Principles of Customer Closeness: Excel at delivery

In a continuing series, Oliver Gwynne delves deeper into CX for brands and looks at how to focus on the customer. This provides a fabulous context for those who are conducting customer research and anyone interested in the way brands have evolved in recent years and refocussed on consumers.

Where many of the principals we have talked about have been centred around knowing your customer and interacting with them in a consistent manner, we can’t forget about providing a good service/product.

In a perfect world

On the surface it’s easy to mistake the last decade as being technology driven. Agile companies like Uber, Air BnB, eBay and Amazon have all managed to become major players, seemingly by leveraging technology. Whilst it’s easy to view these companies as middlemen (Air BnB don’t own any hotels as an example) it is not technology that has driven their success but a focus on the customer. All of these companies asked themselves what customers really wanted and built systems and infrastructure around that. Customers wanted to feel safer by knowing who their drivers actually were, so Uber introduced that. Customers wanted to receive their packages quickly and so Amazon have invested heavily to improve its supply chain. When thinking of our services or products a good starting point is to think of a perfect-world scenario for the customer and identify how that could be achieved.

Not a perfect product

Whilst most organisations will proudly stand behind an ambition to be “the best at what we do” in reality it is a mistake to tie together perfect products or services with success. Most people would not consider a McDonalds burger to be the best they have ever had. The success of the brand lies in the processes and procedures which mean that a burger in Chicago will taste the same as a burger in Bradford. Their food will be ready quickly, at a low price point. McDonalds do not look to pursue making ‘a perfect burger’ but rather the best possible service/food within the context of where they sit as a brand as a fast-food outlet, and at the price point they operate at.

Contextualising customer needs

Continuing with our McDonalds example, we can see that they have clearly thought about what ‘a perfect world’ looks like for their customers and then contextualised this with what is important for their business model. A ‘perfect world’ for customers might be to have sofa style seating while they eat, but as McDonalds business model is low-price, high-volume they need to turnover people quickly.

There will always be a trade-off between what the customer wants and what the business wants, but by understanding the attributes that customers really care about, it becomes much easier to put together services/products and procedures. We once again come back to the importance of truly understanding your customers and the attributes that are important to them. In order to excel at delivery, you need a granular understanding of customer expectations beyond the obvious ‘fast response from customer service.’

About the author:
Oliver Gwynne works for STRAT7, which turns market and customer data into real world knowledge, and knowledge into competitive advantage. We are a group of companies all dedicated to helping you get closer to your customers through cultural understanding, hybrid segmentation and insight communities.

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