It seems like pre-historic times. The year was 2013, and I emerged from my cave having just read a report by customer experience research and consulting group Walker, titled Customer 2020. I remember thinking that 2020 sounded like a year ominously far away and that the study’s conclusions were futuristic and almost otherworldly.
Let’s travel back to 2013 and re-visit Walker’s predictions for what is now the imminent future.
As per Walker’s 7-year projection – 2020 could be a time when:
Customers will expect companies to know their business intimately and personalize the experience.
Customers will expect companies to be more proactive, anticipating their current and future needs.
Customers will determine the experience they want and will expect companies to enable that experience through various channels, including mobile, social, and personal interactions.
With the benefit of hindsight, I’d give Walker an A for prediction accuracy. They would have received an A+ had they suggested their predictions would materialize before 2020.
The 3 Ps of Customer Experience Excellence
Since the future is NOW, let’s consider how you are doing from the standpoint of personalization, being proactive, and omnichannel. I will call it the three Ps:
In past blogs, I’ve suggested a distinction between personalization and personal care. For me, personalization involves technologies like CRM, artificial intelligence, big data, etc. to position content, offerings, and service in ways that fit individual consumers. An example of personalization occurs when Starbucks messages people who drink nonfat lattes only when the company releases new low-calorie items.
Personal care, by contrast, involves people demonstrating emotional intelligence, gratitude, and unique, human warmth. In my opinion, to deliver against Walkers’ prediction regarding a personalized experience, brands must execute both personalization AND personal care.
Proactive service is something I learned a lot about back in the days prior to the release of my book The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. In fact, the elegant service experience of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company relies on the flawless execution of three rather simple steps to service:
- A warm and sincere greeting.
- Use the guest’s name. Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest’s needs.
- Fond farewell. Give a warm good-bye and use the guest’s name.
The essential difference between quality service and exceptional experiences often comes down to the degree to which a brand not only meets a customer’s stated needs but also anticipates their unstated ones.
Platform means meeting your customers on their terms. Effectiveness requires knowing where and how your customer prefers to interact and focusing on efficient and responsive communication through their preferred channels.
So, let’s get your grade book out and start assigning letter grades to your existing customer experience:
|My Customer Experience 2020||Letter Grade|
Here’s to straight As and loyal customers who are actively referring you to their friends. The future truly is now!