Where Business is Won and Lost

Ryan Estis
Contributing Writer
Keynote Speaking & Cooperate Training

How can we get closer to the customer?

Customer experience is where business is going to be won and lost.

What truly makes for a good experience? The elements are simple, according to PwC: “Speed. Convenience. Consistency. Friendliness. And one big connector: human touch—that is, creating real connections by making technology feel more human and giving employees what they need to create better customer experiences.”

Who cares? In the era of customization, personalization  and digitization, everyone should.

Without satisfied customers, you don’t have a business. Without raving fans and brand ambassadors, you aren’t well positioned to accelerate growth in the new economy. You earn those kinds of relationships today by delivering a little more than the customer expects, every single time. If the experience isn’t meaningful and memorable enough to compel customers to tell somebody else, it simply isn’t good enough. Average is over.

Coincidentally, I received a phone call this week from the sales rep at a clothing store where I used to shop. He invited me to a cocktail reception they are having in store with a designer. I declined, and I also offered a bit of a heads-up as to why I haven’t been in his store in over a year.

I’ve moved on to Martin Patrick 3, the men’s clothing store in my neighborhood that Forbes magazine calls “The Hottest Retailer In America’s Hottest Retailing City.” They don’t do any e-commerce, but my goodness, do they do customer experience right. Case in point: I casually told my sales rep Todd that I’d be stopping in Saturday afternoon to return a pair of jeans. They pre-shopped the store for me and had my private fitting area ready with the team at ready to lend support. I didn’t even need anything, but it didn’t matter. Did I want lunch? A glass of wine? Can we deliver the alterations to your house? Need dinner reservations tonight?

Do you think I left the store empty-handed?

When I casually explained the MP3 experience as the reason for my absence to the rep from my former clothing store, he responded:

“I will pass that along.”

You can pass that along right out of business. The lack of initiative and imagination around reinventing the customer experience is why so many brick-and-mortar retail stores are struggling in the age of Amazon. They can’t compete on convenience or price; the area they need to compete in, and win, is customer experience.

It’s stunning to me to see how many businesses simply aren’t responding fast enough.

Within a short walk from my house in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis, I can eat at one of the best restaurants in the world, shop at one of the most innovative retail concepts in America, and watch my favorite brand of professional sports in the newly renovated, next-generation NBA arena that is now Target Center. Go Timberwolves! It’s my own lab offering lessons and insight on CX that I get to share with the world. It also has me hyper-focused on making sure our own customer experience continues to improve.

It’s where business is going to be won or lost in the future.

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