To create a world-class customer experience a business must widen the customer intimacy model beyond understanding what the customer wants and delivering it to them any way it can. By Dr Mike Ashby.
all about the customer’.”
Many owners pride themselves on being really responsive, agile, proactive, friendly – all wrapped up in something called ‘personal service’. However, businesses based on that degree of personal service are barely businesses because it’s really hard to scale up. You don’t have standard products; you create the solution for each customer. You don’t have standard processes; you do it a different way each time.
At the start the business depends on you, but even if you manage to transfer that knowledge to someone else, the business dependency then transfers to them. The offering is modified in the course of the interaction with the customer. In fact, the customer almost defines the offering and it could be different each time and with each customer.
If you want to achieve scale, you have to standardise, streamline, automate. That doesn’t work where your offer is bespoke.
In terms of positioning, I think it’s necessary to widen the customer intimacy model beyond understanding what the customer wants and delivering it to them any way we can. To escape the trap of being forever boutique, we have to think about creating an experience for the customer that feels to them like an intimate experience in a deeply personal way, but which is actually produced for every single customer.
Let’s call this the customer experience model, but let’s go one better and call it a world-class customer experience. I like this idea because it transcends service or even product. It engages everyone in the organisation, because in a world-class customer experience, even administration is customer service. There is no such thing as front and back office – everything is front office in a world-class customer experience.