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Editor's Desk CX Strategy

From the Trenches: Making Better Decisions About New Technologies

When new technology comes along, there’s often new opportunities for building or adapting your customer experience.

So how does your team go about deciding how to approach that new platform?

What’s the starting point — the center or pivot point that you start from in making decisions?

It’s a challenge that needs to be met — and one that many companies get wrong — and it hurts their growth significantly.


Andrew Nusca wrote a great piece for ZDNet’s Between the Lines, reporting from the shop.org conference (link below). He looks at a panel discussion among leading retailers executives about the need for responsive web design in this new world of pervasive smartphones and tablets.

The panel participants come at the question from different angles but Nusca ties it together with a core conclusion that responsive design isn’t always the best fit because it should be driven on a narrow mobile only strategy rather than a desire to be cross-platform ready with a single web presence.


Taking a Wider View

That got me thinking about a number of discussions I have had recently with executives of companies I’m involved with in some capacity. Questions about which opportunities to adapt to come up often — and it highlights that many companies don’t have the right foundational framework for making those decisions.

So what is that foundational framework? The first thing is always figuring out your pivot point — what do you center around — ie. what vantage point (in a business sense) do you look at the question from?


Pivot Around the Customer

The best answer for any business is to always pivot around the customer — their perspective should always dominate the discussion first. That may seem counterintuitive at first but if the goal is to only pursue high investment initiatives which have ROI ‘written all over them’ then having a clear sense that customers will value it is a critical first step.

It easy to get caught up in the company centric (or worse individual executive centric) perspective, where the internal view is ‘we want to be a responsive web environment company’. But the real question is: do your customers (or atleast a big enough subsegment of your customers) want you to be?


The typical mistake companies make

Companies aren’t entirely without customer centricity in their thinking. But what happens is a customer centric start veers off course and suddenly swings back to a company centric view.

Take the example of an CRM company that I was advising on its mobile strategy. The concept of building a mobile app originated from some customer research which pointed to a strong need for on-the-go access to data. That led to an internal product team to be formed — charged with creating the product plan with detailed specifications as a precursor to full budget approval and management go ahead.

Before the second meeting, the whole program had been hijacked by one IT leader whose personal desire to lead the transformation of the company into a ‘mobile powerhouse’ took the product specification in different and very costly direction. That led the CEO to look for outside help in getting the plan back on track and within budget realities.

My first meeting with the team centred on 1 thing: getting back aligned around the customer. It was a bit of a step back for the team but the reality was it was needed — for the long term viability of the project.


Success depends on the customer

Getting back to the main point, your company only wins when investments deliver ROI. And that ROI depends on the customer fully accepting and paying for what you’re adding to your product or service mix.

As Nusca points out in his article, responsive design may feel like a cool innovation for a company but customers may be more satisfied with a more focused mobile app.

With this and any ‘opportunistic initiative’ (especially those driven by technological platform innovations like the smartphone or tablet), keeping the customer at the centre is the absolute key to success. In many cases, ‘less is more’ with a more focused offerings on mobile that address a key narrow customer requirement being a bigger success than a full transplant of your entire online presence to mobile.

Nov 27, 2013 | Original Link
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