Real customer advocacy requires more than “working” IT solutions.
I am very fortunate to venture far and wide on behalf of the company I work for to digest new ideas and concepts that we may subsequently embrace and take to market. It takes me up and down the UK, across Europe (and before you comment I know the UK is in Europe but bear with me for now) and to the USA. The most recent “road trip” was back to Vegas for the Citrix Systems annual partner summit and partner council. I may touch on a few of the Citrix high notes within another scribble but my main take away was the passion, emotion and single mindedness the Citrix team radiated in their pursuit of delivering a truly positive customer experience. Everything throughout the event was formatted to ensure all attendees “got the message”, that a positive customer experience is everything.
But through it all a point continued to chip away at me from within. Quite simply, in the IT systems integration world we may need to rethink and execute differently to really change the game. Thirty years of “right first time deployment”, project governance, best practices, et al are aligned in the main to achieve a primary objective “to minimise deployment risk”. And as an underpinning customer satisfaction element, risk mitigation is a core and critical component. But used as the main yardstick of success it can miss the opportunity to ignite real emotion, passion and advocacy where the beneficiary of the service feels a “eureka” moment from the solution deployed and links it explicitly to a positive personal experience.
You may deem this quite deep and cryptic but I hope it highlights the need to translate and calibrate key elements of the consumer style “experience” for use within enterprise IT solution sales and service delivery. We work tirelessly to document successful engagements via customer references but many lack that “special something” that will ensure a future next reader of such reference or solution summary emotionally decides “I want that too”. Just imagine the power of such an experience with the ability to create and maintain true customer advocacy in a manner few other activities can.
I will close by recalling with a smile my last memory of such a “consumer style experience” when I was leaving Las Vegas. It was within a hotel synonymous with “customer delight” due to it being one of the primary crusades of the owner, Steve Wynn. As I left the Wynn hotel in the Las Vegas strip I struggled with my oversized cases towards the exit door (I am famed for having way too many computers, iPads, cameras, other tech devices, a nuclear reactor, et al) quite an elderly employee who was manning the machine cleaning the marble floor saw me walking (and bag wrestling) towards the door. He left his machine, pressed a button on the side, the doors opened and as I passed through, he said “I hope you enjoyed your time at the Wynn, it was a pleasure to have you here. Make sure you come back and see us again the next time you are here and have a fantastic day”.
As I said thank you and walked through the door, I turned and looked back at him and decided that I would definitely return again. And whilst I have always blazed the customer satisfaction trail, my experiences with Citrix and at the Wynn this week has left me pondering ways to seek that “special something” for the customers I engage with as we journey through 2015 and beyond. Just making things work may be good enough but not enough.
Until next time