Once upon a time, it was enough to have a great product and the right price tag. Correction–once upon a time it was enough to have an OK product and a price tag that consumers today would quite frankly choke on. When demand exceeded supply and customers had neither the freedom of choice nor the ready access to channels where they could voice their opinion as well as hear directly from other consumers, the power was all in the hands of the vendor.
Those days are long gone
We now live in an economy where supply increasingly exceeds demand, where we all have to work harder and harder to be best in class, and where customer expectations have been changed forever by tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Apple, as well as digital disruptors like Uber and Airbnb–all of whom have built their business around putting the customer at the center of everything they do.
Add to that the rise of consumption economics, where customers will only pay for what they use. Hey, if they don’t like any aspect of their experience, they’ll simply walk down the street and hook up with another vendor. Easy.
As Forrester so neatly put it – this is the Age of the Customer, and we all need to get on board NOW if we’re to stay in the race.
Take it from the top! Why Customer Experience needs to be led from the top
It’s sad to say, but a good number of CEOs who’ve heard some buzz out there about Customer Experience, simply pay lip service to be a customer-centric business. They may grudgingly free up a modicum of the budget to run a few surveys and may even listen dutifully to Voice of Customer insights. Then they get back to the real business of the day and focus on their quarterly results. Not good enough. Nowhere near good enough. Let me say that no company ever became great by focusing only on selling. If you fall into this category, you are set to fail.
According to a recent report by the Economist, 58% of companies that are much more profitable than their competitors report that the CEO is in charge of customer experience management.
“The companies today that are successful are not successful because they are the oldest, they have the best legacy, or are the most established. They are successful because the customer experience is the most unique, the most innovative and the most pleasurable for the customer.”
CEOs must adopt and drive CX strategies from the top down in order to build loyalty and long-term customer success, generating significant sustainable advantage. In essence, the entire Executive Board, led by the CEO, must be obsessed with customers and drive that obsession into every part of the business.
- Use Voice of Customer insights to drive the decision-making process at all levels, from product direction and innovation to Go-To-Market strategies to customer service to organizational structure and operations.
- Bring Board members together to focus on the end-to-end customer journey, viewing the experience holistically across silos and organizational barriers, and driving the necessary changes to established processes and practices.
- Focus on Customer Life Time Value, rather than uniquely on the quarterly bottom line, and align incentives accordingly.
- Be prepared to invest in Customer Experience for the long term, sponsor CX initiatives and demonstrate Board-level commitment to your customers.
- Finally, instill a customer-obsessed mindset by making sure that customers are top of mind in every business discussion, that customers are included in an ongoing dialog, and that employees act as one to consistently delight their customers.
Don’t get left behind. Be a CX leader, not a laggard, and join a rapidly broadening network of like-minded customer-driven businesses. To learn more about Customer Experience trends and the phenomenon of Customer Experience networks, find out more at axway.com/cxn.
Read the full IDC report here.