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Design your Customer Experience

In the last few years there has been a lot of discussion around selling an experience rather than a product.  BusinessWeek included the in their "Best of 2005".

Frequently cited examples are Starbucks, Apple, or even Southwest (who manage to do "inexpensive" as well as "experience").

These are all consumer companies.  Do the same principals apply to the rest of us?

How of often have you heard:  "They are really good at what they do, but they are really hard to work with."  Have you ever switched vendors because the overhead to manage the contract was too high?

In these days of global innovation and outsourcing, everyone can have good quality, a lean supply chain, and low cost. In fact, they can probably steal your IP after a few months too.

So continuous innovation and an excellent customer experience matter to all of us.  We all know that it is easier to retain an existing customer than win a new one.  Good service pays. 

Good service is defined by the sum of your customer's perception of their interactions with your people, processes and systems.  Perception is reality.  Their experience is your business reality.

Bottom Line: Design your customer experience (or at least spend 15 minutes thinking about it). Look for ways to add value. Survive. (More to follow in future posts).

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