At a seminar today in Amsterdam, I was asked after the session to come up with three questions the organization could ask internally that would help them understand what is necessary to drive the delivery of an enhanced customer experience.
Tough question, right? And, I admit, I have had to work on it for a bit. Here’s the best I can come up with — and I’d appreciate if you have additional and/or better questions!
1) Do customers want it?
Gourmet quality lattes are certainly wonderful. But, would it add to the customer experience to serve them if you’re running a funeral home? Doubt it. There are other aspects that would probably be more desired by those at your business.
This isn’t to suggest that we shouldn’t be innovative in what we deliver; however, if there is a disconnection between our idea for the experience and our core purpose, it’s not going to enhance the loyalty we desire from our customers.
2) Can we provide it?
Note, this isn’t necessarily “can we provide it” based upon our current team or our current structure. However, we do have to ask ourselves if we have the bandwidth to do what it takes to provide the experience that customers are seeking. If we don’t have it immediately available, we should start thinking of the specific steps that we will need to execute to make it happen in the future.
3) Is it worth it?
In my first book, I wrote: “The purpose of any business is to profitably create experiences so compelling to customers that their loyalty becomes assured.”
While it’s reasonable to focus upon the importance of the word “experience,” it is also easy to overlook the critical term, “profitably.”
There are a number of aspects your organization must confront on a daily basis. This simply asks, “Is it worth doing this instead of other projects?” You only have a finite amount of time and scarce resources. The question also insists that you project how the effort you’re making will enhance the profitability of your organization in the future.
(Take note, however — creating an “Ultimate Customer Experience ®” certainly impacted the profitability of Southwest Airlines, Apple, and numerous others. And, overlooking the importance of it is also part of what destroyed the profits of Circuit City, Blockbuster, and countless additional examples.)
Just because it won’t drive immediate income doesn’t mean it isn’t immensely important.
If you confront these three questions, you’re taking the right steps to develop what customers REALLY want in today’s hyper-competitive market in order to grow your business.