Three Ways to Lead in Customer Experience

Customer Strategy
Customer Experience
Investing in delivering a great customer experience is a key differentiator for organizations. They need to focus on a three-pronged strategy in order to do so.

A great product is no longer serving as a differentiator for companies. Customers have come to expect great products and services and are making purchase decisions based on the experience that organizations deliver.In fact, as Mark Hurd, Oracle's president, points out, customers are willing to pay an extra 30 percent for a good experience. "It's not just a good idea [to deliver a good customer experience,] it's great business," Hurd said during last Monday's The Experience Revolution.

The necessity to focus on customer experience is especially important in the era of social media. "When [the experience is great, we recognize it; when it's not great, we tell everyone about it," said Anthony Lye, senior vice president of Oracle CRM.

In order to deliver the outstanding experience that rises above others, organizations need to focus on three important aspects:

Connect with customers: Today's channel-hopping customers expect organizations to connect with them wherever they are. Lye emphasized that businesses need to facilitate a cross-channel experience that allows seamless movement between channels without the need for customers to repeat themselves. Lye underlined the importance for organizations to ensure they're delivering a great experience across all channels, and this includes being early adopters of newer touchpoints, like mobile and social. "You have to present information that's meaningful to customers and allow them to [move freely] from one channel to another," he said. Best Buy, for example, has brought together its online and retail business, allowing customers to shop online and pick their purchase at the nearest store.

Know your customers: Brands recognize the importance of understanding each and every customer in order to deliver a great experience that's also relevant. However, in today's social-savvy world it's no longer enough to understand customers' purchasing value, but organizations need to also know about their customers' referral value. Southwest Airlines, for example, is not only rewarding customers based on the number of miles they have flown, but also for introducing the brand to their friends.

Make it easier for customers to do business with you: Customers don't want to have to jump through hoops to make a purchase. Thus organizations need to invest in ways to facilitate the customer journey. "Make sure there's a single source of truth," Lye said.

This three-pronged strategy will help organizations rise over their competitors by providing a great experience for their customers. "The only things that make you different are the relationship, experience, and journey you enable for your customers," said Lye.