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Creating a Great Customer Experience for Competitive Advantage

Key Insights from Kelly Manthey and Solstice

As Chief Strategy officer at Solstice, Kelly Manthey is responsible for the firm’s Digital Strategy consulting practice, along with their new service lines of Internet of Things, Virtual Reality and Robotics practice.  Talk about an exciting job!  I’ve known Kelly and her firm, Solstice, for a number of years, and they are on the leading edge of helping major brands successfully shifting to the digital enterprise.

We were fortunate to learn from Kelly at our fourth annual Technology Innovation & Leadership summit, when she spoke on a topic called, “The Digital Business Innovation: The Four Imperatives.”

One of the four key imperatives is to create a great customer experience, or as Kelly put it:

Your Customer is in control

Here are some key insights from Kelly and her presentation:

First – why bother?  Well, it’s become a very smart business decision to focus on Customer Experience.  According to Gartner, 89% of companies believe that creating a better customer experience is the key to competitive advantage.

Is it true?  Forrester backs it up with a customer experience index report which shows the names of the companies whose revenue is increasing because they surprise and delight their customers and create a better experience.

They show that customers will pay more for a better customer experience.  It doesn’t always have to be a new product, you can also create innovations on existing products or options to customize or personalize products.

So what does this customer experience mean?  To illustrate, Kelly shared three examples of great customer experiences:

Amazon Prime 

“It’s a great digital experience.  I get my stuff tomorrow and it’s easy to return.  It’s very convenient and very easy.”  Kelly showed a slide which showed that Amazon enjoys a 63% conversion rate and only 1% of their prime customers do price comparisons.

Trunk Club

This high-end premium service has personalized shoppers who know you, select clothes for you and ship you the clothes in a trunk.  Kelly explained that the dress she was wearing was a Trunk Club dress.  Her individual shopper selected a few items for her, including the dress, put it in a trunk and shipped it to her just to try it on.  And she loved it.  So she paid a high premium for the dress because it fit perfect, it was already in her closet and the experience was super easy and convenient.  None of that is digital, Kelly explained, but to top it off, Trunk Club does have a terrific app which is digital.  The service is super convenient, super easy and she gladly pays a premium for the great customer experience.

Wealthfront

Wealthfront is a digital only wealth management company targeted towards millennials.  You don’t talk to an adviser.  It’s all in an app.  They grew to over a billion in assets under management in a very short time because they targeted the right customer and gave them a great experience.

How do you create a great customer experience and gain competitive advantage?

Kelly and her team at Solstice recommend integrating agile development with
human-centered design and rapid experimentation.  They’ve actually invented a unique Customer Experience Methodology called cxdd ™.  If you are interested in this area, I would highly recommend you reach out for information.

Thanks to Kelley for great insights on customer experience.

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