August 19, 2015

Why customer experience cannot be ignored?

Miriam Agnese

Lead CX Advisor, Tieto

The hard truth is that companies now need the customers more than they need them. The first thing you need to do is to understand your customer’s needs and expectations. The next step is to learn how you are delivering on those expectations today. 

I just love the story of Molly Katchpole, a 22-year-old nanny, just out of college, took on the battle of Bank of America. They were planning to start charging their customers a $5 monthly debit card fee, but Molly was not ready for that. She started an online petition and within a week gathered 300 000 signatures. Bank of America withdrew their fee, and so did several other banks with similar plans. This is such a beautiful example of how the companies now has to listen to their empowered customers.

Digital channels, social media and recommendation platforms has shifted the power from the companies to the consumers. Many large organizations have felt the horror of one well formulated customer complaint in an uncontrolled social channel being shared, liked, commented and spread to thousands in a matter of hours, with no power to stop it.

The hard truth is that companies now need the customers more than they need them.

The leadership guru, Peter Drucker once said, “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer”. He also said that marketing and innovation are the only two functions that contributes to that (Andreassen 2015). Unfortunately, many leaders today have got lost in focus on other things like cost. It is time to refocus on customers and the experience they are having with your brand.

Customer experience = subjective experience/expectations

To improve the customer experience you have two main options:

1) You can either try to influence the customer’s expectations, or (but most likely and)
2) Take a close look at how you meet those expectations in all customer interactions

That includes all forms of traditional and digital communication, product performance, advertising, sales processes, service deliveries, brand perception and the list goes on. You will never be stronger than your weakest link.

What matters is not how you have designed your products, services and processes, but how your customer subjectively perceives them.

The first thing you need to do is to understand your target customer’s needs and expectations. The next step is to learn how you are delivering on those expectations today. Only then can you know where to put down your money and efforts. This is where many fail, especially as customers do not always know themselves, or at least do not express it to you.

The short conclusion is that you need to:

  • Learn what your customers need and want from you, today and tomorrow, optimally, before they even know it themselves
  • Find the moments of truth – where it matters most to use your resources wisely
  • Fix you basics and then innovate to meet or even exceed those expectations better than your competition

You can read more about Tieto Customer Experience Management here.

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Read our study about digital CEM in the Nordics

Read how decision makers in Finland, Sweden and Norway see CEM, now and in the coming years. A Tieto commissioned study with 320 c-level respondents in retail and financial services.

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