Two things became very clear to me back in 2003. Business was struggling to find a competitive advantage in a market that was fast becoming highly competitive and commoditised and two, the future success of business was going to be very much tied to the quality and consistency of its customer experience and the additional value that experience delivered to customers.
It’s been ten years since we started Customer Experiences Ltd and began our journey to educate New Zealand business on what a long-term strategic approach to the development of a customer experience is all about.
Due to those efforts and advancement made in this area by key international companies more New Zealand organisations are starting to get onboard.
There is no doubt that we would like to see faster progress. Even with advances in technology and the increased choices this has given customers change has been slow, mainly due to the fact that most companies believe they are delivering a superior customer experience. However, only a small percentage of their customers actually agree. This coupled with the requirement for changes in leadership style and business culture for a customer experience strategy to be successful have been two of the limiting factors.
It’s good to know that there are areas where we can be certain, in what most see as an uncertain future. If you need motivation to work on these five areas of your business there can be no better than the fact that the majority of businesses are not. This is because either they don’t understand the positive impact they well have or they lack the knowledge and expertise.
1) Unless there is real effort to build genuine relationships with your customers, loyalty will continue to decline and marketing costs will increase. Your customers have an abundance of choice and choice in today’s market is power.
2) The internet will continue to play an increasingly powerful role in commerce. However the quality and consistency of the e-commerce customer experience will be just as important as all other experiences with an organisation.
3) The growth of customer word of mouth recommendations via websites and social media will become even more powerful. As a result word of mouth recommendation will play a major part in a company’s growth or demise.
4) Employee disengagement will continue to increase in this country. It is already at a very high rate and is severely impacting our productivity and the quality of customer experiences. Placing your people as your number one priority will arrest this damaging trend.
5) Creativity especially with the rapid development of technology will be the new competitive advantage. Creating a culture of creativity and capitalising on ideas at speed will keep an organisation ahead of its competitors.
We believe organisations that are focusing on these five areas as part of a customer experience development strategy will make the most significant progress in 2014.
Other benefits to flow from this focus include a reduction in marketing costs, lower employee turnover, the ability to attract the right people and the major benefit in a commoditised market, a sustainable competitive advantage.
In a highly competitive economy where customers are overwhelmed with choice business must understand the power has shifted. The standard has gone from just meeting customers’ expectations to now finding ways to exceed those expectations and the way to do that is to adopt and committed to developing a high quality consistently delivered customer experience.
Chris Bell is the Managing Director of Customer Experiences a company that specialises in the development of high quality customer experiences.
For further information firstname.lastname@example.org mb 027 2792360 www.customerexperiences.co.nz