‘Customer’ is a Continuous State

‘Customer’ is a Continuous State

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By all reports 2016 is shaping up to be the year C-level executives finally invest in Customer Experience.  Now the question becomes, can they do it effectively without the predispositions of their company creating unavoidable obstacles?

The companies that will be the most successful in the future are those who make it easy, simple and enjoyable to do business with.  From the marketing messages to the website to the experience with the products to invoicing and payment – one mis-step, one stumble, one impression that doing business with your company is anything but easy…and the increasingly fickle droves of digitally enabled will go elsewhere.

Appearances Must Match Reality

Rich media web experience’s are becoming the norm, the expectation of the market as a whole.  A recent article in Mashable focused on the emerging trend of streamlining websites and utilizing them as more of a rich-media software application.  And while the branding, design and graphics of a website are important, they set the expectation of the consumer, consciously or not.

From the design and experience of marketing materials, web sites, micro-sites to the way a customer interacts with a product to how they use it to better perform their own jobs to their interactions and relationships with support and beyond, each interaction must be consistent and easy…even simple.

Customer or Market Driven Innovation is a philosophy and strategy to help companies truly understand the needs of their clients and customers, to understand how they really interact with a product and company, to understand how they view their own needs and most importantly turn this information into innovative ways for the company to move forward towards and improve the bottom line.

I am not expert here but I do know and work with several, have watched them work their magic and the results have been impressive if not unexpected.  Yet the fact, although cliche, is there is only one chance to make a first impression and when that impression proves to be incorrect, when it becomes too difficult to do business with your company, the customers and their money will move on.

“Customer” Is A Continuous State

Products and marketing are only one facet of the business.  Sales, support, business development…any touch point (and I would argue that today, just about every employee is a touch point considering the proliferation of social) must support and reinforce the idea of being easy to do business with.

The sales methodology utilized, the support processes followed, the approach of your business development team…are critical to ensuring the total customer experience in seamless and designed with the customer and maintaining them as a customer in mind.

Part of this approach is the concept articulated in the book “Good to Great” of getting the right people on the bus…if you don’t have the right people on the team or delay too long in making the changes necessary to get the right people, then time is wasted, customers and revenue lost and there is a hole in the customer experience.

The Myth of Being Relevant

The graveyard of business is littered with companies, products and technologies far superior to those which outlived them.  Some failed for technological reasons, others poor business management, other too many changes in strategy, but increasingly, the fresh bodies are of those who believed their initial splash would help them maintain relevancy over time.

No matter how much press, how many blogs, how many tweets or Facebook likes a company can garner, in short order they will fade…because something else will come along to capture the eye of our “ooooh, that’s shiny” society.  What I have never understood is why people wonder how to capitalize on the social network attention or initial interest…it doesn’t seem too difficult to understand…once they arrive, give them an experience that makes them want to stay and tell their friends about it.

As the world grows smaller and the digital business universe more vast, companies already know they face stiffer competition, a more crowded landscape and a much more informed and aware buyer.  Focusing on their experience and using that to inform the development of your “customer business experience” and strategies as a whole…is quickly becoming common sense.

Oh, and a word of warning….approaching, analyzing and implementing the results of a market-driven approach is a high-art form comprised of psychology, statistics, behavioral science, interactive design expertise and more.  Customers don’t always know what they need or how to articulate what they want.  The expertise to make these efforts as productive as possible does not come easy…so find the experts that can help.

Stop by the Universal Mind website and learn more about how you can avoid the mistakes we have seen hamper so many and capitalize on the real return of digital solutions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.

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