In one of my earlier posts about Webkinz, I mentioned my research on five disruptive customer experience strategies. But I failed to list them out (thanks for those emails). So here they are:
- Ultrasimplicity: stripping away features to better meet the needs of customers. Companies often compete with each other by squeezing new features into their offerings. Over time, this process of “continuous enhancement” can lead to products and services with more capabilities than most customers need. So there’s an opportunity to develop a simplified version of existing offerings. [examples: ING Direct and JetBlue]
- Online infusion: integrating online features into core offerings. The number of US households with broadband more than doubled in the last few years – growing from 20 million in 2003 to almost 45 million in 2005. The increasing willingness of consumers to do things online has outpaced most companies’ online efforts. That’s why there’s an opportunity to disrupt the status quo by designing offerings that natively incorporate online capabilities as part of the core product definition. [examples: Netflix and Disney Mobile]
- Service infusion: integrating service features into core offerings. Companies often think of service independently of the products that they deliver. But customer needs are best met with a strong combination of both. That’s why firms can create a distinct advantage when they blend together product and service offerings. [examples: iPod/iTunes and Panasonic Plasma Concierge program]
- Service amplification: investing in distinctly high levels of service. For many companies, “human” service is viewed as pure cost – putting service capabilities on the chopping block whenever they face cost pressures. With this relentless marketplace squeeze on services, firms can differentiate themselves by bucking the trend and making a significant investment in raising their service levels. [examples: Mandarin Oriental hotels and The Container Store]
- Value repositioning: offering a radically different value proposition. One of the things that Starbucks’ success has taught us is that coffee shops don’t have to compete based solely on their coffee. When companies take a closer at a targeted set of customers, they’ll often find an opportunity to appeal to a different, less obvious set of needs and desires. [examples: Starbucks and Umpqua Bank]
All firms should ask themselves a couple of questions about these strategies:
- Which of these can we use to differentiate our firm?
- Which of these can competitors use to disrupt our business?
The bottom line: It’s better to be disruptive than disrupted!