“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” —Jerry Gregoire, former CIO of Dell and Pepsi
Competition in business is fierce. No one needs to tell you that. Everywhere, companies compete based on product, technology and price. Even in advertising, witness the rise of content marketing as a way to beat out the competition in the rising roar of marketing messages.
There is another way to compete. It’s old-fashioned, but it works: Be good to your customers. Really, really good. Be good from the first time they encounter you to years after they’ve become your loyal, returning customer.
That sort of holistic view–of ensuring customers are always well treated no matter what stage of the buying cycle they’re in–is at the core of the customer experience ideal.
Of course, none of this is new. And even recently we’ve seen several new-ish terms that describe what a great customer experience aims to achieve.
You’ve heard of “customer-centric” companies, right? And of customer advocates? You might even have heard of the empty chair used at every Amazon.com meeting. The empty chair represents the customer. It’s there as a demonstration and a declaration that every decision is made for the benefit of the customer.
That’s the right mind-set to create (and ensure ongoing) great customer experiences.
Delivering a great customer experience is good business
Companies aren’t embracing customer experience because it’s just a cute new marketing term. There are solid business benefits to delighting your customers. Here are just a few:
- When someone’s had a good customer experience, they’re more likely to say nice things about your company to their friends, family, and coworkers. This word of mouth marketing is probably the single most effective marketing channel around.
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