For nearly 20 years, I’ve been teaching entrepreneurs, large corporations, retailers and hospitality execs about this thing called Customer Experience.
It never ceases to amaze me how many times I meet someone who tells me, “Oh man, we have an AWESOME experience. Our customers love us!”
I often probe a little further and after only a few minutes of discussion, we discover that they don’t have any real clue about their Customer Experience – especially small businesses.
When I ask these business owners how they know their customers are having a great customer experience, they tell me that they just know it… Unfortunately, the data just doesn’t support it. When we dig into the numbers, we quickly see that while they are oftentimes growing, it’s from adding new business – but sadly, they are also losing many customers.
In fact, when we run the numbers, if they had kept all of their existing customers, and didn’t add any new customers, many of these companies would have done just as well, if not better!
So why is it that customers leave businesses so quickly?
The bottom line is that product and service parity is becoming the norm. For a very long time businesses were able to compete by having a better product with more features, better service options, etc.
Unfortunately, these “features” can be copied quickly and easily, and with new, capable, and cost-effective (sometimes free) software, higher quality service has become a base minimum.
When you look at the statistics reported from any number of reputable sources, the data shows that customers are largely dissatisfied with the companies they do business with. For example, on average, 68% of customers leave businesses specifically due to poor attitude or indifference on the part of the service provider. Another 14% of customers who leave cite product or service dissatisfaction. That’s 82% of EXISTING customers leaving – due to things that you can control!
Let’s face it, when you can go right down the street, or hop online to another website and buy the same (or similar) product, why wouldn’t you, if you didn’t have a relationship with a brand that you like and trust?
This is why over 80% of large businesses are planning to compete primarily on the basis of Customer Experience by 2016!
So, why is Customer Experience the future for winning in business?
Customers want a relationship with the brands they purchase from. Customers want to feel good about doing business with you. In fact, customers are demanding it!
Customer Experience is the perception that customers have of their interactions with your organization. If they don’t feel good about it – you’re out! There’s plenty of other options out there…
The time is now to start focusing on the way you make your customers feel. It is your duty to design the experience that you want your customers to have with your brand. Too often the experience that customers have is by default. That’s a lost opportunity.
As with anything in life, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there! The same is true in Customer Experience. You must have a plan, and you must map out your Customer Experience journey.