This content was previously published on Fortune.com.
To know what's driving customer experience today, look past Amazon and Zappos to Uber. It is what consumers consider "awesome." It's also what they expect from all companies, whether that company is a startup or a legacy brand.
In a speech last summer, Jim Bush, EVP, World Service, at American Express, offered a powerful insight: Customers measure their service experiences across industries.
"It's no longer good enough to be the best in a particular industry," he said. "You need to be the best in the world, because the customer measures it, benchmarking their lifestyle and their life experiences."
Uber exists at the high end of today's customer experience scale. Uber is more than its app. It's awesome because the organizational structure and processes behind that app are synced completely around the customer.
You tap, get to your destination, and leave with the receipt neatly in your email. No hailing, no waiting to pay, and no tiny receipt. It's perfect. Today's users demand perfect.
If Uber is the benchmark and you're charged with customer experience for a complex, global organization, you know you can't start from scratch. But you can recalibrate your organization to think, as Accenture phrases it, "from the outside in"— designing everything around the customer.
Some global companies are creating their own interpretation of frictionless experiences for their customers. Here's some of their smart thinking.
- Start at the top. From the CEO to executive steering committees, the emphasis on customer experience starts at the top. Increasingly, specific customer relationship metrics drive it. American Express is doing remarkable work focusing on customer care, which is tripling satisfaction scores in the process.
- Think first customer, not customer first. Enterprises are increasingly creating chief customer officer roles or expanding the purview of the CMO. The goals are to ensure that customers have an advocate and that the company has someone to keep it honest. This is part of a new mind-set to go beyond "customer first" and to treat each customer as if she were your first.
- Look outside your walls. Examine tenured best practice service brands, such as American Express, and native digital disruptors, such as PayPal and Amazon, to see how they're organizing their teams and solving problems. Ask what technology is driving evolution.
It's the start of creating your enterprise's version of "awesome."