- Entrepreneur, executive, teacher, early adopter and leader in customer experience management, founding MCorp – a customer experience innovation consultancy – in 2002.
- Developer of Touchpoint Mapping, a trademarked approach to quantifying and improving customer experience, working with leading global companies such as Microsoft, Blue Shield of California, lululemon, Danon, and others.
- Advisor to global organizations including Argo Group, Danone, McKesson, T. Rowe Price, and the United Methodist Church on brand, customer experience and loyalty.
- Co-author with Bruce Kasanoff of Amazon best-seller "Smart Customers, Stupid Companies: Why Only Intelligent Companies Will Thrive, and How To Be One of Them."
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Customer Experience Innovation in the Era of Digital Disruption
- The status quo in your industry is changing.
It's not a "maybe." There's no question about it. Digital technologies, commoditization and global competition are changing your company and your industry. In Silicon Valley, young entrepreneurs have made a parlor game (and driven billions in private company valuations) of brainstorming which industry they will disrupt. Like it or not, these bright, well-funded and highly-focused entrepreneurs are coming for you and your competitors. The only question is how your company will respond to these challenges. In this world, the only true competitive advantage is the relationships you have with your customers. The most effective way is to use digital technologies to develop relationships with customers that no one else can replicate. Creating innovative, highly-relevant customer experiences and delivering them consistently across channels and devices is the way to win customers over – and keep them.
- Don't just think "digital" – we’re living in a mobile-first, omni-channel world.
Many – if not most – organizations recognize the important and transformational power of digital customer experience. But to truly leverage the power of digital to better connect with customers, companies need to recognize that we’re living in a mobile-first world. Today, 56 percent of U.S. millennials say the phone is their most valuable shopping tool in-store. Stats like this (and they are very easy to find) tend to laser focus those executives trying to connect with them on mobile digital technologies and the anytime, anywhere convenience they offer these increasingly demanding customers.
But as important a channel as mobile is, it’s not the key point. It’s that mobile, in combination with other channels, has the potential to enable the delivery of what customers really value most: a seamless, friction-free customer experience regardless of which channel an interaction starts on.
This casual “channel switching” tells us is that no one channel alone is a silver bullet – it’s all channels. Across in-store, online, social, call center and other channels, your firm must have the ability to provide seamless customer experiences from one channel to the next. Each channel must support the others in ways that drive engagement, create transparency, and are, in combination, easy and enjoyable to use.
This is what we mean by seamless or friction-free “omnichannel” customer experiences. It means you embrace customer-centric change, customizing experiences and interactions to deliver the experiences many of your customers demand today – and that all your customers will expect tomorrow.
- In this world, customer experience is the only sustainable advantage.
In a world of radically changing customer expectations, there is only one sustainable competitive advantage: Deliver a better customer experience – across all channels and interactions. Why? Because customer experience better positions an organization to serve its customers, differentiate in the market, and beat the competition.
Think about it: your competition can easily duplicate your product quality, your prices and even your service levels. But if you have truly learned what makes one customer different from other customers and how to serve them and their needs better than your competition, you have an unassailable advantage that is nearly impossible to copy.
Over the next decade, customer experience as a discipline will continue to evolve very quickly, and be viewed as increasingly important in the executive suite, and in the minds of leaders and executives across industry. Recent research indicates that more than 80 percent of executives think that customer experience is critical to their ability to compete in the future. This is great, and we laud that belief. But at the end of the day, it’s action that matters, not words.
- Your ability to manage processes, data and technology drives success.
Digital disruption demands that your management of processes and your mastery of data are second to none. So we spend lots of time inside organizations learning more about the ways these companies manage information, technology, data, services and more. And one of the places we always look to is IT.
Inside companies of all sizes, the issue of silos – where walls have been erected between groups, divisions and departments – are both a common pain point and a significant cause of unmet customer expectations. When data, relationships and customer information don’t flow freely from one part of the business to another, customers suffer. And so do you.
Creating excellent customer experiences in an age of digital disruption depends on your company's ability to manage your data and your customers’ data better than ever before. If you can’t use the information that surrounds your customers to better serve them, you’re not going to be able to compete in the future. It really is that simple.
Given the fact that IT – more than any other group, even in the most siloed organizations – cuts across all these silos, it is well-situated to help identify where key gaps exist, and help develop the processes and refine the systems that will close them.
- Intelligent personalization will become routine (and expected).
Many companies think in terms of make and sell: “We’re going to make a product and we’re going to sell it.” This is the way that business has always been done. Personalization means that each customer needs to be understood as an individual and not just as a member of a segment. It also means that your products, services and experiences need to designed with the individual's unique wants, needs and value to the company in mind. This is the foundation of future success in customer experience.
This macro-trend is driven by the new capabilities we call pervasive memory. This entails the ability to serve customers in new and unexpected ways by managing information about them from a range of sources. Many customers have excellent data about their customers that could serve intelligent personalization, but the data is not aggregated in a useful way. Oftentimes the data is scattered between different silos within the company. Competitive advantage rests in the ability to leverage this data to personalize customer experience in ways that delight them, and keep them coming back for more.