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It is the year of the customer. Ok, but what now?

The world we currently live in is changing at a rapid pace. Everything we see, touch, hear, feel, do is exponentially shifting to a new norm, which within a very short period, quickly becomes another new norm. With this ever-changing environment, customers have changed, but the reality is that a lot of businesses have not.

Many of these businesses have become totally internally focused, forging ahead, unconditionally believing ‘of course we know what our customers need – we’ve been in business for a long time.’

A business’s only purpose for existing is to solve a problem or need a customer has in their life. Technology and global connectedness ensured that customers now have infinite choices at their fingertips to fulfil their needs and Customer experience (CX) has become the new battleground. CX is the driver that brings differentiated value that makes customers stay – and keeps you in business. 

In this constant environment of change, either brought on by disruptors, a global pandemic, or the next phase of the Industrial Revolution, problems are created, but so too are opportunities. Where do you start with your transformation journey to truly be customer-centric in times of perpetual change?

Jeff Bezos, the founder of one of the biggest disruptors of our time, Amazon, said: “I frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’. I almost never get the question ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’.”

The least likely to change is the overlapping connection of what value you offer your customers and what your customers experience as value from you. 

For Amazon it is Low prices, Fast delivery, Wide choice. When you redefine your decisions in relation to value(s), it will lead to increased innovation and implementation required to manage the change. 

Another great example is Domino’s pizza. Domino’s pizza struggled to keep growing in the late 00’s having been one of the most highly regarded pizza franchises in the US. They appointed a new CEO, J. Patrick Doyle, in 2010 with the mandate to restore the taste of their product, whilst seeking a new competitive advantage. Domino’s pizza decided to change their ‘questions’ about offering value to their customers, that resulted in the growth of their stock price currently outperforming big tech firms. 

Domino’s first clarified their values as Taste, Speed & Convenience and one of the great experiences they deliver are through their On-Time Cooking solution. Everyone uses GPS, but Domino’s took this one step further. Domino’s knows it takes exactly 7 minutes, 15 seconds to cook a pizza and instead of having their pizzas sit waiting to be picked up in their stores, they track their customers knowing exactly when they will arrive to pick up their order. The cooking start time is then adjusted to each customer so even if they are held up in traffic, they will always receive the hottest, freshest, best tasting pizza right out of the oven, conveniently every time. 

Instead of seeing technology as the answer, Domino’s used technology as the enabler to fulfil the value customers were seeking from them.

Start with identifying the values connecting you and your customers by answering the following 3 key questions:

  1. What experience are you trying to deliver that will result in value for you and your customers?
  2. What emotions are you trying to evoke with your experience whilst delivering value?
  3. How are you going to evoke and deliver these emotions through the value you offer?

This is where you start your roadway to unique experiences that will result in customer loyalty in an ever-changing environment.

About the Author: Sumarie Schreiner

Sumarie Schreiner is one of our Red & Yellow part-time lecturers, specialising in Customer Experience. She acquired her Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and Advertising after completing her BComm degree. She also obtained her  MBA (1st level) specialising in Marketing, and recently acquired her international Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) accreditation. Sumarie loves to read, listen to music, tries to be a runner, and has a regular Friday night date at The Labia Cinema (pre-Covid 19).

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