The whole is greater than the sum of the parts – a key to Customer retention

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As I travelled to the Olympic Park to see the Paralympic games, I was reading an article in the Economist about the patent wars with Apple. I had just taken a picture on my iPhone, tagged my family members, checked in and then posted on Facebook. This involved GPS, camera, social media, apps, etc. As I sat and reflected on the ease of doing this I thought about the fact that this act involved many different aspects of technology. The genius of a smart phone is bringing these altogether in seamless integration. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

This is just like a Customer Experience but many organizations fail to realise that. They identify something that will improve their experience and then evaluate that individual element and put in metrics to ascertain whether it improves the Customer Experience or not. This is looking at an aspect of a Customer Experience in isolation. It’s similar to looking at GPS with a smart phone. GPS is a handy feature, but when joined with other aspects of the smart phone, apps for example, (Foursquare, Aroundme, etc) it becomes an invaluable tool. Therefore the key word is integration.

Too many organizations look at an aspect of their Customer Experience in isolation. They look at ‘would it improve our Customer Experience if we change our membership card from paper to plastic? Would it improve the experience if we offer a different type of pillow in a hotel’? The danger with this approach is you are looking at aspects of the Customer Experience in isolation, where; like the smart phone the power comes from the whole.

Therefore the key word for the Customer Experience is integration. Integration ties disparate aspects of the Customer Experience to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

The challenge is ‘integration’ and ‘large organizations’ seem to be a contradiction in terms. A lack of integration, especially across channels, is one of the key reasons that experiences are poor. The irony is organizations are obsessed by cost and efficiency savings and do not look at how much money integration could save them as currently there are huge costs incurred by overlaps and gaps in the average experience today.

…… the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts.

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