There is no doubt that more and more business-to-business companies are focused on creating a competitive advantage through the experiences they deliver to their customers. But, what does this really mean? As a customer experience professional with a physical fitness addiction, I've found it easiest to answer this question using a fitness analogy.
Focus: Customer experience professionals talk about customer-focus. In the gym, it's mental focus. Focus represents a conscious decision to dedicate time, attention, and mindshare to the ways customers interact with the business.
Goals: People in the gym have goals and they come in all shapes and sizes (e.g., lose weight, run a mile, or complete an Ironman). Customer experience professionals have goals too. Their goals evolve around customer needs and opportunities. See this post for common customer experience initiatives.
Mindset: We all know that physical fitness has positive benefits. It's something we should do. Just like we all know that putting customers first is the right strategy for the business. So, why don't people work out? It's about mindset. Many customer experience professionals face challenges of competing against short-term financial goals and product-centric company cultures. Without the right mindset, we become couch potatoes, while customers look for more attractive offerings.
Plan: People at the gym have a plan. They have steps that will help them accomplish their goal. Customer experience professionals have a plan that evolves around the Six Essentials for Creating World-class Customer Focus.
Trainer: Personal trainers help athletes accomplish their goals. While not everyone uses a trainer, I suspect those that do, are more effective at accomplishing their goals. We hear from many companies who attempt to "go at it on their own." While some are successful in creating a competitive advantage, others consider this journey a race and leverage trainers for improved performance and speed.
Mixing it up: In the gym we talk about muscle memory and muscle confusion. For CX, we talk about being attentive to changing needs while consistently delivering on customer expectations. For more information about mixing it up, check out this blog.
Rewards: The harder you try, the sweeter the reward. Just watch this video of athletes who overcome one of the most physical challenges, the Ironman. Customer-focused companies reap many rewards, one of which is dramatically outperforming the market.