I have a friend, let’s call her Izzy, whose grandmother once gave her the following life advice; "Marry for love, not money … but only look for love where there is already money.” Izzy went on to marry a wealthy guy and lives a high-end lifestyle. Whilst I find this story both amusing and a little perturbing, it recently came to mind in a business context.
As I work with businesses to help calculate “value” from digital investments, I see opportunities to apply a twist of the grandmother’s advice. Many businesses are working hard to build better relationships with their customers, but often they’re focused on the relationship details not the wealth potential. So, to repurpose the advice; businesses should look to build relationships with their customers … and build those relationships where there is money, or value.
Of course, most businesses already focus on customer experience (CX) and many advisers now talk about “obsessing over the customer.” In a 2008 New York Times article, Jeff Bezos, from Amazon, said (I paraphrase) “I believe the success we have had over the past 12 years has been driven exclusively by customer experience.” Since then, focusing on customer experience has become a big thing, as has Amazon.
Businesses can also shoot for customer love. Apple is a classic example. Just look at the queues outside Apple stores during new product launches. This level of connection; brand loyalty, brand advocacy and wallet share resulted from Apple’s obsessive, customer-focused design. Many an organization envy this position and hold Apple up as a case study to emulate. Apple is certainly a rare breed.
My point here is for a stronger tie between customer experience and wealth potential. In personal relationships, the the term “gold digger” has negative connotations. It implies a person who cultivates a personal relationship in order to attain wealth alone. In business, on the other hand, it’s entirely acceptable to be a gold digger. Business is business; ultimately it’s transactional. Yet few businesses have carefully calculated the value proposition of the digital customer experience.
In April 2016, Accenture Interactive and Forrester Consulting completed a survey which corroborates this last point. They evaluated a number of global enterprises’ customer experience (CX) efforts and found that although "executives have woken up to the importance of digital in forging great customer experiences, one word defines business executives’ attitudes toward digital customer experience (CX): complacency”.
This complacency is hard to justify when the same Accenture Forrester study also found that, depending on industry, a 1 percent increase in CX scores can mean $10 million to $100 million-plus annually for an individual brand. The wealth is out there. Businesses just need to get more focused on building the relationships to access the wealth potential