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In today's competitive marketplace, great customer experience is a key differentiating factor and companies that put the customer first consistently outperform their competitors. The challenge is building an organisation that can deliver the customer experience of tomorrow.

Exceeding your customer's expectations is a key differentiating factor. But there's a catch: as consumers, our expectations are constantly rising. 

"When you engage with your bank or walk into your supermarket, you have an expectation as a consumer about what is a good experience. That expectation could be set by whatever check-in experience you had at a hotel or an online transaction with a bank" says Nathan Beaver from KPMG's London-based Customer & Digital team. 

Beaver and his team help companies with customercentric strategy and transformation. In today's world, putting the customer first is crucial to staying competitive, he says.

"The bar of expectations is only moving one way. There's no point investing in being behind that curve, because ultimately it won't differentiate you in the market. You'll have to catch up eventually, and the further you are from that level the more it will cost you to catch up later," Beaver explains.

"That's why you have to think about what tomorrow's experience will look like and deliver that today."

Get ready for the future

Beaver and his team have devised ways of defining and measuring this. Through more than a decade of research, the main elements of a great customer experience have been codified into "The Six Pillars", which include concepts such as personalisation (understanding the customer's unique situation), integrity (being trustworthy and staying true to the organisation's values) and resolution (responding to and fixing problems).

"We have found that organisations that deliver well on these six pillars consistently outperform the market, the sector and their peers," Beaver notes.

When you engage with your bank or walk into your supermarket, you have an expectation as a consumer about what is a good experience. That expectation could be set by whatever check-in experience you had at a hotel or an online transaction with a bank.

Nathan Beaver

Too often companies approach their customer journey from their own point of view. Beaver says it should be the other way around: start with the customer. Understand the different customer segments and personalities, their needs and behaviours and attitudes.

"While designing a great customer experience, the organisation must also be capable of delivering it," notes Senior Manager Kristian Backman from KPMG's Helsinki office. He is the head of Enterprise Design Services, a novel approach that couples enterprise architecture, business design and infor-mation management into a comprehensive service offering.

Often organisations are not geared toward delivering the best possible customer experience out of the gate. Backman lists fragmented digital infrastructure, lack of alignment between front, middle and back office functions, poorly designed customer journey or any number of other issues may be hurting the customer experience. 

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Welcome to the sustainable way of life, where the future customer experience, sustainable competitive edge and green economy all become integral parts of our thinking. We wish you enjoy and get inspired from our new edition of View!