When it comes to delivering an outstanding customer experience, far too many companies are content with simply “keeping up with the Joneses.”
In the most recent Forrester survey of 100 customer experience professionals, 58 percent of respondents said that their firms drive customer experience innovation by closely watching what their direct competitors are doing, and a full 72 percent look to outright copy companies in other industries.
The embarrassing amount of copying that is going on has been recently pointed out by research analyst Kerry Bodine, and it’s the reason why “good enough” is the disappointingly low bar to which many companies now strive:
Citibank wanted to copy the Apple store so badly that it actually hired the same architects responsible for the Apple store concept to design its bank of the future. Imitation may be the highest form of flattery—but it’s not innovation.”
There is a lot more risk in copying your competitors than you may think. First of all, they might not know exactly what they are doing; even if they do, it doesn’t mean that what works for them will work for you.
Even worse, many companies are not seeking to imitate the industry leaders, or those businesses most known for their customer experience.
According to the Forrester analysis published in the Harvard Business Review:
“…13% of companies said that they’ll settle for nothing less than having the best customer experience across every industry—in other words, these companies want to be the next Apple, Disney, or Zappos.”
That leaves a whopping 87 percent of companies who will settle for less than the best when it comes to their customer experience!
80 percent of companies believe they are delivering superior service to their competitors. In light of these admissions, it’s easy to see why in reality they are falling flat. Consider this startling statistic from the Forrester survey:
In 2013, only 8% of the companies surveyed received a top grade from their customers for their customer experience.
The problem: Many companies think that they are leading the charge in customer experience innovation, but in reality they are okay with being just “okay.”
This line of satisfied thinking is dangerous. You’ll never be able to convince customers to switch to your company by simply matching the passable service quality of your competitors.
Many prospective customers who are currently with a competitor stay not because they are blown away by what they are paying for, but because their current experience is “good enough.”
Adequate is not something that one should settle for – and customers eventually feel the same way. Any perceived error will cause them to look at your competitors, rather than consider sticking with a company they “love.”
Adequate is never something that one should settle for – and customers eventually feel the same way. Any perceived error will cause them to look at your competitors, rather than consider sticking with a company they “love.”
If “good enough” is what landed the customer in the first place, do you think it’ll be enough to win them over to your business? Of course not! Remember that “okay” is not okay when it comes to delivering an experience that aims to keep customers for life.
Since the majority of companies are failing to deliver when it comes to customer expectations, following “the pack” will likely result in a vicious cycle of the blind leading the blind. Leading the pack means turning your back to them and setting out a new course – both for the betterment of your company and your customers.