This is the age of empowered customers – customers that are increasingly savvy, with information and options available at their fingertips.
Business compression, democratization of information, more innovation and increased digitization are among the drivers that have given rise to expectations of faster service, ease of effort, and a personalized experience. Customers are no longer comparing one provider with other providers in the same industry, but rather they are comparing their experiences across industries based on their needs. They compare their banking mobile app to the mobile app from their favorite restaurant, or the retail experience at their wireless company to the retail experience at the shoe store. It all depends on where they had an incredible experience. That then becomes the benchmark for comparison.
Providers must evolve rapidly and be at the forefront of CX excellence in order to meet these shifting customer expectations and become market or segment leaders.
In an extremely competitive marketplace, there is little room to stake your claim for being different or above the crowd. When speed, effort and value are customer priorities in an increasingly commoditized industry then CX excellence becomes the market differentiator. In large part, the main stumbling block has been the inability to consistently deliver the superior level of customer experience that customers want across channels, locations and touch points.
By consistently practising what the provider preaches, or puts into the market as brand promises, then it gains a reputation as an organization that appreciates and treats its guests like no other. Having the right index for the voice-of-the-customer research that enables the creation of actionable intelligence is a key lever in CXE management. These then translate into improved customer acquisition, greater customer retention, reduced costs and therefore increased lifetime value and net operating income.
Excellence in CX and CX management is complex but there are key pillars, standards and enablers essential for achieving it. Ultimately, it is through demonstrable belief in CX excellence and its management that the leadership team guides the organization to becoming known as the best customer experience company.
Vafa Akhavan is senior faculty member in the Schulich Executive Education Centre and the facilitator for Achieving Excellence in Customer Experience (CX) Management (starting July 12, 2021). This course is delivered in six half-day modules over two weeks. For more information and to register, visit the program web page.