A Rare Sustainable Competitive Advantage

In a highly competitive market where a competitive advantage is rare it seems crazy to even talk about sustainable competitive advantages.

So what are we talking about when we use the term “sustainable” in relationship to a competitive advantage?

We define it as “a competitive advantage that your competitors’ fine difficult to copy” and as mentioned there is not much out there that is not able to be copied.

A quality customer experience strategy is reliant on three areas of a business being in alignment –

• A committed leadership

• A people & Customer focused culture

• The right people

Leadership, culture and the right people are difficult for competitors’ to copy and that’s the reason a quality customer experience strategy gives a business a sustainable competitive advantage.

Let’s start from the most important end. The right people want to work in an organisation that has a culture that motivates and allows them to develop and be the best they can be.

That kind culture is created by the leadership of the organisation; a leadership that totally understands that everyone in the organisation plays a role in the experience the organisation is delivers to its customers. This makes everyone important not just those that have direct responsibility for delivering the experience.

That kind of culture comes from a leadership that is totally committed to both the organisations people and customers. We are talking about a leadership that walks the talk, a leadership that is completely focused on providing the team with all they need to be able to consistently perform to a defied customer experience.

It’s that kind of leadership and culture that not only attracts the right people they keep them.

I have lost count of the number of times key people within an organisation have been headhunted by a competitor and have never performed for the new organisation to anywhere near the level they did for their previous employer because the leadership style and focus and the resulting culture never allowed them to do so.

Great business leaders not only understand that a successful customer experience strategy is totally dependant on commitment and involvement. They understand that “their people support what they create” so very quickly adopted a development program that fosters involvement across the organisation and in some cases including suppliers.

Business leaders also understand that if the do find themselves with a competitive advantage as a result of product or service development that advantage for most including highly innovative companies like Apple will be very short lived.


One of the few remaining sustainable competitive advantage is the quality and the consistency of an organisations customer experience. That level of customer experience come down to the choice your people make everyday regarding the quality of experience they deliver.

A quality customer experience strategy is totally focused on ensuring the choice your people make is the right one every time with every customer.

What a leader can do is provide quality leadership, a people and customer focused culture and ensure they have the right people on-board.

The result a sustainable competitive advantage.


Chris Bell is the Managing Director of Customer Experiences, a company committed to building successful businesses through the development of high quality customer experiences and co-founder of cemNZ www.customerexperience.co.nz chris@customerexperiences.co.nz www.customerexperiences.co.nz 027 2792360