Have you heard of customer experience strategy in the business world? It’s more or less an examination of your customer service process and what kind of experience your customer is having. The ideal scenario is that the customer experience is one that’s unique to your brand and fits in with the style of your business. Unfortunately, far too many businesses don’t think creatively and end up copying a customer service formula that was extremely successful for someone else.
As derivative as that might sound, there’s some advantages to it if you’re still a startup finding your way. The key, though, is to analyze whether using a derivative idea fits your style and to find a path toward being more original.
The Problems of Copying Others
It’s far too easy to see a successful customer service plan in another company and want to use it in your own business. Many businesses do this out of the immediate thought they’ll be successful using the same thing. Later, they find out that it backfires with a negative response, hence costing them customers. That leaves the business scrambling trying to figure out why it happened when it worked seamlessly for so many others.
While businesses can’t be blamed for being too busy to implement original ideas and acquire things that work for others, customer experience strategy can help alleviate these flaws. The first thing it does is show exactly why copying a customer service idea doesn’t work for everybody.
Why Do Some Proven Customer Service Techniques Fail?
The reasons behind a particular technique failing is due simply to it not fitting the brand a business sets for itself. Forrester notes some examples, especially in the popularity of Apple’s genius bars that were copied and failed in other companies, notably Costco. When you set your brand, consistency is what customers expect of you, and anything that shifts it away to make it slightly off is almost always a costly mistake.
This doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t brainstorm for new ideas in creating great customer experiences. Before agreeing to something, though, you have to go back to your main business objective and see if it aligns with your philosophy.
Strategies Worth Considering
Just what is your basic business objective? J.C. Penney found out the hard way when their main business objective of selling high quality clothes at lower prices was altered to fit in with what everybody else was doing. That little change threw the brand off and created a firestorm with loyal customers who’d shopped there for years. The company could have benefited greatly from going back and studying their original brand attributes before committing to any changes on clothing discounts.
An older, established company is particularly vulnerable based on several generations assimilating a particular brand that can easily fall apart with one little tweak. However, for a startup, can experimenting with an existing customer service model be acceptable enough to help them get on the right road?
The Benefit of Developing Ideas Through Experience
Sometimes a startup may not have their brand fully developed while not knowing where to start in approaching superior customer service. Rather than do nothing, taking an idea others have done can at least set a good reputation for the business in the interim as they develop their identity. Mind you, a corporation couldn’t get away with this, though a small business probably can.
The important thing is to mix and match different ideas to your brand identity to see whether a concept would work logically. Sometimes combining two different things will create an innovative concept out of a customer experience idea already existing.
Ultimately, that seems to be how most innovative ideas start, whether in business or anywhere else.