Robert Stephens said, "Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable". He is not wrong, to avoid paying that tax organizations need to focus on creating remarkable customer experiences which create remarkable ROI. Today as I look at the overall retail and service landscape, I see organizations failing to meet customer expectations. The list of storied brands shutting down locations is enormous.
The reasons for this are many: customers can now educate themselves independent of information most in-store representatives provide, a retail store is limited by the brands they offer, while a customer may want alternatives that are available instantly online. The store itself is inconvenient; customers must travel to a location on their own time, often off-route.
Layer on top of this average customer service at best, and it is easy to understand why customers are trying to go direct to brand or heading to e-commerce in ever-increasing numbers. E-commerce continues to grow by double digits annually, taking a bigger and bigger bite out of the retail pie.
It doesn’t have to go this way….Retail isn’t doomed it is just transforming.
If retail is doomed, why would a host of online brands be opening retail stores? Trunk Club, Warby Parker, UNTUCKit and many more online retailers have done so, along with Amazon purchasing 460 Whole Foods stores. What is going on? Is retail dead? Or just bad retail?
From the outside, the answer seems clear: Online brands have always been obsessively focused on the customer experience, and they realize the best customer experience can still be achieved in person as part of an omni-channel ecosystem; this understanding has allowed them to bring their online customer experience mastery into the physical world.
Organizations must map and measure the entire customer journey to understand it from the customer’s point of view.
For organizations to navigate this disruption, there is only one option: Obsessive focus on your customers and the customer journey your organization provides. Organizations must map and measure the entire customer journey to understand it from the customer’s point of view. Only with this understanding, with measurement of all steps in the journey, do brands have an opportunity to improve their customer experience and thus their business results.
The path is clear: Becoming customer-centric = becoming data-centric; becoming customer-centric = being profit-centric.
That is the capacity I seek to help organizations build.
Creating a truly remarkable customer experience has long been known as the competitive advantage that can transform your business results. But how does a business consistently provide this high-quality experience? What are the steps? How is a customer experience initiative measured? How does it improve the bottom line?
Thriving in the Customer Age provides a simple framework with eight key metrics that can be applied and used to measure your customer experience initiative results, tied directly to the bottom line.Learn More
How I have arrived to this point has been a mix of a conventional and unconventional career.
I started as an Initial Attack Forest Fighter and then became a dot com kid from 1998 – 2000 crashing like 99.99 % of all dot com kids from that era. From there I pivoted to a web development marketing agency that provided me the opportunity to serve clients across Western Canada, and as a result of working closely with clients I eventually joined one; Southland Trailer Corp, as a member of the senior management team. That executive position eventually led to my current executive position at Flaman Group of Companies.
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Alongside this traditional path, I have served on many non -profit and NGO boards as well as developed a side career teaching Project Management and professionally speaking on leadership and the customer journey. Additionally, in 2013 I invested in Graphic Intuitions a web development/marketing firm becoming the Managing Director.
...when the businesses I have been leading have struggled, it was always due to a lack of understanding or loss of focus for the customer...
Since the age of 24 I have been in a senior leadership position. Companies I have served have received many awards, the lessons I have learned in my 20+ years of senior management experience are many, but at the end of the day when the businesses I have been leading have struggled, it was always due to a lack of understanding or loss of focus for the customer and customer needs.
Today I am the Executive Vice President of Flaman Group of Companies and Chair of the Board of Flaman Fitness as well as Managing Director of Graphic Intuitions. I am an author, speaker and passionate about helping organizations build customer centric capacity.
When the suit jacket comes off you will find me hanging out with my wife and three kids or from time to time with a bunch of van-life climbers. I have a passion for climbing in all its forms: rock climbing, ice climbing, alpine-style climbing or traditional mountaineering. I have led teams to the tops of many mountains having summitted 50 to date, including 5 of the 7 summits of the world, most notably Mount Everest in 2013. (For more about Everest visit my other site thequestforeverest.com)
I believe the clarity and focus achieved through climbing has had a direct impact on my leadership capacity in business. However, in business, there are some mountains without a top...you just have to keep focused on climbing higher, faster and better.
If you have made it all the way to the bottom of the page, thank you for taking an interest and let's connect!
In "Thriving in the Customer Age", Steve has attacked the customer journey in the same thoughtful and precise way that got him to the top of more than 40 summits, including Everest. He makes us challenge conventional thought and always puts the customer experience at the center, driving and inspiring us to be better.
His Customer Journey Framework is the perfect and smart guide to getting this right. As an executive and in my case a client, Steve is always passionate about getting it right and doing the right thing. Bravo Steve and thank you for this incredible gift.
Shannon Harvard - Vice President at Jim Pattison Broadcast Group