Early in my career, I worked for a Fortune 50 Telecom company. We would pride ourselves on the fact that we almost always ranked #1 in our industry for service, quality, and experience. We would diligently work to ensure we beat our competition year after year. Until one executive meeting changed this mindset. We were celebrating yet another year of ranking #1 with coffee, bagels, and pats on the back when one executive suggested that the ranking alone was no longer enough. He pointed out that being the best in our industry simply meant “that we suck less than our competition, not that we are good at service, quality, and experience!” It was a call to action to raise the bar, but I am not sure everyone in that room realized the impact of what was to come.
Let’s be honest, for decades telecom, healthcare, utilities, and airlines have been some of the most loathed and CX dysfunctional industries out there. That executive’s call to action so many years ago was actually on the cutting edge of a new norm in CX. We had to start looking at the best of the best and emulate what they were doing regardless of industry. Zappos.com, USAA, and Marriott were benchmarks for customer experience at the time. Companies from different industries started visiting these CX leaders to uncover their “secret”. Zappos.com actually turned it into a revenue generator by charging companies for half or full-day sessions to learn about their secret to CX success.
It’s been 10+ years since that day and the CX landscape continues to improve with disruptors and customer expectations across industries. Your experience at Starbucks sets the bar for your experience at the airport. The Chick-fil-A drive-through experience sets your expectations for the DMV or an Emergency visit.
There is still some validity to looking at industry-specific type interactions, but CX pioneers like Amazon found a way to change expectations of both retail and delivery, just ask Walmart, Target, FedEx, and UPS.
Talk about changes in customer expectations! Now, let’s add a worldwide pandemic. All companies, regardless of industry, are now having to look at their product and service delivery differently. How many have confidence that their transitions are meeting their customers in these difficult times? It’s about survival, not just customer expectations. Over the past decade, CX has improved at a snail’s pace, but today it is critical that CX innovation take advantage of these changes and move at an accelerated speed.
To answer the question posed here, yes, it can still be helpful to look within your industry to determine opportunities for improvement to your product or service. However, it is more important than ever to understand how customers are setting new minimum expectations regardless of industry and how those expectations will impact your organization.
Don’t just “suck less” than your competition, be the new customer experience standard!
Farlinium is happy to help you determine your CX / VoC Maturity level and how you compare to the overall industry. If you would like to find out more about where you sit on the scale, please click the link below to complete a quick self-assessment and review your free results with one of Farlinium’s expert CX consultants.