Consider these statistics from Harris Interactive’s Customer Experience Impact Report:
- 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience, up from 59% four years ago.
- 60% say they often or always pay more for a better experience. Even in a negative economy, customer experience is a high priority for consumers.
Given the plethora of choices customers now have, these statistics shouldn’t really be that surprising. Customers are rewarding (and punishing) companies based on the experience they have with an organization. How well do you know your customers?
From our experience, we have identified a few concrete steps that will help you get closer to your customer:
- Stand in your customer’s shoes
Look beyond your core business and understand your customer’s full range of choices, as well as his or her ecosystem of suppliers, partners etc.–of which you may be part. This exercise will also deepen your understanding of competitors and help you better anticipate their moves.
- Staple yourself to a customer order
Track key customers’ experiences as they traverse your company’s pathways and note where the experience breaks down. Some hospitals ask interns to experience the check-in process as fake patients. One client asked managers to listen in on its call center. If you can’t exactly put yourself through a customer experience, try role-playing exercises at all points of the customer’s experience with your company.
- Field diverse customer teams
One bank added members of the back-office support group to its customer team, supplementing the usual customer-facing roles. IBM sends senior teams from different disciplines into the field to meet customers and develop a deep understanding of how to serve them better.
- Learn together with customers
GE invited its top customers in China, along with local executives and account managers, to a seminar on leadership and innovation. Doing so not only helped GE executives better understand the mindset of Chinese counterparts; it also helped them to influence that mindset.
- Lean forward and anticipate
Focus on what customers will want tomorrow, as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson did so exquisitely. Try to envision different futures through tools like scenario planning and then explore how underlying market shifts may affect your customers.
Click here to contribute to our Customer Centricity Survey, or if you would like to learn more about our approach, contact us here ».