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It’s not about the touchpoints or experiences

I’ve been reminded lately that having strategic customer focus isn’t about all your customer processes and touchpoints. Customer Experience or focus shouldn’t mean executing every touchpoint throughout the lifecycle a certain way, but doing certain things so well that customers choose you.

In my household, we find ourselves choosing smaller, more nimble businesses to do business with, such as an electrician hired the other day over the company we normally use. He offered a shorter lead time and an appointment time rather than, "We’ll be there between Noon and Five." I expected the other stuff to be done well enough — like getting the fixture installed right — but I hired him because he would come on a day’s notice and meet at an appointed time, as that made life so much easier for us.

It’s the same in B2B. Customers buy from those offering certain unique outcomes, while doing the other stuff well enough. The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) found in a recent study that companies aren’t preferred because they perform all or most their customer touchpoints better. Instead, the winners, like my new electrician, were delivering certain unique benefits to the customers — ones they couldn’t easily find elsewhere that made customers’ lives easier in some way. More specifically, they found that the preferred companies would:

  • Choose a small number of "unclaimed" benefits to provide through their experience.
  • Identify and overinvest in the one or two touchpoints where they can best showcase those unique benefits.
  • Use other touchpoints to reinforce their unique benefits.

Customer focused leadership means being strategic and even selective. It doesn’t mean that every process must be perfect or changed to fit your brand — just the ones that mean the most to your buyers.

About the Author

Jeff Marr

Jeff Marr

Marr provides thought leadership to Walker and the customer strategy profession. In keeping with the newest proven approaches, Marr designs services used in client engagements. This includes facilitating customer-driven action by clients at the corporate, functional and account team levels, and creating new measurement solutions. Formal approaches Jeff helped create and launch include value mapping, account engagement, strategic assessment, won/lost bid assessment, and assessing lost/diminished customers.

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