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Staying ahead is easier than you may think

You are not alone if you look at your customer experience and see a mountain to climb. But have courage, things may not be as bleak as you think.

Companies with the highest-rated CX can likely attribute this to a combination of knowing and managing expectations, wow factor and consideration of the end to end experience.

Expectations

To have a customer experience your rivals will envy, you need to contemplate your customers’ expectations. Consider the following:

  • What is the minimum your customers expect from your services? This expectation evolves rapidly every year in this technological revolution.

  • Clearly set expectations of your services. For example, Primark’s customers expect affordability and not product longevity which is why you rarely see customers complain.

  • Now you know them, find specific ways to exceed expectations. M&S is known for its quality but  automated coffee machines dispensing barista-quality coffee at a very low price have recently been introduced to stores, adding convenience and affordability to pop-in visitors.

Wow Factor

Many organisations will spend large amounts of money on keeping up with competitors rather than concentrating on leaping ahead of them.

Organisations should be compartmentalising resources to focus on the WOW.

Amazon Prime Now illustrates this point really well.

While most of its competitors were still struggling to keep up with achieving next day delivery, Amazon introduced the 1 hour delivery service to central London. Achieving this wasn’t too complicated either. Amazon offered its most popular products out of central locations using take-away delivery inspired logistics to get packages to their recipients.

This seems simple but has fundamentally changed online shopping and made it vastly more convenient than popping down to the high street. Customers probably weren’t expecting that. Now that’s a wow!

Any high street store or supermarket in London could have used existing infrastructure to bring items to you in less than an hour if they had thought of it first. But they probably didn’t because they were too focused on just keeping up with the minimum expectation and not trying to skip ahead.

In order to be get ahead your organisation will need to take some loss leading risks initially.

End to end experience

Doing something simple early in a customer’s journey may make a big difference later down the line.

Some of the best examples of this are subscription or renewal-based products such as software as a service, insurance or food and drink delivery services.

Customers don’t see new business, cancellations or renewals as three different things. They just see their overall experience with you. So why don’t businesses think about the end to end?

I’ll give you an example of my own. I’m a coffee lover and hate spending money on large coffee chains. I have a proper coffee machine at home. Every morning I make my own flat white.

I have tried many subscription coffee services in the past and never stuck with one,  commonly because I am lured in by introductory offers but then get trapped in a rigid delivery offering.

I finally found one which stuck and it dawned on me that was due to the perfect combination of a number of factors:

  • Instead of providing introductory offers followed by a high overall price, they provided a consistent yet competitive price throughout.

  • They would promote offers on different types of coffee which I could switch to for my next delivery - saving me money.

  • They allow complete flexibility in delivery frequency - I have mine set at 5 weeks, perfect for me.

In short, they have considered how to make the entire experience work for me - the customer. And for that they have been rewarded with my loyalty.

Summary

Staying ahead of your competitors and avoiding being blown from the market doesn’t have to be money intensive or slow if you follow these simple rules:

  • Understand your customers’ expectations and focus your efforts on staying one step ahead.

  • Find that little something you can do to really wow your customers.

  • Consider the end to end experience and implement some simple enhancements to improve customer loyalty.

staff thomas carpenter