Customer experience strategy and innovation expert Woody Bendle  got all ranted up by yesterday's post. It highlighted the typically annoying customer experience strategy choices by car rental companies to try and aggressively upsell customers. Today, Woody offers his thoughts on what's happening behind the scenes when brands go astray in such ways. Here's Woody!

Customer Experience Strategy - The Universal Purpose of Business by Woody Bendle

Ranting-Woody-Bendle2Mike’s September 16, 2013 Brainzooming post on “Customer Experience Strategy – Annoying Car Rental Questions” really resonated with me.  Why?  Because stuff like that really drives me nuts!

Mike’s car rental experience in Cleveland provides such a clear (and unfortunately, not uncommon) example of a yet another company that has completely lost its way.  Companies like this have sold their soul to the almighty metric and profit gods and are needlessly tossing their valuable customers into the proverbial volcano!

OK, so maybe that was as little dramatic; but in my mind, there aren’t too many things much worse than a horrible customer experience!  When I hear about (or see for myself) experiences such as Mike’s, all I can do is shake my head and think, “Here’s yet another company that has lost sight of its true purpose.”

The Universal Purpose of Business

So here’s the deal, each and every one of us in business essentially has the same universal purpose:

To continuously pursue the creation of value (or utility) for our customers and/or consumers.

I know… this statement will likely get the “well duh!” award from many of you because it is sooooooo obvious.  But, if it is sooooooo obvious, why do sooooooo many companies seem to operate as if their mission is to do exactly the opposite?  Mind boggling isn’t it!  I know each one of you can name at least one company or organization that you feel is only in existence to drive you nuts.

Here’s another way to put this universal purpose of business in perspective.  Can you think of any legal business where this statement won’t work?  I can’t.

We could have all sorts of fun speculating and debating why or how organizations allow (or perhaps even incentivize) such horrible customer experiences; but more likely than not, the real reason will boil down to something along the lines of having a corporate culture that no longer truly lives and breathes the universal purpose of business.

Four Critical Customer Experience Strategy Questions for Customer Value-Driven Organizations

Look, let’s admit it - business is hard; and there is absolutely nothing in the universal purpose of business statement that makes it any easier.  And, if it were easy, you probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much!  But if you want to stay in, and profitably grow your business, do yourself a favor; step back every once in a while and take a good look at all of the different ways your customers interact with your organization and/or brand.  As you are doing this, ask yourself the following four questions:

  1. Is what I’m doing creating value for my customers?
  2. Is it really?
  3. What value am I actually creating?
  4. How might I create even more value for my customers?

The key when you are doing this is to answer these questions from your customers’ perspectives and not your own.  Better yet, find one of your better customers that you really trust, buy them a cup of coffee and let them answer these questions for you!  It might be the most rewarding cup of coffee you’ve had in a long time! Woody Bendle


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