed and how. Readers will be familiar of the following scenario:

You are looking to book a hotel for your holiday. So you visit a peer-review site such as Tripadvisor.com. You find a hotel that seems to suit your needs, it has 100 reviews, 98 give it 5/5, 2 give it 1/5.

Which reviews do you read?

Do you book this hotel?

This is the power of the customer experience.

In order to deliver a truly world-class Customer Experience, organisations need to re-align with their cultures and their systems to deliver compelling value and great customer experiences. Value is a moveable feast, it can be created, it can be (easily) destroyed, and it migrates from one business model to another.

In order to deliver lasting value, organisations need to align their cultures, processes and systems so as to deliver consistently great customer experiences (‘Moments of Truth’).

There is much being written right now about Digital Transformation but very little about the fact that this transformation MUST be centred on the consistent delivery of friction-free customer interactions (Zero Moments of Truth). If we go to the trouble of aligning all our disparate processes and digital systems to suit corporate needs rather than Customer Experience Improvement needs, we will have blown our last great chance of competing in the modern world.

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