Innovation in Customer Experience
It seems that many times, when we think about innovations, we think in terms of bringing a new product or service to the marketplace and making millions of dollars in the process. However, innovations can occur in any area of the business with the purpose of helping your company run better, build some strategic advantage, differentiator, reduce costs or become more efficient.
Innovations in customer experience are an excellent way to attract new customers, retain those that you already have and bring positive (or negative) attention to your brand. If you think about your experience with different companies – some make you feel as though you are interrupting one person’s day, versus the other that cannot seem to get out of your hair once you have made the initial contact – think about the impact that your experiences have made on your purchasing and loyalty decisions.
As a customer – one who buys goods and services from others, you probably realize that you have certain expectations for your experience. Consider the interactions, for example, when you begin your purchasing experience:
- You go to the internet to look for the item you wish to purchase
- You go to one of the sites you find on the first page
- You review that site to see if they might have what you are looking for. Is the site memorable? Do they have some offer to make you come back? Is the site easy to find what you want?
- You go to several other sites to see what they offer
- You go to the store that has the best offer. Is there adequate parking? Is the building and lot in good repair?
- You go in the store. How is everything laid out? Is it easy to find what you are looking for? Does the staff greet you?
- Are there other things that might pique your interest while you are there?
- Are there knowledgeable staff members to help you with your purchasing decision?
- How is the checkout process? Are you able to use discounts and coupons? Do they assist you with manufacturer’s rebates?
…and the process continues, looking at every step in the process, and analyzing how you can potentially improve the customer experience. Innovation in the customer experience arena can happen in a number of ways. Think about the financial benefits
- Greater revenue: notice that people are often willing to purchase something that costs a little bit more if there are benefits – such as a high level of customer service, clean stores, etc.
- Customer retention: you want your customers to come back. It is a lot easier to keep old customers than to go out and find new ones
- Referrals: most people looking for a new solution are going to look for what other people have said or experienced
- Cost reduction: evaluating your program may reveal ways to reduce costs by evaluating how people purchase, want to interact with staff, handle returns, etc.; by understanding this, you may find other less costly solutions that benefit your customers
All of this comes down to the value equation: by identifying how you will provide value for your customers at every step in the process – the value chain – you can streamline your efforts while improving your customer experience. Keep in mind; this isn’t a once and done deal – this is the first step in continuous improvement that separates ordinary companies from those that are extraordinary.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN | CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
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