Customer experience meets Green Lantern

by Bruce Kasanoff on January 24, 2011

To all the executives who think customer experience has more to do with customer satisfaction surveys than with non-stop innovation, I remind you about Green Lantern.

His power ring found him, and gave him access to encyclopedic knowledge. In much the same manner, smartphones are coming to your customers, and giving them encyclopedic knowledge.

It’s tempting to think that customers understand how difficult it is for your firm to connect your databases together or to give your employees easy access to the right answers and services. You hope they won’t notice that your margins are inflated.

But with Green Lantern standing on your doorstep, you wouldn’t make these errors of judgment. For one thing, he can shape energy into any form he wishes, and he just might chuck an energy ball at your work station. For another, he can see through your feeble excuses!

I’m not sure how to break this to you, but your newly-empowered customers are just like Green Lantern, minus the tights and the energy balls.

Armed with a smartphone or tablet and a few dozen apps, they can compare prices, check reviews, consult experts and spot problems. They won’t pay for hype or bluster. They aren’t easily impressed.

What does this mean for customer experience? It means the stakes are getting much higher. Differentiating your services based on experiences will require substantial and ongoing investments of time and money. It will require looking further into the future than your competitors. It will require real, lasting, substantive change. This is going to be really hard.

But most of all, it requires a big shift in mindset. Stop looking backwards, spending money measuring customer satisfaction. Spend that money on actually improving the customer experience rather than convincing customers that your current service is good enough.

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