Ivey Publishing

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How to Create a "Lights Out" Customer Experience
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4 pages
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Ivey Business Journal
If you think you know your customers well enough, think again. Every organization, regardless of its earnings and marketing sophistication, can benefit from a better understanding of its customers. Indeed, figuring out how to dramatically improve your customer experience is something to think about right now, if you want your organization to have a future. Coming waves of disruption threaten every established business on the planet. Since these waves are driven by a shift toward consumers, as well as a number of low-cost new technologies, they are unstoppable. Companies like Uber and Airbnb haven’t spent much money on marketing, but are taking over by word of mouth and by creating value through servicing customers in better ways. Established players should learn how to proactively raise the customer service bar and offer a “lights out” experience that can’t be beat. If leaders don’t focus on what it takes to get customers to stick with them, then the cost of customer acquisition becomes forbiddingly expensive.

Deploying analytics alone can no longer be relied upon as a source of competitive advantage because most analytics strategies are easily replicated. Companies must investigate what customers want before they want it. Knowing where customers want you to take them before they realize it (or someone else takes them there) involves creativity and design thinking. It requires understanding how generational thinking can bias your product or service development. It also requires getting outside of your industry and understanding how the ideal customer experience changes. Don’t be fooled by good surveys, reviews, sales, or market share data. They won’t tell you what’s coming or what weaknesses expose you to eager competitors with a better emotional connection to your market.
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