I have always been a huge evangelist for greater customer focus. Because of my experience in relationship management, system integration and customer satisfaction, I have learned first hand how technology designed without the customer in mind creates not only weak and forgettable experience but also poor economic results. I found an article recently that stated, “Eighty percent of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8 percent of their customers agree, says Bain & Company.” (The Three “Ds” of Customer Experience” 11/7/2005: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/5075.html)
Consider your website – does it deliver a powerful customer experience?
Creating a powerful customer experience requires more than simply providing a website and processing an order. It’s a holistic approach that addresses every aspect of a customer’s contact with your company. Although the main goal is to create an experience that motivates visitors to buy – it must move beyond just a closing strategy and dig deeper into the overall buying process. As stated in a white paper from Keynote, “Even when the goal is not an online purchase, customer experience is a decisive factor in whether people will use the website to research information, answer customer support questions, or find out more about employment opportunities or investor relations information.” (Leverage Your Web Channel: The Keynote Methodology for Gathering Insights into Online Customer Behavior, ©2005 Keynote, page 3.)
Many small and mid-size businesses do not possess the budgets for advanced technology to help probe into web analytics data to define customer experience opportunities. However, to get started, it doesn’t require a big budget but a commitment to step outside of your own shoes, to listen to internal customer contact channels that already exist (like your customer support and sales team) that have direct contact and experience with customers and to seek customer feedback through simple surveys, affordable website analytics/log files and other quick research methods. Using these methods, you are not striving for perfection but insight that can be tested, measured and optimized.
Creating a powerful customer experience can become the major competitive advantage for your business. Do you have a commitment stronger than your competitors to dig deeper into your customers’ minds to find what they cherish the most?
I highly recommend a few outstanding books: “The Inmates are Running the Asylum,” “What Customer Really Want” and: Customer Rule!” All are available at Amazon. These books, among some others, effectively address the need for greater customer experiences and why it is so important in today’s highly competitive market in my opinion, creating a powerful customer experience is even more important for Web businesses because your competitors are a click-away not a few blocks-away.
Have questions about integrating a more powerful customer experience into your Web Business? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.