Why do some companies make so much profit and command price premiums while some continually struggle to make minimum margin and gain market share despite spending good money on advertising, buying channel presence with some even having a better designed product?
The secret is very simple. Though these different high performance companies operate in very different industries and face different challenges, the major reason for their success comes down to one thing. They understand it is all about the customer experience. And they don’t even have to do it for everyone. At least not initially.
They are putting their customers at the center of their universe; they also understand that not every company can do that (including their competitors who are many times bigger and with big marketing budget) because it will be difficult or too expensive for them to make that work for everyone.
The secret is that you should start with ‘not everyone’ and identify those ‘someone who cares’. Those someones who appreciate the extra things that you do and will ultimate tell everyone about it and essentially those become the most tangible evidence of your brand promise. The declining effectiveness of advertising is well evidenced and many marketers are still doing that despite their value propositions which are unclear, and customer experience is underwhelming. And instead of spending time and resources on the latter, they take the easy path and buy more display advertising, it is not going to work.
Smart companies understand that success depends most fundamentally on a few core customers and if you can tailor your customer value propositions to them and then design the experiences just for them, you’re on the right track and can achieve a new level of performance and differentiation. These customer experiences are not about a $50 rebate, or a free something or many thank you emails. These are things that consumers take for granted and believe you’re doing it to get their business as the cost of doing business.
Customer experience needs to get emotional. This is how our brains are wired and this is when design thinking comes into play. You need to map the customer journeys and engineer happy accidents. Not a business process exercise at all and don’t mix them up. Walk their shoes in their everyday life and constantly invent new ways to apply the best value propositions on minimal scale. Remember customer experience is not about being well said, it is about being well done and it is not a published rule book. It is embedded in your culture and how your brand dictates your behavior.