Experience is the best teacher
Gain competitive advantage through customer experience excellence
What trumps the impact of any one marketing message or advertising campaign? It’s the total experience a customer has with an organization. Customers feel first, think second – and interactions with a company strongly influence their heart and produce a longer-lasting impact than communications directed toward their heads.
“The bond between your customers and your business,” explains Martha Rogers, PhD, Founding Partner, Peppers & Rogers Group, “is either strengthened or weakened after each interaction. Whether that relationship is developed or damaged is critically dependent upon one factor: the quality of the customer experience.”
For this reason, it is now more important than ever for organizations in every industry and country to know:
1. The capabilities and competencies essential for creating a profitable relationship.
2. What advantages accrue to companies that do it well.
3. Where companies stand today in that journey.
To address these questions, SAS – together with Peppers & Rogers Group and Jubelirer Research – executed the Customer Experience Maturity Monitor, the first in an ongoing global series of empirical investigations employing two distinct but complementary approaches:
Qualitative research – to directly hear the voices of marketers and listen to their strategies, successes and struggles.
Quantitative methods – to explore specific hypotheses concerning the topic of customer experience.
Data was gathered from 45 interviewees and 182 respondents.
“Customer experience excellence,” explains Jeff Gilleland, Global Strategist for Customer Intelligence Solutions at SAS, “requires a customer-centric business model. In particular, companies should try to deepen customer insight, choreograph customer interactions and continuously improve marketing performance.”
Customer experience excellence is not about simply improving customer service quality or about uniformly enhancing customer satisfaction. It is, however, about designing an experience for each customer that is based upon knowledge of that individual, delivering it across products and channels, and measuring outcomes to guide ongoing refinements.
“Doing it right pays a handsome dividend,” notes Pamela Prentice, Director of Marketing Research at SAS. “Among those companies having strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence, 81 percent report that they outperform the competition. In contrast, among companies with weaker capabilities and competencies, the number drops substantially (60 percent).”
However, according to the research, organizations are at different stages along a continuum that ranges from a product-focused business model to a customer-centric dedication designed to deliver long-term profitable relationships with those customers who matter most. As companies advance along that continuum, the likelihood of securing competitive advantage increases. In fact, for those which have progressed to the advanced levels, the advantage is twofold to threefold.
“In today’s troubling times, outperforming the competition isn’t just ‘nice’ – it’s needed for perseverance and prosperity,” explains Gilleland. “Research from the Customer Experience Maturity Monitor has clearly demonstrated that companies with superior abilities to create customer insight, craft customer interactions and continuously improve marketing performance will realize that benefit.”
Thomas D. Lacki, PhD, is a Senior Advisor for Peppers & Rogers Group Faculty