Can Customer Experience Create Sustainable Competitive Advantage?

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Can Customer Experience Create Sustainable Competitive Advantage?
sumit bhattacharya, Director, United States

Amazon sell books (well they started with books)...Zappos sell shoes (well they started with shoes)... Neither make what they sell...
Neither sell anything unique or competitively superior. Yet both dominate their respective business spaces.
From Amazon's cutting-edge analytics and technology enabled customer engagement process to Zappos' fanatical and innovative focus on personalization what becomes abundantly clear is the fact that while products and markets will continue to change, what will always be constant is the leverageable value of customer experience.
That is why it is my submission that customer experience can be a viable enabler of SCA.
The simple fact is that today almost no one has to buy almost anything from one particular source of supply. What is even more significant is the fact that with the rapid percolation of social media the ability of a business to directly attract customers is decreasing exponentially - research shows that about 80% of consumers trust peer recommendations while less than 15% trust adverts, which further amplifies the measureable business impact of customer experience.
While business organizations accept the criticality of customer experiences, two often-faced challenges in implementing an effective customer experience management process are the Definition and Measure of customer experience.
Sometimes people tend to equate Customer Satisfaction with Customer Experience - which of course is inappropriate because C-SAT is a transaction quality related metric while customer experience is measured by enhanced Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) enabled by extended retention and increased wallet-share..



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