Customer Experience: The Most Important Competitive Differentiator?

15th December 2020

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Our Managing Director, Adam Turton, took time out to explain the importance of Customer Experience and what it means to him and Elite Group as a whole.

 

Our Managing Director, Adam Turton, took time out to explain the importance of Customer Experience and what it means to him and Elite Group as a whole.
 

More than ever, people are asking ‘what is customer experience?’.  Search for a definition online if you wish, but because it can mean different things to different people and different organisations, you could become lost in the plethora of offerings.

What is certain is that everyone seems desperate to get on the bandwagon of trying to encapsulate what customer experience actually means in order for their business or organisation to start reaping its benefits and emerge from this period of global crisis stronger.

In essence, I believe customer experience is the overall impression you have of any organisation you choose to do business with.  We must never forget that customers do have a choice and we’ve all heard the old adage that first impressions count and consequently they can choose to place their business elsewhere…

Business managers and owners therefore have to ensure that a customer or client has a good experience from the beginning of their customer journey right to the end, or you risk losing their business forever.

At Elite Group, we take that concept one step further as we believe that, right now, customer experience is the key differentiator in business.  We are operating in a world where products and services are becoming increasingly commoditised.  Certainly, this is the case within the highly competitive and crowded ICT sector within which we operate at Elite Group.  There is a huge amount of research to suggest that by the end of 2020, customer experience will have overtaken both price and product as the key brand differentiator.  Research also suggests that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Logically, in this world where products and services are becoming increasingly commoditised, the biggest scope for differentiation is in delivering great customer experience.

In the current competitive climate, I strongly believe that businesses that are genuinely critiquing their operating models and the way in which they provide services to customers – systematically deconstructing customer journeys and reviewing customer touch points with a view to optimising end-to-end customer experience – are the ones that are going to win within their respective markets.

At Elite Group, we view customer service and customer experience as our number one priority and the single biggest focus for our organisation from the top down.  We view customer experience and bringing real value to customers as everybody’s responsibility and as an organisation we are very much driven by keeping customers happy.

We recognise the importance of good customer service and investing in customer experience is a key part of our strategy in terms of winning the loyalty of today’s discerning – some would say – demanding customers.

Happy customers rarely leave and crucially they turn to us as a trusted partner for all their technology and communications solutions which can help their businesses run more effectively, efficiently and securely.  This in turn gives them the confidence to take the all-important next step to invest in more of our services and products.  Importantly, they also tell their colleagues and friends about the great experience that they’ve had with us.  All of this great service and positive experience drives new business in terms of sales referrals and means success for us as a team and as a company.

Also, we must never forget that at the most fundamental level, it is our customers and the revenues attached to customers that fuel business growth, business investment and enterprise value.

As mentioned, I think ‘good’ customer experience can mean lots of different things to lots of different people.  We’ve all had experiences as consumers when we’ve been on the receiving end of both good and bad service, which again points to why customer experience is so important, because – good or bad – you remember and form a judgement and a perception that becomes reality in the eyes of the customer.

Summarising what good customer service means to me and Elite Group is easy as it can be summed up in a nutshell as being easy to do business with.  A statement which trips easily off the tongue, is simple and straightforward.  Admittedly, in reality, it is more difficult to achieve consistently and at scale.

However, in the context of the challenges posed to businesses during 2020 and also the effects of digital transformation and digital disruption – where products and services are readily available on demand – for me, it has never been more urgent for great customer experience to become priority.

The customer experience at Elite Group has and continues to evolve massively.  Our history as a business is founded on an almost obsessive pursuit of growth and although this approach absolutely served us well in our earlier years as a tech start-up, this approach is not always conducive to delivering a sustainable and great customer experience.

Undoubtedly, Elite has evolved over time in order to adapt to changes in the market, changes in technology, but fundamentally in order to adapt to changes in the needs of our customers.  The business really has made a material, cultural and organisational shift to the point where the customer and the needs of the customer are very much at the heart of everything we do.

We have appointed a Director of Customer Experience who is responsible for leading the development and execution of our customer experience strategy.  Customer feedback is the top driver of our customer experience strategy and we have implemented a ‘Voice of Customer Programme’ which provides our customers with a platform and a voice to provide structured feedback with both CSAT (customer satisfaction) and NPS (net promotor score) being adopted as customer loyalty metrics helping to measure and drive customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, great customer experience is borne out of removing hassle and friction for customers and ensuring we are easy to do business with.  That’s why a key objective for Elite Group is to be the easiest service provider to do business with, within our sector.  All these factors form the foundation of our strategy to help us to continually shape our business and to also continually improve the levels of service that we deliver to our customers.