In my youth, I wanted to be “all things to all people” or at least “most things to most people.” Slowly and sometimes painfully, my customer experience consulting career has taught me the importance of simplifying my focus.
Rather than constantly adapting to the needs of every customer who contacts you, sustained success comes from identifying what you are well-equipped to deliver and resisting temptations to stray beyond your core competencies. People who value your core deliverables will find you when you leverage your strengths consistently and passionately.
For example, my company seeks to “make other people successful,” “provide worry-free solutions,” “have fun along the way,” and “be grateful.” So many other things tempt us – but we have to stay with our competencies, simplify our deliverables, and demonstrate the discipline to not overreach in ways that underserve our customers.
So, what are your customer experience competencies, and how are you tempted? Where might you get pulled into trying to deliver products, services, or experiences that extend you beyond your core?
Frequently, I think of the dog on the bridge holding a bone in his mouth only to see the larger reflected image of the bone in the water. It is easy to extend for what is out of one’s reach instead of holding onto what you possess.
Here are some actionable tips for creating a customer experience that is authentic, focused, and differentiated:
Start by understanding your core competencies. What are the things that you do well? What are the things that your customers value most about you? Once you define your core strengths, you can focus your customer experience efforts in those areas.
Simplify your customer experience deliverables. Know your target audience and tailor your offerings to them. Focus on a few critical aspects of their desired experience that you can and will deliver exceptionally well.
Be authentic. Don’t try to be something that you’re not. Customers are increasingly skeptical and savvy. Be your true self and let your customers get to know you and your brand.
Be disciplined. It’s tempting to be swayed by the latest trends and buzzwords or to seek more customers up market or down market. However, differentiation comes from staying focused on your primary customer segments, leveraging your brand strengths, and seeking to deliver a narrowly-defined customer experience.
Here are a few examples of companies that have successfully differentiated themselves by focusing on their core competencies and committing to a unique customer experience:
Apple is known for its focus on design, simplicity, and ease of use.
Amazon is recognized for its wide selection of products, convenience, and excellent customer service.
Disney is distinct due to its ability to create magical customer experiences.
Ritz-Carlton is renowned for its luxurious accommodations and impeccable service.
These companies know who they are, who they serve, and how to stay the course of their defined customer experience.
So, what are your core competencies, and what customers are perfect for you? How do you define your optimal customer experience? Answering these questions and committing resources to bring those answers to life will truly differentiate you and your brand from a sea of less focused competitors.
To learn more about how to deliver a differentiated customer experience, please get in touch with me at josephmichelli.com/contact.