Member Since: 1st Feb 2010
Associate Partner Optima Partners
17th Jan 2017
Agree John. Failure to understand cause and effect is a major problem- not helped by an unscientific approach so there is not enough data to show what is working and what isn't.
17th Jan 2017
Completely agree. I think centricity can be a means for selling as much tech as possible.
17th Jan 2017
The alternative I propose is customer curiosity and will outline why and how in a follow up article
17th Jan 2017
Hi Dale, I passionately agree that businesses need to aspire to creating superior value for their customers. But why not just say that rather than a vague abstraction which fails on multiple criteria? If you are going to focus on a means of achieving that it needs to be SMART - and centricity doesn't meet that. In my follow up I am outlining why and how customer curiosity can meet that.
5th Mar 2012
Once again Maz you have hit the nail on the head. There is a risk with CEM professionals that we see customer experience as the only way to differentiate. This is compounded by the prevailing narrow definition - how customers interact with the company, typically the sales or customer service teams. What this ignores is that the majority of interactions customers have are with the product (or service) the company supplies (not with the sales or service teams). For that reason I think it is more useful to take into account the value proposition which encompasses the product/service offering (so implicitly the experience of using that) and pricing as well as the interactions a customer has with the company. And each of those three offer a means for differentiation. Delivering a great experience (like Zappos or Amazon) is an incredibly powerful differentiator, mainly because it is so difficult to do (for reasons you described in your economics post last year). But it is not the only dimension. That said I also agree with you about the need to continually improve the experience being delivered because the bar is always rising - as it is with expectations of product service elements. And getting the supply chain right is critical - you can't deliver a great customer experience until you get the basics right.
19th Jan 2012
Point 1 is critical - there is tendency to confuse customer experience management excellence with delivering top end service. Ultimately it is about managing and meeting/exceeding expectations and that is critical whatever price point you operate at.
7th Oct 2011
Lior - this is a great post that summarizes exactly why so many customer experience initiatives stall at the mid-levels in organisations; also what needs to be done to change it. The problem is of course that there have been relatively few successful transformations to model. Even though I am sceptical as to how much value can be delivered by trying to copy what has worked at other companies, it remains the default aspiration of risk-averse senior managers and something we perhaps feed on too readily. Perhaps then it is no surprise that so many exemplars in the customer experience world (outside Disney, Ritz Carlton) are relative recent arrivals - Amazon, Zappos etc.
7th Oct 2011
Insightful as ever, Maz. Agree completely that for most businesses there is little incentive to become truly customer experience-oriented which is why it will continue to be a source of differentiation for those that do - a major opportunity for any start-up business.
Interestingly I think that Starbucks problems began when they started to think of themselves as a brand rather than a customer experience company. Thinking in terms of brand has a tendency to root thinking inside the organisation (this is what we are) what is in it for the company (brand awareness) rather than ensuring a truly outside in view (looking at business from customers perspective) and focusing on what is in it for the customer (a great experience).
5th May 2011
I think the psychological dimension is hugely ignored. Innate egocentricity creates a tendency to inside-out thinking and that manifests itself most obviously in the obsession with branding that spread from the FMCG sector in the 1990s to entrance marketers across the spectrum. In so doing it has returned marketing to the dark ages of its pre-Levitt, pre-Kotler enlightenment through making an internal construct rather than an external constituency the primary focus.
2nd Mar 2011
Completely agree with this piece and would like to emphasise the implicit point that truly valuable feedback is qualitative rather than quantitative - dialogue involves words rather than numbers. The problem is that too often companies are focused on getting customers to score them - this enables a business to know how well it is doing, but without any qualitative feedback (e.g. what specifically it is doing wrong), it will not provide the insights to help it improve. I think tha this obsession with scorekeeping contributes to customers not wishing to give feedback - there is nothing really in it for the customer if they just provide a score. This compounds the asymmetry of the company typically wanting a stronger relationship than the customer does - hence the customer's reluctance to engage in dialogue. This is compounded by the fear that dialogue is really a code word for monologue - if I try to have a conversation with the business I will just be sold to. Also confirmation bias means businesses really only want to hear positive feedback - that is why, perhaps unconsciously, they make it difficult for people to complain.