Eastern Air Lines. Jamesway. CompUSA. These are just a handful of brands that have gone out of business or been absorbed by other organizations over the past 25 years. As Pegasystems Founder, CEO, and Chairman Alan Trefler sees it, many more companies around the world will fail over the next few years as a result of what he describes as "customer stress."In his recently-published book Build For Change, Trefler describes how many companies are digging their own graves by failing to adapt to an emerging generation of connected customers who not only don't want to be sold to - they will demonize those companies that fail them. Companies with siloed operations that are focused on individual channels or functions instead of the holistic customer experience are particularly vulnerable, Trefler recently told me.
Adapting to and engaging with today's empowered customer requires business leaders to re-think how technology is designed and applied to deliver responsive and relevant customer experiences, says Trefler. "Part of what organizational leaders need to look at it whether there is a brain in the organization where data can not only be analyzed but operationalized," says Trefler.
Trefler raises some excellent points in his book about how company leaders need to re-examine the technologies and processes used to serve customers today if they hope to survive. I'm a firm believer that it's become increasingly difficult for companies to distinguish themselves by their products or by price, especially in today's globally-connected market where one company's products or services can quickly be replicated or surpassed by another. Organizations that are able to deliver personalized, intuitive, and efficient experiences stand to differentiate themselves from the pack.
Delivering consistent customer experiences requires companies to have the right people, processes, and technology in place. And while that's no small undertaking for companies that have built up years of layered legacy systems and processes, the customer-facing practices that need to be fixed can be prioritized and tackled one at a time, notes Trefler.