What is the right customer experience strategy? My new report on customer experience strategy investigates this question. To give it some context, consider customers’ expectations of Costco versus Apple. Costco customers expect barebones service in return for low prices, while Apple customers expect innovative products at relatively high prices. These firms deliver radically different experiences, yet they both delight customers. Should your company be like Costco or like Apple or something else entirely?

The report uses Michael Porter’s three generic company strategies as a starting point to understand core value propositions that should drive the right customer experience strategy.

In researching the report, Adaptive Path’s VP of Creative Services Brandon Schauer was invaluable in pushing my thinking toward using Michael Porter’s generic strategies as a starting point. He had a couple of powerful insights that I think are worth mentioning:

  1. “For customer experience leaders, the first big hurdle is to discern the organization’s business strategy.” I’ve talked with many firms in the process of changing their company strategy, which creates a moving target that is both a challenge and an opportunity for customer experience leaders.
  2. “A customer experience strategy has to imbue itself at each appropriate activity in the organization.” To illustrate this point, Brandon modified Porter’s classic activity model for IKEA and highlighted in orange those that directly affect the customer experience (see the graphic below). Fabulous, Brandon!! My next report will focus on levers that leaders can pull to infuse customer-centric DNA into the company culture. Strategy is the starting point, but a culture shift is where intent translates to action . . . or not.

We hope this report will provide useful guidance to the majority of companies that have not yet clearly defined a customer experience strategy. We would love to hear about the core elements of your company strategy and how you are translating those into a customer experience strategy. Please share your experiences.

Michael Porter's activity system map adapted (overlayed) with customer experience impact