Part 1 of a 3-Part Series
"The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer."
- Peter Drucker
With that simple, concise statement management consulting legend, Peter Drucker, captured the essence of business. He also made it clear it all starts with the customer. That’s never more true than today. The era of the empowered consumer, driven largely by technology, has resulted in customers demanding more of companies and wanting the experience to be delivered on their terms.
As the leader of your company, how are you thinking about the customer experience? Is it a formal part of your company strategy and culture?
This series will focus on four key customer experience components that you can implement individually or as part of broader customer experience program. Like Drucker, my goal is to keep things simple and concise, as well as actionable.
“Customer experience” has become a very popular business term over the last decade but it comes with a broad range of definitions. In the spirit of keeping it simple, I define customer experience as the interaction between a customer and organization over the duration of their relationship.
Similar to brand, every company has a customer experience, whether they know it or not. Or whether they consciously create it or not. It’s common for discussions about customer experience to turn toward companies like Zappos, Disney, Southwest Airlines, Apple, Nordstrom, to name just a few of the usual suspects. Some would have you believe these companies have an inherent or natural ability to deliver a great customer experience. They were “born that way.” But research and experience have shown offering a superior customer experience doesn’t just “happen.” These organizations hire and manage associates and develop go-to-market strategies with a focus on creating a very specific customer experience.
I have been fortunate to be part of the development and leadership of customer experience programs at three companies. Each of the companies was at a different stage in its evolution, however, all three recognized their customer experience was not being actively managed and it was having a negative impact on their growth and profitability.
You might be thinking, “My company doesn’t have the resources to take on a customer experience program.” If that’s the case, I’ll offer the following advice:
So, where to begin? I’ll start with the same proposition I’ve presented at several organizations: Leading companies have customers who are:
Customer Experience Core Elements
Those four areas – engagement, success, life cycle, loyalty – represent core elements of a customer experience program. In parts 2 and 3 of this series on improving the customer experience I’ll cover each of these elements, and close with some key attributes that will help ensure success.