Every day I work with bold leaders to align the decisions they make and what they do every day to what customers value. Because of this I’m forced to ask this one question at least once a day: “Is your customer experience costing or making you money?” Most don’t know.
Standing dominoes on bank notesWhile there’s an unmistakable link between customer experience and profitability (proven via research and personal experience), too few leaders declare that their customer experience generates money. That’s why I ask a series of questions to help the leader I’m speaking with realize the gaps (or lack thereof) in their customer experience and where to focus. These are my top ten questions:

Who do you serve? Who are the target customers who drive your growth and profitability? Consider your organization’s stakeholders: what do they need from you, and what do you need from them?

What is the problem you solve for your customers? Different than the products or services you sell. To answer this question, consider what burden your clients and customers are relieved of because they do business with you.

What makes you unique? To answer this question, you must understand what your target customers believe are the most important tangible and intangible things about you that are connected to solving their problem. This is a different lens than purely comparing price, features or services from competitor ABC to competitor XYZ.

What position in the marketplace do you occupy? The first three questions are from the customer’s perspective. Here, it’s your turn to define success from YOUR view. To answer this question, you must choose the mountain in the marketplace where you will stand on top.

How do you earn consideration from your prospective customers? How often do you make the short list of solutions your target customer considers? To answer this question, find out where prospects realize they have a need, what path your customer takes to learn about options, and what criteria your customer uses to narrow options.

How do you demonstrate why you’re the best option for them? Here, you must answer their questions. Do you offer a taste, a sample, a view, a glimpse, a test? Do you have demos, simulations and experiments? Are you accessible for them in a way that’s natural to them?

How do you protect your customers as they buy? How do you allow your customers to emerge satisfied and not captive, reinforced and not vulnerable? Do you use what you learned in previous steps? How do you accept customers wherever they feel the greatest convenience and control? How do you affirm their decision?

How do you deliver on your promises? How do your customers apply your solution? Does the design of your product, fulfillment, support and marketing actions align with the customer’s preferred sequence of events? How do you follow up to see if the problem was solved?

How are the voices of your customers, advocates and detractors present in your decision making? How do you see, hear and capture the customer points of view? What do the advocates and detractors say and do?

How do you anticipate your customer’s next need? What emerging needs are the same or new to the needs your company currently solved? If new, can you solve it? Should you? How do you aggregate your customers’ next needs to predict the future demand pipeline?

Did you answer the questions as you went along? If so, how did you do? Were you able articulate answers easily for most and feel confident about it? Did you find some areas to focus on? If not, it’s likely your customer experience does not make you money.