Few months ago, I was watching a movie on Amazon’s Video Streaming Service. My Roku seemed to have some issues streaming the last 15 gripping minutes of the movie properly. After several attempts, I switched to a laptop and completed watching the movie later that day. Granted, that was not a great customer experience, but I wasn’t going to ask for my money back — first world problems! The next day, I was delighted to receive an email from Amazon apologizing for the inconvenience and offering a refund. This is just a simple example of the unfair advantage digital natives like Amazon and Netflix have over their traditional brick-and-mortar competitors — that is, if they’re still around!
With digital access to most of the customer journey, these digital disruptors can better understand what their customers value, serve up more compelling products and services and service customer complaints before they’re even raised. We’re seeing how these digital business models are effective in not only capturing larger shares of customer wallets and minds, but also in running a lean operation that mitigates risks around market demand.
Gartner predicts that by 2017, 89% of large firms will focus on delivering a differentiated customer experience to win over and retain customers. Customer Intimacy has been, for long, one of three popular models firms could use to strategically think about building competitive advantage. Are we at a point in time, where more businesses will invariably need to skew towards customer intimacy to stay relevant?
While technology can certainly help enable a transformation, the leaders in this race recognize that it’s not just about upping the digital mojo, and that they are up for a rethink of the entire business model. They see only two options – to disrupt or to get disrupted.