Be careful who you copy


"There has been a steady decline in the scores of leading brands – not necessarily because they are worsening, but because consumers’ expectations of the best experiences are ever escalating...”[1]


The above extract is taken from a recent review of how well brands are delivering their customer experience. It goes on to argue that what was once considered exceptional is now the new normal. As more and more organisations offer a similar level of experience it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out.

This, on the face of it, is great for customers – but how should brands wishing to deliver a competitive (or superior) customer experience proceed when so many are currently bunched up in a ‘pack’ with similar and familiar CX offerings?

Well, we can start with what you shouldn’t do: you shouldn’t look for successful CX strategies out in the wild and try to retrofit them to your business. Apples, as they say, are not pears – and your business is not any other business.

At the heart of this mistake is what we can call the fallacy of customer experience ratings: the mistaken belief that your customers actually care where your brand sits in the rankings. The fallacy is especially egregious when comparing yourself with organisations in totally unrelated sectors.

While it’s certainly true that a customer who experiences fantastic service from a hotel might well start wondering why a utility can’t offer the same level of experience, we need to be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that copying (or even surpassing) what works for a completely different type of business is necessarily the right approach.


Don’t copy tactics, copy outcomes 

The temptation is to see an activity used by another organisation and ask: “How can we execute something similar here.” But that is the wrong question to ask.  A smarter strategy is to ask: “What did Brand X’s customers think and feel as a result of what they did and how could we achieve a similar outcome for our customers?”

The answer – what tactics you need to deploy – will be different for you because your business is different - with different customers, need states and the rest.

Being a leader in customer experience is less about being better than being different – and the best way to be different is to understand how your customer wants to feel when they experience you.


[1] Ignite Growth: Connecting insight to action, 2018 UK Customer Experience Excellence analysis, KPMG Nunwood, November 2018

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