How to Invest in Customer Experience in 2019
“The customer is always right.”
How many times have you heard that? Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London, coined the phrase in 1909. Selfridge’s, now a chain of department stores, is the only store to be named the Best Department Store in the World four times.
It seems to us that Mr. Selfridge knew what he was talking about.
It’s been 109 years since the phrase was coined, and a focus on the customer seems to be only growing in importance. In 2013, Walker released a study that predicted that by 2020, customer experience would overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. In 2017, Walker released a follow-up study, Customers 2020: A Progress Report. That report reiterated that customer expectations are increasing, and recommended to businesses that they should shift from being “customer focused” to “customer committed.”
To commit to customers means to develop a strategy that encompasses the entire customer journey – taking into consideration marketing, advertising, research, sales and more. You need to deliver a customer experience that makes you stand out, and that means moving beyond probing the buyer with questions and simply watching and copying direct competitors.
So, what are practical ways to improve customer experience?
1. Be a Proactive Source of Value
Prioritize understanding your customers on a personal level. They need to know that you understand their specific goals and needs, and you need to show that you bring something new to the table. According to Demand Gen Report’s 7th Annual B2B Buyer’s Survey:
- 89% of B2B buyers state that the vendors they’ve successfully purchased from provided content that made it easier to show ROI and/or build a business case for purchase
- 94% sought sales teams that exhibited specific insights into company problems
- 92% of buyers stressed the importance of sales teams that had insights about personalized company needs
2. Prioritize Investments
Lisa Woodley, VP of Customer Experience for NTT Data Services said, “One of the biggest challenges in prioritizing investments is to not get distracted by the latest trends and technologies.” Value arises from the ability to address specific customer or business needs. Determine what is needed now and how that might change a few years into the future. If anything in your current model doesn’t support those needs, invest in something that will. Make sure your focus is understanding the root cause of issues, and how you can innovatively address those challenges in a way that eases the process for customers, and makes your brand stand out.
Focusing on customer experience may be the single most important investment you make as you plan for this coming year. You may define your brand and mission, but it is your customers who will decide whether or not you’ve delivered on those promises, and whether or not they want to return.
RedRock Leadership offers customer service, leadership and sales training that can help you build a team that will leverage a deep understanding of customers to build trust and rapport. With an entire team focused on understanding buyers and buyers’ objectives, you will gain a competitive edge in today’s market.
Founder & CEO of RedRock Leadership