We are living in a world of change. Competition is engaging in price wars, customers expect more for their dollars. Businesses can no longer be in the business of selling products and services—you must be selling a “customer experience.” According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek Research Services “a customer experience is not one thing but many: It is the practical and emotional manifestation of how a company delivers on the promise it makes to its customers through … every direct and indirect customer encounter a company has across all its customer or enterprise functions.”

Ultimately, your business exists to do two things:

• Attract customers

• Satisfy customers

If your business doesn’t perform these two fundamental functions, it doesn’t matter how well you do anything else.

What are your points of “value?”

• What is the promise that you’re communicating to your customers in your message?

• Can customers trust that you will fulfill that message to the best of your ability?

• What expectations will they have when they come to you?

• Are you listening so you can identify their problem?

• Do you treat customers as you would like to be treated?

Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services again found, that the companies which stand out in creating the customer experience believe that by focusing on customer value,”they can become more profitable and sustain these profits longer than the competition”.

Many companies now ask customers to call or go online and answer survey questions about their experience, others use secret shoppers. Do some inspecting of your own; look at your business with a set of fresh eyes – the eyes of your customers. What do they see? Walk through each step of their experience as if you were a new customer – from the initial visit to your website, to the time they leave your store or office. A great way to organize this is to create a checklist of every customer touch point. Make notes of each step in the process. Does their experience make you stand out from your competition? Are they apt to spend more, pay higher prices and recommend your company because they have become loyal and emotionally connected to you?

The Challenge: Strive to develop loyal, engaged advocates who would not even consider a competitor, because they trust you.