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Customer Experience : The Next Competitive Battleground

Customers today are more cautious in their choices and interested only in getting obvious value for their money. They are well-informed ,smarter and selective in whom they elect to join. They are much quicker to leave if unhappy. They expect treatment which telegraphs that they are special, unique and not just one of the masses although the intensity of such behaviour can vary from industry to industry. This customer narcissism has been forged both through the pampering provided by service providers as well as their new found muscle to get their way in the marketplace.

This represents a dramatic shift in what is required to insure customer loyalty–the root of growth and profits for any business. That shift has resulted in customer requirements for value being very out-of-sync with the tried and true methods organisations have relied on for years. When front line employees deliver service that fulfils the customer’s stated needs, they are taken aback when customers give them less than satisfactory grades.

A Customer Experience is a blend of an organisation’s rational performance, the senses stimulated and the emotions evoked and intuitively measured against Customer expectations across all moments of contact. It’s not just about the rational parts of the experience, It is how they feel at every moment of your experience from beginning to end.

When an organisation focuses on improving the Customer Experience, it drives the value for the organisation, reduces the costs associated with customer service, and builds a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace.

We know this because IO Digital took it “beyond the philosophy” and put it into practice in the real world—and saw the results. Emotions are a huge part of any Customer Experience, in fact according to our research it accounts for over half of an experience. Too many organisations don’t realise this, so they focus on the mechanics and processes of an experience but leave the emotional bits undefined and unplanned. In this way, most organisations leave the emotions of an experience up to chance, which is a dangerous way to operate a business desiring longevity and profitability.

The most critical aspect of providing a successful customer experience is getting employees on board. You do not deliver the Customer Experience you design; your team delivers the Customer Experience. Making sure that your employees believe in your brand promise, are trained properly on how to deliver it, and are invested in its success enough to do what it takes to achieve it is critical to having a Customer Experience that surprises and delights customers.

Steve Jobs once quoted "Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves." Placing this philosophy at the core of your business model can help you achieve your business goals as this is the future of Customer Experience and it is quite achievable with the immense data and analytical capabilities we have presently.