How do you deliver an unforgettable customer experience that differentiates you from competitors? The answer is fairly simple:
- Understand what customers see as “critical moments” with your product/service.
- Make sure you’re facilitating strategy implementation your customers can feel at those critical moments.
Identify the Critical Moments
To know how to make your differentiating strategy shine, you have to know when it must shine. For example, Apple sees the buying, unwrapping, and set-up experiences all as “critical moments” for their products. Sure, customers use their device long after those experiences happen. But Apple believes delivering a unique, differentiated experience that showcases their strategy makes their products stand out – and win in the marketplace.
Similarly, you need to identify your customer’s critical moments before you begin to enhance them to deliver your own strategic differentiated experience. If you can’t identify those moments, it’s difficult to structure the experiences that are needed to win.
Can Customers Feel Your Strategy?
The real work begins after you identify the critical moments. That is, your strategy must “bleed through” to the tangible experiences with customers to make critical moments memorable and distinct to your company.
This requires organization alignment—ensuring that your organization’s capabilities and choices actively drive your strategy. As a result, creating a unified experience where customers “feel” your strategy is difficult if your organization is not aligned.
For example, I see this with several Finance companies I’ve worked with over the years. They all claim to provide customers with the same thing: “Timely and customized advice for your specific needs.” Unfortunately, these companies rarely deliver their strategy or help customers “feel it.” In the infrequent occasion that customers feel strategy, it’s the result of working with a specific advisor or agent. It is not a consistent service experience happening across the company.
All these companies have great strategies. The problem is in the failure to design, implement, and execute organization capabilities and choices that deliver on the promise. Some capabilities are deemed too expensive, complicated, or impossible. Others exist, but are nullified by misaligned choices that undermine the customer experience.
The company got their strategy right – correctly identifying what customers wanted and where to differentiate from competitors. However, they didn’t make the organizational changes necessary to support strategy. Essentially, the strategy did not permeate the capabilities of the organization and meaningfully alter the culture.
Align Organization Choices and Capabilities To Strategy
If you want customers to feel your strategy, you must identify their critical moments with your products/services and align your organization’s choices and capabilities to your strategy. True organization alignment enables customers to consistently feel your distinctive offering at critical moments – and differentiates your organization from the other noise in the marketplace.