Three Business Acumen Tips to Execute Strategy and Make the Customers Happy
In the first two hours of a typical Advantexe Business Acumen learning solution, we present to participants several different strategic thinking frameworks and tools that help them either choose the strategies of their organizations, or better execute the strategies of the organization that they lead. Most of the popular strategic frameworks suggest that the core elements of a business strategy start with differentiation. Amazon chooses to differentiate by being the biggest in the world and driving revenues through volume of products sold. Emirates Airlines chooses to differentiate by offering incredible service and a deep understanding of the needs of their exclusive customers. Tesla chooses to be different by innovating the automobile manufacturing process and creating a new market by designing and selling battery powered cars.
Three companies with three different value propositions to their different customer segments. However, it is important to note that in each of the three examples - no matter how different they are – all price their products, market their products, build and deliver their products, finance their products, and provide customer service.
Each of the business elements listed above make up the complete customer experience. In other words, the customer experience is a function of these elements which are completely controlled by the leaders making the decisions to execute the strategies and deliver the value proposition to the end customers.
In all three of these examples, each of the organizations have fierce competitors. Amazon competes with just about every retailer on the planet. Emirates Airlines competes against several local airlines and many other more well established airlines. Tesla of course competes against every car manufacturer in the world.
But what if an organization doesn’t have fierce competition? Or, worse yet, doesn’t recognize or care about competition because they don’t have to or they are so focused on their own challenges that they forget about the customer and the customer’s experience?
Unfortunately, if an organization does not care enough about, or take the customer experience seriously enough over time, they will lose sales, profit, and ultimately their business. Consider for a moment the cases of Pets.com, Pan Am Airlines, and DeLorean Motor Cars. All three are bankrupt and/or out of business…
- Pet.com never could achieve what Amazon has today. They expanded too quickly, built up their facilities to fast, and didn’t focus on their customers.
- Pan Am was once one of the most respected airlines in the world, but after years of poor customer service and being beaten by the competition, they folded in 1991.
- John DeLorean had it all, experience, money, and the ability to make beautiful cars that had technical and service problems and gave frustrated customers a poor experience.
The different between success and failure? A real and distinct focus on the customer experience, no matter what the business strategy.
After our participants receive and discuss content about strategy, we provide them with the chance to apply their new skills in a computer-based business simulation to learn-by-doing. Over the years, we have accumulated observations and insights into what drives the successful customer experience no matter what the strategy. Here are three tips:
Take Customer Satisfaction Seriously
Every business should capture customer satisfaction data and learn from it. The mistake most organizations make is thinking customer satisfaction only goes with a customer-centric approach. That is completely not true and can put an organization out of business. All strategies are dependent on customers so it’s critical to take the customer experience and customer satisfaction data seriously and make adjustments.
Walk a Mile in the Shoes of Your Customers
It’s amazing how busy people in business are and how far removed from customers they can be at the same time. If you are in a position that is more than 3 steps removed from customers, you should worry. How can you impact the customer experience if you don’t know the customer experience. Take the time to go be a customer and see the things they see.
Continuous Customer Experience Improvement
Create and lead a culture of continuous customer experience excellence. Even though Walmart is everyday low pricing, they are constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience in support of their strategy. For example, having products in stock when customers want it! Walmart invests in their world-class inventory management system to make sure the customer can experience everyday low prices every day.