July 26, 2017

Companies that deliver a great customer experience (CX) outperform their competitors. For online retailer Amazon, theres clearly a link between the experience it has provided customers since 1994 and its ascent to $136 billion in annual revenue. CEO Jeff Bezos is known for his obsession with customers. Amazons enviable rank as one of the worlds most valuable public companies is a testament to the way Bezos has built customer experience into the DNA of his business.

Exceptional CX wins a place in customers hearts and a big share of their wallets. In contrast, poorly executed and inconsistent experiences can damage a brand.

CX is not a fad that will fade away.

Businesses need to accept that customers are more demanding than ever. Companies that want to create winning positions must respond by benchmarking their CX not just against their established competitors, but against the best experiences those customers have ever had, wherever that interaction has taken place. Companies need to create and replicate a stellar experience across touch-points in stores, e-commerce websites, and mobile apps.

We dedicate the current edition of our management journal Perspectives to the theme of CX. We look at CX best practices across a range of business sectors and explain how leaders can create a winning CX.

Theres an ongoing debate in CX circles about the merits of making disruptive changes versus tweaks. We believe incremental change is often better than disruption. Retailer Nordstroms drive to simplify its customer journey illustrates the point powerfully.

Our work with large organizations across the world tells us that active and committed participation from their CEOs is a major factor in CX success. We discuss the CX roles that CEOs have played at retailer Burberry, beverage giant PepsiCo, and Amazon, among others.

As companies use technology to tailor the customer experience, we find that less is sometimes more. Companies must respect privacy boundaries to retain their customers.

One place in which companies have abundant opportunities today is the post-sales customer experience. For example, we explain how GE is using IoT technologies to provide airlines with better performance from its engines. We also look at how digital technologies are helping companies deal more effectively with the 270 billion calls their call centers receive annually.

The View Inside: Our Take on the Customer Experience Revolution provides my overview of the articles in this issue of Perspectives.

With more than 20 years of global consulting experience, Krishnan Ramanujam is an expert in the execution of complex, global transformational initiatives for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies.Krishnan focusses on driving profitability for organizations by spearheading their evolution from IT-centric to customer-centric models that streamline and align business functions. With a keen understanding and deep knowledge of key industries, market changes and client needs, he has directed the development of new products and solutions that successfully facilitate this transition to realize maximum business value.