Variations of the phrase “innovate or die” have been around for centuries, although Jack V. Matson’s book was one of the first to delve into a philosophy around failing fast. And yet, we continue to see businesses fail because their management failed to anticipate their customer’s future desires.
It is no longer enough to just keep your eye on direct competitors or changes within your specific market and verticals. B2B organizations can learn a lot from the impact of customer empowerment on B2C companies. Uber’s seamless payment experience revolutionized how customers expect to pay for services. Amazon Prime changed the way we shop online. As consumers expect a different way of doing business, they demand you provide it or they will find a company that will.
No market or business, regardless of size or original success, is immune to this business principle. Where is Blockbuster Video? Or MySpace? Kodak? Blackberry was the fastest growing company in 2009, but reported a $4.4 billion loss only four years later. These companies were all known for good customer service and for providing customers with what they wanted. However, they lacked the ability to adapt to changing market conditions and invent new solutions for their customers.
It’s not that executive management did not see big disruptive changes coming. Nor did they lack the resources to address them. They lacked the ability to innovate successfully. They looked to address the challenges within its current organizational structure, which was designed to surmount the challenges of yesterday—not the challenges of the future. It is also no longer enough to simply meet the needs of your customers today. A focus on customer experience is required in order to meet customer retention and customer lifetime value goals.
Jeff Bezos, a tech industry visionary and a leader who has played a major role in reshaping the way our entire commerce system operates, has taken this philosophy to heart. He set out to build the world’s most customer-centric company and did just that with Amazon, one of the most popular and successful companies around today. Perhaps his most relevant and important piece of advice? It’s simple: “Listen to the customer and invent for the customer.”
If you focus all of your customer growth and retention efforts on “delighting” customers what you think customers used to want, you will miss out on opportunities to better serve them in the future. To thrive today and beyond, you must anticipate customer needs and challenges and find innovative ways to solve them, while making doing business with you as seamless as possible.
Your ability to manage customer growth and retention is ultimately dependent on your ability to adapt to ever changing customer expectations and desires. Understanding your customers’ – what they do or don’t do, how they feel, what they want – will help you succeed. Learn more about how implementing a Customer Success solution can help your company grow closer to its customers and grow recurring revenue.