If you aren’t considering customer experience from a marketing and communications perspective yet, you have a long road ahead of you. Research has shown that corporations lose half their customers every five years. What causes this lack of loyalty? And is there anything marketers can do about it? As Joseph Pine explains in his TED Talk, products and services have been commoditized. So, what’s left? Experience.
Smart marketers will lead their organizations on the journey to understand what experiences their customers are currently having and how to improve them across the organization. The challenge is to avoid lip service (fake) and to truly view the experience from a customer viewpoint. There is much work to be done to turn around an organization’s customer experience, but it’s the only recourse available to providing an authentic customer experience.
TED Talks: Joseph Pine on What Consumers Want
“…with the experience economy, it’s about rendering authenticity. Rendering authenticity — and the keyword is “rendering.” Right? Rendering, because you have to get your consumers – as business people — to perceive your offerings as authentic.”
“There are two dimensions to authenticity: one, being true to yourself, which is very self-directed. Two, is other-directed: being what you say you are to others. And the other dimension is: are they what they say they are to others? If not, you have, “is not true to itself,” and “is not what it says it is,” yielding a two-by-two matrix. And of course, if you are both true to yourself, and are what you say you are, then you’re real real! The opposite, of course, is — fake fake. All right, now, there is value for fake. There will always be companies around to supply the fake, because there will always be desire for the fake. Fact is, there’s a general rule: if you don’t like it, it’s fake; if you do like it, it’s faux.”
Harvard Business School: The Three “Ds” of Customer Experience
“Unlike most companies, which reflexively turn to product or service design to improve customer satisfaction, the leaders pursue three imperatives simultaneously:
- They design the right offers and experiences for the right customers.
- They deliver these propositions by focusing the entire company on them with an emphasis on cross-functional collaboration.
- They develop their capabilities to please customers again and again—by such means as revamping the planning process, training people in how to create new customer propositions, and establishing direct accountability for the customer experience.
Each of these “Three Ds” draws on and reinforces the others. Together, they transform the company into one that is continually led and informed by its customers’ voices.”
“Many organizations say they focus on their customer ‘experience’ but few do the hard work to define the stages of their experience from the customer journey point of view. In the absence of this, all of the operating areas do their own thing, driven by their internal tasks and agenda and scorecard. A lot of work is done, often in the name of the customer, but it doesn’t add up from the customers’ experience to deliver a unified experience. The big things don’t get systemically fixed. We miss the opportunity for the big ‘wow’ moments.”
“…All of that can lead to a better customer experience. A ringing bell instead of an intercom signals that more help is needed at the registers. Registers don’t have conveyor belts or scales, and perishables are sold by unit instead of weight, speeding up checkout. Crew members aren’t told the margins on products, so placement decisions are made based not on profits but on what’s best for the shopper. Every employee works all aspects of the store, and if you ask where the roasted chestnuts are he’ll walk you over instead of just saying ‘aisle five.’ Want to know what they taste like? He can probably tell you, and he might even open the bag on the spot for you to try.”
“We find that the more you engage customers, the more they move up that affinity pyramid and it becomes a dialogue rather than a monologue. So it becomes about doing things with customers rather than to customers.”
Customer Experience Matters: USAA: A Positive Example of Customer Experience
“USAA acted like it knew her. How was USAA able to offer such a great rate? She was a member of USAA, so they have a lot of information about her. They used the information to deliver a rate that reflected what they already knew about her.”