Friday, December 2, 2011

On Being Remarkable

I’ve stumbled upon several items this week that called out to me to write about the importance of being different, standing out from the crowd, and not being a “me-too” when it comes to your CX Journey. Customer experience statistics continue to be dismal, which really leaves the door wide open for more companies to rise above it all and delight customers in their own unique ways.  When will that happen?!

Here are just two examples of #cx statistics I read this week that make me cringe.
  • 86% of customers stop doing business with a company because of bad experiences (Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report). <-- How many companies create bad experiences?
  • @Vivisimo tweeted this week that “61% say #CX has NOT improved over past year, 14% say it declined.
There's nothing remarkable in that.

Tom Peters Video
Earlier this week, I saw this video of a presentation by Tom Peters, which included the following quote:

"I hate benchmarking. Benchmarking is stupid. Why is it stupid? Because we pick the current industry leader, and then we launch a five-year program, the goal of which is to be as good as whoever was best five years ago five years from now. Which to me is not exactly an Olympian aspiration."

Definitely thought-provoking.

My experience with benchmarking has been that companies want to do it because “that’s what everybody does.” I think they really just want to know where they stand, to keep score.  The problem I see is that benchmarking is the least of their worries because so many companies have to fix the basics before they can even dream of being, or offering experiences, like Apple or Zappos.  

If you want to benchmark to keep score, great, call a spade a spade.  If you want to benchmark so you can figure out how you can stand out from the rest of the crowd, awesome. I’ll post a blog next week on benchmarking.

Tom Peters includes this quote from Seth Godin in his presentation, as well.

"You cannot be remarkable by following someone else who's remarkable."

Someone else already did the thing that’s remarkable… now you’re just being a copycat. If you’re going to benchmark against another company, take what they’ve done and do it better, add your own twist of remarkable, make it unique to your company in a remarkable way. Or just go do something completely different, that’s unique and remarkable on its own. Stand out from the crowd. Customers appreciate that and will share it with their friends!

Robert Stephens Quote
After the Tom Peters video, I started to think about something that Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, said at a conference I attended last year:

“Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.”

Wow, doesn’t that ring true. If you’re doing remarkable things, then you don’t need to advertise. Your brand speaks for itself. Or your customers speak for you. Or everyone in the industry talks about you.  How many people are sick of hearing about @Zappos during the #custserv chats?!

Go and do great things!

Gapingvoid Gallery Email
The next day, there was this picture in an email from gapingvoid gallery in my inbox. If you can’t read what it says at the bottom of the image, there are two quotes:  “Don’t try to stand out from the crowd” and “Avoid the crowd.”  Be the guy in blue --> do something different. Be remarkable in your own way. Step away from the crowd.


Andrew McInnes Presentation
And finally, that afternoon, I was watching a recorded webinar by Andrew McInnes (@apmcinnes), and the chart below was on one of his slides.  And while it’s encouraging that three-fourths of companies want to have a differentiated customer experience, I appreciate the honesty of the 23% who want to stay where they are or keep from falling behind even further.



What are you doing to ensure that your customers have a remarkable experience?

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