|Image courtesy of picturetakingone|
I won't take the sports analogy very far, but what is the CX end game? Why should companies be focusing on customer experience?
That seems like a crazy question to ask in 2015, yet there are still so many CX professionals who are struggling to convince their executives of the importance of committing resources to improving the customer experience. It's sad, really. After all, we are all customers. Do we like being treated the way we're treated when we interact with the companies we buy from? That thought alone should be a motivator!
I've written in the past about different ways (e.g., stakeholder interviews, quick wins, business case, journey mapping, customer immersion programs, etc.) to get executive commitment, ways that ensure that we appeal to both the emotional and the rational sides of their brains, i.e., we know they focus on the bottom line, but we also know that they are human and have empathy buried deep within. Somewhere.
Today, I'd like to focus on the rational (numbers) side and suggest that ROI doesn't always come immediately in the form of higher revenue or higher profits. O, ultimately, that will be the case, but sometimes the benefits of focusing on the customer and his experience and reaping the subsequent financial returns are a bit more indirect but just as impactful.
How so? Well, I'll start with answering the question: "Why should companies be focusing on the customer experience?" My response is... to design an experience that creates raving fans: those who will come back again and again and recommend your products to friends and family.
The purpose of a business is to nurture and to create customers. But I believe they ought to go one step further and create raving fans. Why? There are a lot of reasons.
- want to see the brand succeed and grow
- are happy to provide feedback, good or bad, to ensure that happens
- are less price sensitive and can withstand price increases
- choose your brand over the competition
- can't live without the brand, accept no substitutes
- are advocates; no, stronger: they are evangelists, happy to spread the word about your brand
- wear your brand, and want to show that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Tattoos, anyone? Have a number (12)?
- openly recruit new members to the community
- care about each other, want to help each other
- feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves (think "tribe")
- require less support because they are more familiar with your products
- are more likely to be using several of your products/services, not just one
- wait in line - long lines, early morning lines - to buy your products
- elevate your brand, earning favorable placement in stores and more
The point? Sometimes ROI isn't an immediate financial benefit or a number on a financial document; sometimes ROI is a little softer than that. Don't get me wrong. As you can see, there are tangible benefits.
Raving fans save you time and money. They don't weigh down your resources, i.e., they can help themselves - and others, for that matter. And they sell for you, helping you save on marketing and advertising dollars.
Raving fans are pretty powerful. They give you an advantage over your competition. These customers are patient and buy from you regardless of the wait, the pains, the pressures, whatever. They want your products!
Need some examples of brands with raving fans? Think: Apple, Harley-Davidson, Seattle Seahawks.
How do you create raving fans? Design an experience that's personal, remarkable, memorable, emotional, and consistent. It starts with getting the basics right. What are the basics? Listen. Ask your customers. They'll be happy to tell you.
Providing a great customer experience means that customers come to expect great things from you; and that's a good thing! It means you don't have to spend months and dollars figuring out how to position, place, or promote your product. You can focus more on the product and on the experience instead. Consistently providing a great experience for your customers/fans yields a win-win for everyone in the long run.
What's the end game? Delivering a great customer experience that has you - and your executives - singing, "Customer Experience IS the new marketing without marketing!"
Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans. -Ken Blanchard