It’s the customer experience, stupid!

April 13, 2010 / 1 Comment

USPS Box

When President Clinton’s strategist James Carville coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid” in the 1992 presidential campaign, it was recognition that the prevailing leadership (GW v1.0) was not focusing enough on the issue that mattered most to citizens: the economy.

In my opinion, what matters most to today’s online consumers (aside from price, which is rapidly converging) is also something that’s not garnering enough focus or attention from the leadership of the e-commerce community: the customer experience.

Our recent study with Ovum/Datamonitor (The Value of Great Customer Service_The Economic Impact) showed that there’s literally billions of dollars waiting to be earned by companies that are able to master the seemingly simple concept of providing great service. Some sites like Zappos.com, Diapers.com, BlueNile.com and a few others have successfully embraced this mission, but it’s surprising how many large online businesses still do not make the customer experience their #1 priority.

Delivering happiness should be the goal (at least on some level) for all organizations, from non-profits to NGOs to trade groups or government agencies.

Last week, an unlikely name joined the list of organizations moving toward the successful, customer-obsessed model of doing business – the U.S. Postal Service! If the USPS is committing the time, money and resources to improve the customer experience for its 150+ million addressed customers, then no business is exempt from this responsibility.

The USPS recently announced the launch of  “a new measurement system designed to better understand customers’ total experience doing business with USPS at every level of the organization.” Cheers to that.

Consistently measuring, monitoring and understanding the end-to-end customer experience is a must-have initiative for 2010 if it’s not already in action.  While an internally designed and executed program for measuring the customer experience might sound like a good plan, it’s not. The only way senior leadership will ever feel comfortable that they have “on-the-ground insight” into the experiences of customers is if a truly objective third-party conducts the research and analysis. No room for bias. No room for masking weaknesses to save face. Pure and simple data from an independent source tells the story.

To be continued…

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