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Posted by Paul Hagen on March 15, 2011
Michael Porter famously wrote that companies differentiate themselves by performing a unique set of activities from their competitors' or by performing the same activities differently.
Here are some numbers: 86% of companies say customer experience is a top strategic priority for 2011; 76% seek to differentiate based on customer experience; 46% have a companywide program for improving customer experience currently in place and another 30% are actively considering it; and 52% have a voice of the customer program in place with close to 30% more actively considering it.
With the majority of companies focused on improving customer experience, how can a company expect to differentiate on it? Because there remains a tremendous amount of lip service and intellectual dishonesty about what it takes. Let me give a few examples:
The good news for leaders is that there is plenty of room for differentiation. There are plenty of differentiating experiences to provide that don’t all have to be like Zappos or Ritz Carleton but that make a difference in the eyes of YOUR customers. Differentiate your companies by performing the customer experience activities differently. Understand the magnitude change of an outside-in approach, be intellectually honest in seeking to truly understand (and not game) customer’s perceptions of the experience, and align operations to better deliver value to customers.
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