Is there value in going the extra mile for your customers?
How far should you go to delight your customers? Or indeed should you even try? Is there value in going the extra mile?
Julio J. Hernandez
3 minute read
The key to creating value in what some call ‘the age of the customer’ is better customer experiences: instant satisfaction, transparent pricing, customised offerings. All delivered of course at lightning speed. Or is it?
Businesses are investing in customer experience (CX), without giving full consideration to whether exceeding expectations actually results in more business from their target consumer. Let’s be clear: the fundamentals haven’t changed. Failing to meet customers’ expectations will still negatively impact revenue and share. But delighting customers in one way, will not make up for failing them in another.
Businesses should absolutely seek to continually meet customers’ expectations. However, rigorous thought must be given as to whether going above and beyond makes for a strategy that delivers value. Surpassing expectation can drive up costs far in excess of the value created, and even lead to diminishing returns as customers grow accustomed to improved experience. Organisations may not find a business case that justifies surpassing their customers’ expectations. In fact, many do not even attempt to fully examine the economics of the CX journey.
That’s a necessary step but has some common pitfalls to think about:
Estimating potential benefit inaccurately: Voice of the customer programmes identify deficiencies, and may help estimate the potential upside of improved CX, but they seldom provide a complete picture. Time and again, organisations fail to understand or even consider the value of the customer to the company, or vice versa.
Taking measures without the metrics to back them up: Organisations often base their CX investment plans on financial or customer measures with an unsubstantiated relationship to customer experience. They also expect to see instant results, which is not often the case. Sometimes, it can take 6 months before you realise the benefit.
Not having a single view of customer feedback: Whilst many organisations do measure customer feedback, some do manage feedback from different channels very differently. Without this single view, it can be difficult to understand where investments should be made/removed.
A lack of structure and/or support for delivery: Businesses can also be unwilling or unable to deliver the constant level of experience that their customers expect, nor figure out what it will cost.
With accurate projections of costs, benefit potential and delivery in place, your analysis can be fine-tuned by giving consideration to the limits of customer expectation.
The behaviour of today’s empowered customer will continue to shift, along with their expectations. There is value in delighting customers but organisations need to focus on proactively managing the CX, and not the customer. An optimised CX strategy belongs to those companies who understand and are guided by the economics of the customer journey as well as an ethos of putting the customer first.
Planning based on a thorough analysis is essential to shaping a fiscally responsible strategy, as once you change what your customers expect; it's hard to walk back.