Disruptive companies change industries. They arrive with new ideas and better ways to deliver service to customers and often experience a period of rapid growth until incumbent companies – or new market entrants – can copy their business model and the model becomes normalised.
Usually there are some casualties, creative destruction as the economists call it. We see this all around with brands like Kodak and Nokia finding that their entire industry had changed around them. Once industry-leaders can quickly become nothing more than a note in the history books if they don’t realise what is happening.
But what does disruption mean for the customer experience? Are disruptive companies managing the customer experience any differently to industry leaders?
I believe there are two key aspects to this debate. First there is the question of approaching the customer experience. Disruptive companies tend to be fast moving and innovative. This often means that they are extremely customer-centric. Interactions with the customer are considered to be an integral part of the business and not part of a “customer service” function as many incumbent organisations are designed.
As an example, look at the Uber website. One single click opens a menu of information for drivers or customers and Uber has adopted several innovative ideas, such as drivers reviewing customers.
The second aspect is around the measurement of the customer experience. Many companies employ surveys or other research methods to determine how the customer experiences their brand, but I am now working with several companies that have discarded traditional research methods entirely. They are using the social buzz to determine what customers think of them, naturally assuming that if customers are happy or annoyed, they will probably talk to friends online.
Both the approach to the customer experience and how it is measured are different in disruptive organisations. The key reason why is that the customer is placed at the heart of what the brand does. Services are designed around the customer. The customer is expected to interact at any point in the lifecycle or a product… in many cases the customers are now helping R&D by requesting their ideal products.
Customers want an experience that connects them to the brand and disruptors understand this. Their companies are designed around the customer experience.
What do you think about the customer experience you have faced with a disruptive organisation? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.
Photo by Julien Gong Min licensed under Creative Commons.