Warren Buffett famously said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” In today’s service economy, customer experiences can make or break a brand’s reputation in seconds via a flurry of re-tweets, shared videos, and hashtags. We value our time as a finite resource and in our connected economy we expect results with speed and efficiency. How your brand respects its consumers’ time shapes their experience and their perception of your business.
We’ve all experienced a situation of mounting frustration when our time is wasted–being placed on lengthy holds, stuck in slow-moving lines, and even waiting for slow-responding websites. Yet businesses only measure time as it relates to how it impacts their own business. What if instead, we focused externally on the most precious and finite resource available–our customer’s time?
If we view our customer’s time as an investment in our brand, how might we operate differently to protect that asset? To help us de-construct and dissect any business strategy that is long on innovation and short on end-user experience, we can coin the term “CX-Coin” to measure how your firm is valuing your customer’s time.
Here are 5 ways you can increase the value of CX-Coin by investing in your customer’s time.
- Analyze the impact of the customer experience on every business decision. It is an oft-repeated axiom that customer service is the result of a bad customer experience. Yet the responsibility of delivering exceptional customer experiences no longer lies with just customer-facing departments. Instead, CX must factor into every investment decision. When a CX-first mindset is embedded into your company’s culture, it has the power to yield substantial financial results by influencing customer attitudes that drive behaviors. With every change to process or technology, consider how it impacts CX-Coin’s “investors.” Does the proposed change yield a definite benefit, neutral, or negative impact on the customer experience? Prototype, test, and validate proposed changes from an outside-in perspective.
- Focus on a holistic view of the customer journey. Customer Journey Mapping is an effective method to review behaviors and attitudes from the customer point of view. When you look at a continuum of interactions, consider how your customer’s time is being spent and how it impacts them individually. Time isn’t just money–it’s a finite and irreplaceable resource that the customer is currently investing in you. If you squander it, that time will be just as surely invested in your competition.
- Proactively deliver value in every moment. Buffett also reminds us that "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." When technology and processes become investments in UX and CX, your brand’s value appreciates in the customer’s portfolio. Innovating from the customer’s point of view will deposit valuable currency into their wallets. Remind yourself often that what you think matters to your customer is worth a nickel. What actually matters to them is worth a dollar. Take the time to understand that disparity by asking your customers what is relevant and essential to them? In the value equation, empathy and listening are always free. When customers are engaged, they are willing to invest time upfront, where it can pay big dividends in the future.
- Incremental, bite-sized innovation can deliver substantial returns. It’s often the small things that yield the highest returns. The path to useful innovation is achieved incrementally. Bite-sized changes that invest in the customer experience compound over time to yield meaningful results. Like the stock market, there will be bullish runs and bearish downturns–both the peaks and the valleys can offer an opportunity. You can invest in fixing problem areas that are costing customers time, or double-down in the places that are already valuable differentiators in your customers’ eyes.
- Improve the ease of doing business with you. It’s human nature–we don’t invest in things we don’t understand (or at least we shouldn’t). Before engaging with you, prospects will do the majority of their research online. They expect personalized experiences and responsiveness. So, design your digital strategy with that buyer’s time in mind. Start with systems that let you innovate faster. By integrating data and systems to anticipate their needs, you can respond more intelligently, proactively, and rapidly. Your customer’s time is precious, so be the brand that’s easy to do business with.
You can inoculate your company against business cycle extremes by investing vigorously in CX across your organization. Be the next market “Unicorn” by issuing your own CX-Coin that signals to your customers a guaranteed return on a resource so precious that it is limitless in value–their time.