You probably need little evidence to believe that the experience your company provides to its customers—in learning about, buying, and using your offerings—is hugely important today. But for the few doubting Thomases left in the business world, I have data (Google data, that is).
As you might know, Google tracks the world’s digital information. According to its indexing of books since the 1980s, seen in Figure 1 using the Google Ngram Viewer1, the term ‘customer experience’ trawls along the bottom of the chart until 1997, a time in which (and not so coincidentally) customer relationship management systems began sprouting up in large corporations. (One of the pioneers and early powerhouses of CRM software, Siebel Systems, was born just four years before that.) Then the curve shoots up, all the way through 2008 (the last year for which Google’s Ngram Viewer provides results).
So what about since 2008? We turn to another Google product, Google Trends. It indexes how many times the term was used in Google searches. The answer: The popularity of the term has more than doubled since 2008, as shown in Figure 2 below.
The notion of the ‘customer experience’ is mesmerizing many C-suites, and it’s not a fad that will fade away. We believe it’s not only here to stay, but that it will become paramount. In fact, many large companies in recent years have come to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ epiphany: becoming obsessed with customers.
The time to transform the experience your company provides customers is now. Not in two years. Not by 2025. But now. In this issue of TCS Perspectives, we show you how.
The following articles lay out the thinking of top TCS customer experience experts—consultants who work on the front lines with clients, whether they make industrial goods, consumer products or automobiles, or whether they provide services such as walking through retail stores and bank branches, or seats on an airplane or rooms in a hotel. Allow me to tell you a little bit about each article and what I believe makes it noteworthy:
Designing Customer Experiences (CX)
Forget Everything You Know About Bricks and Clicks (It’s Wrong, or Soon Will Be): Authors David Nelson and Jim Walb make a compelling case about why every company must look outside their industry to vault ahead in the customer experience. The key is to look at firms that provide superior outcomes for customers, because ultimately that’s all that matters.
The Four Core Competencies of CX: Interview with Bruce Temkin: The Temkin Group has become renowned for its stellar research on CX leaders in many industries and its practical advice. Bruce lays out four core competencies that he believes are necessary for companies to provide a superior customer experience: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, customer connectedness, and employee engagement.
When CX Should Begin with Tweaks, Not Disruption: Not every company must come to market with a ‘disruptive’ customer experience. Some only need small adjustments to generate greater customer loyalty, revenue and profit. Paul Ignasinski explores two steps by which companies can identify those opportunities, and put their resources against them.
The Seven Deadly Myths of Today’s B2B Sell: In business-to-business customer interactions, the experience that sales people provide, make or break relationships every day. Lisa Hager sheds light on seven myths that many B2B sales executives and their teams operate under—beliefs about selling that were once sacrosanct but no longer are. She also explains what to do about them.
Personalization Boundaries: Tuning in to Customers Without Turning Them Off: Every company today can, and must, tailor its interactions (especially the digital ones) with customers. In fact, research says customers expect it—until the personal touch turns them off. Dave Anderson and Keith Wheeler explain how to keep within seven guardrails, and prevent personalization from becoming creepy.
Designing for the Small Silver Screen: The iPhone was introduced 10 years ago, and mobile apps now consume hours each day in the average consumer’s life. It’s critical for companies to design their apps right, which isn’t easy because the competition is intense and app technology grows ever more powerful. Two of our app experts, Oghie Ojior and Skip Vanderburg, give you three ways to raise your app game.
Not every company must come to market with a ‘disruptive’ customer experience. Some only need small adjustments to generate greater customer loyalty, revenue and profit.
The CX After the Sale
How IoT Technologies Are Revamping the Post-Sale Experience: The Internet of things seems to be as popular a topic as customer experience. There’s good reason for that: Companies that embed digital sensors in their products and on the premises in which they do business can track customers and how they are using those products. Authors Gill Hide, Alex Prigojine, and Robert Perry explain five fundamental ways that companies can use IoT technologies to dramatically improve what customers do with your offerings after they buy or rent them.
Reimagining the Contact Center with Digital Technologies: The call center is a thing of the past. Companies now need contact centers whose employees (and increasingly AI-driven systems) respond to customers who phone in, email, type in social media comments, and text message their questions and complaints. Natarajan Baskaran and Rohit Kale explain how to evolve the call center in three stages.
The Magic That Can Happen When Manufacturers Digitally Attach Themselves to Their Products: The internet of things is not only turning consumer sectors inside out, it’s now redefining the way industrial and other manufacturers relate to their customers. As Sreenivasa Chakravarti and Subhash Sakorikar explain, companies that take six bold steps, can do wonders in improving the experience that customers have in using their products.
Using IoT Technologies to Completely Rethink the Customer Experience: Interview with Ric Merrifield: Merrifield has been at the intersection of digital technology and business and operational strategy for many years, at Microsoft and other companies. He wrote a groundbreaking Harvard Business Review article on web service architectures nearly 10 years ago, a book called Rethink, and more recent HBR articles on CX in a world of IoT technologies. Merrifield discusses life on the front lines of major CX initiatives at such companies as Starbucks and Disney.
The Future of CX
Why Your CX Must Soon Plug and Play into a Digital Ecosystem: Digital ecosystems are online platforms that make life infinitely easier for consumers by bringing to bear in one place everything they need to make a major purchase—a car, a home, a vacation, and even a new career. Antony Grigg makes a strong case about why executives must figure out how their companies must play in the digital ecosystems that will soon encompass their products and services.
What Comes after CXM? Helping Customers Help Other Customers: CXM is what came after CRM. But
what comes after CXM, when you and your rivals provide competitive customer experiences? Steve Goren and Anthony Butler believe it will be ICRM—Inter-Customer Relationship Management. Simply put, it’s about how a large company can broker business between customers—i.e., customer to customer—in a scalable and profitable way.
The internet of things is not only turning consumer sectors inside out, it’s now redefining the way industrial and other manufacturers relate to their customers.
How the CEO Can Propel a CX Initiative: CX is indeed a CEO issue, and there are five crucial roles for CEOs to play in these initiatives. In my concluding article, I examine how the leaders of Domino’s Pizza, Burberry, Pepsi, Virgin Group, and Airbnb played these roles, and by doing so ensured the success of the initiatives.
Just as your company strives to delight customers in their journey of buying, using, and renewing the purchase of your products, we strive too in this edition of TCS Perspectives to intrigue you with our ideas. We strongly welcome your feedback.
1 Time.com, The Rise and Fall of Practically Everything, as Told by the Google Books Ngram Viewer, January 16, 2014, accessed May 19,2017, http://techland.time.com/
2 Google Books NGram Viewer, accessed May 19, 2017, https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=customerexperience&year_start=1985&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ccustomer%20experience%3B%2Cc0
3 Google Trends, accessed May 19,2017, https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2008-01-01%202017-05-17&q=%22customer%20experience%22