Why is customer experience so important?
Customer experience is super important these days, primarily because it’s tough to compete on products. If you think about the product life cycle it’s a lot easier for companies today to reverse engineer a competitor’s products and bring something else into market. We once asked attendees at a conference, “if Apple opened up a bank, would you bank at Apple?” The majority of hands went up. Apple isn’t into banking, but because of the experience they provide there is motivation that they would bank at Apple.
More and more of the differentiation that companies seek is not based on the product it’s based on the experience they’re providing to their customers. What we find is that it’s particularly hard for organizations who have had product differentiation in their history – that’s what they’ve been known for – and now this idea of differentiating through customer experience is a little bit hard for them to swallow. Their brand, and everything about them, has been known for product differentiation. But now customer experience is becoming just as important.
The influence of analogous models…
The other interesting thing that’s coming into play here is the idea of analogous models. More and more, whether you’re B2B or B2C — Business to Business or Business to Consumer — customers are really looking at the experience that they have with one organization and saying “that feels like, that looks like, that seems like an experience that is very similar here, so why can’t I get that same kind of experience?” This is putting pressure on organizations to make sure that their experiences are matching their customers’ expectations regardless of where the expectation comes from.
On the executive’s agenda…
We did a survey and some research in the fall of 2015 and one of the questions we asked was “how important is customer experience?” Just about 85% of the CEOs said it’s one of their primary focus areas in the upcoming year. So we’re seeing lack of product differentiation — meaning experience is important — we’re seeing analogous models at work, and CEOs are recognizing this as something important for them to do in the near future.