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 lifecycle it’s a lot easier for companies today to
reverse engineer a competitor’s products and bring something else into market. I actually spoke at
a conference where I asked the conference attendees, “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.