Top 12 Business Challenges in 2016

There has been plenty of talk lately about the changes businesses will need to make if they are to see growth in 2016.

Customer Experiences Managing Director Chris Bell has listed 12 areas that business will need to gain a greater understanding of if business performance is to improve.

Businesses over the last ten years have struggled to get to grips with the need for a genuine customer focus, a focus that will add greater value from the customer’s perspective. Most businesses are still focused on price as their only competitive advantage with the resulting pressure on margins.

1) 80% of businesses think they are performing better than their customer’s think they are.

Businesses must start listening to their customers and adopt an “outside in” focus rather than a “we think we know it all” attitude.
2) 61% of the NZ employees are disengaged.

If business is to grow productivity then this statistic must improve. Employee engagement equals increased productivity, customer retention and lower costs
3) Businesses confuse repeat custom with customer loyalty.

In most cases repeat customers are not coming back because they are loyal. There will be another reason like “convenience or price”. Anything other than real loyalty leaves a business wide open to losing customers to a competitor.

4) Business continues to think that a “satisfied customer” is the goal.

A satisfied customer is one who has had their expectations met. In today’s competitive economy, nobody raves about a business that has just met their expectations.

5) Most businesses lack a long-term strategic approach to improving their customer experience.

In most cases any improvement in a business’s customer experience will be a short-term reactive response and nothing to do with a proactive long-term strategic approach.

6) Most businesses lack the knowledge to develop and implement a customer experience strategy.

Business still thinks that providing their front-line people with some customer service training will do the trick. Not in 2016 it won’t.

7) 95% of businesses fail to capitalise on the creativity of their people.

Everyday your people come to work with ideas that will grow your business and everyday they go home having received no encouragement, to share those ideas.
8) Most businesses are using gimmicks (reward points & coffee cards) to try and grow customer loyalty.

Real customer loyalty is about building relationships not dangling carrots.

9) Most products and services are commodities, leaving price as the only point of difference.

By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. – Customers 2020 Report

10) 95% of customers can’t remember the last time they had a great customer experience.

Most of the experiences we have as customers are less than memorable. That alone is reason enough to develop a strategy that will deliver a consistently high quality experience.

11) Most businesses fail to act on workplace & customer survey results.

Gaining feedback from customers is pointless, costly and annoying to customers unless improvement is the result

12) The majority of businesses either don’t have a sustainable competitive advantage or are not actively promoting one.

Continually thinking about and developing competitive advantages must be a business priority in 2016.

The key, Chris Bell suggests, is to realise that in a world of excess, uniformity and repetition, people buy experiences, not products or services. When people feel good about their experience they will not only return, they will tell their friends.
To turn a financial exchange into a rewarding experience, businesses have to be creative and they have to be fully committed to seeing the world through their customers’ eyes.

Chris Bell is managing director of Customer Experiences; a company that specialises in helping businesses improve the way in which they interact with customers and clients.
– www.customerexperiences.co.nz

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