The best customer experience brands all disrupted the disruptors – how did they do it? By committing to connection with their target audiences via the best CX possible.
When we think of transformational business models today, they all include an outstanding CX, and a few examples stand out in stark relief across some well-established industries.
From hotels, to home sharing, to a whole new travel experience: Airbnb
In the traditionally stodgy and slow-moving world of hospitality, Airbnb put the vacation experience in the hands of property owners, renters, and vacationers seeking unique experiences AND the chance to save money while touring the globe. In doing so, the company has quickly grown to be valued at as much as $36 billion as of 2019.
As hotels scramble to find a way to compete with Airbnb, they’re realizing that the first needed item on the list is a great customer experience. AirBnb allows customers to personalize their vacations to anywhere in the world, and usually for far less than a hotel. Customized offerings are one critical facet of the Experience Economy, and Airbnb is doing it right.
From coffee and tea for discriminating Americans to a worldwide empire: Starbucks
In just a few short years, Starbucks pulled off a fantastical pivot from its original model of selling high-end coffee beans, loose-leaf teas, and brewing equipment to a U.S. customer base with an increasingly sophisticated pallet, to a revolutionary retail giant with a presence on every continent on earth, save Antarctica (although we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s in the works.)
Starbucks also recognizes possibly the most important factor in creating a great CX: Employees. Providing outstanding benefits and referring to employees as partners rather than employees, this coffee behemoth is raising the bar when it comes to the employee experience – because they know that employees are the heart and soul of their brand.
From books, to multimedia, to everything: Amazon
Amazon started as an online bookseller in the early days of internet adoption, providing a convenient option to the big-box book retailers that had dominated the American market for decades.
Today, Amazon is the dominant force in retail across every kind of product and service – including its recent foray into the notoriously hard-to-crack grocery business – and is also now an Oscar-winning motion picture studio.
Providing rapid delivery, simple returns, and using Alexa to beam itself into the homes of millions across the globe, Amazon shows no signs of slowing down. In order to compete with Amazon, retailers need to up their CX game.
What’s the connection among the best customer experience brands?
While these examples highlight vastly different business strategies in many respects, and each company’s goals may have differed around specific outcomes, each of the best customer experience brands held to a one principle to affect both rapid and sustainable growth: knowing and understanding the customer from the first touch with the business throughout their whole lifecycle, and ensuring this understanding translates to true value that grows over time.
Of course, achieving the best customer experience required technological innovation. But it also demanded a business-wide commitment to making sure every part of the organization was a part of the process. After all, why should only sales and marketing teams be privy to customer insights, when this understanding can have an equally powerful impact on customer service, product development, supply chain management, and virtually any other aspect of operations?
What’s the takeaway to provide the best customer experience?
Looking at the best customer experience brands and their success stories can tell us a lot about what it takes to design and implement a formidable business transformation project, and in many respects, it comes down to one overarching theme: Connect the business – from front to back – around the customer.
It’s quite simple: your customer’s experience with your business is what defines your brand. Make that experience count.