It’s very clear that organisations who concentrate on making sure their customers consistently receive a great experience will do much better than those that are focused only on price as their competitive advantage.
The 2011 Right Now study found that 61 percent of NZers removed their business from companies whose service didn’t meet expectations.
Businesses need to develop a sustainable competitive advantage that includes a culture focused on adding value if they are to grow customer retention. Existing customers are by far your most powerful sales people, another significant benefit and reason to grow real loyalty, rather than using gimmicks like coffee cards. Real loyalty is a result of taking the time to build relationships with your customers.
I get interesting reactions to the suggestion that business should focus on a “sustainable competitive advantage”. Reactions including- “what is that”, to “how do you do it”.
A sustainable competitive advantage is one that competitors find difficult to copy. One of the few remaining sustainable competitive advantages in this highly commoditised world is the development of a customer experience strategy.
We find that many business owners understand the need for a cohesive customer experience strategy. The issue is that very few have the expertise to put a successful long-term strategy in place.
Throughout the business world customer related activities have been undertaken as initiative programmes. They run for a short period but are never embraced as a full operational strategy.
Organisations readily tout ‘going the extra mile’ to ‘total customer commitment’. They detail their intentions in brochures and advertising but it’s not working. Intentions and initiatives are many, but sustainable success is rare.
For a customer centric strategy to be successful, it must have total commitment from every level of an organisation. Your people and customers are not listening to what you say - they are watching what you do.
The most powerful influence on a customer’s experience is your people. Their ability to wow your clients will have a major financial impact on both referrals and additional business. Bad experiences will lead to a negative financial impact, both in terms of lost business and damaged reputation.
Customer Experiences has just launched an online customer experience development program www.customerexperiences.co.nz that allows a business to work through a seven step development process at an affordable price.
Chris Bell is the Managing Director of Customer Experiences a business committed to building successful businesses through the development of high quality customer experiences. www.customerexperiences.co.nz 027 2792360 firstname.lastname@example.org