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3 Ways to Thrive in a Disruptive Market

AmazonStompTo accurately describe today’s tumultuous and terrifying marketplace, Joseph Schumpeter said it best. But who, you may ask, is Joseph Schumpeter? Well, you may not know the name, but by now everyone is aware (and some of us, acutely) of the phenomenon for which he coined the phrase, “creative destruction” over 75 years ago.

He argued that in a market economy, enterprising individuals and organizations will always find better ways to meet customer needs and expectations, thus destroying the current business models of older organizations. So, how do you make sure your company isn’t the next Blockbuster, Circuit City or Kodak? Here are three ways to start.

Creative Destruction is more than an interesting academic theorem; it’s the hard reality of today’s business environment, where creative innovations mercilessly wreak havoc upon the livelihoods and comfort zones of individuals tied to legacy business systems.

Some businesses may turn to politics and regulations in efforts to slow the demise of their way of life, and sometimes the initial innovative companies, such as Napster, are neutered and/or succumb to these efforts. Other times, hurdles merely slow down the inroads of innovative companies such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb (well, maybe not Uber).

However, the march of creative destruction is relentless and inevitable, guaranteed by the globalization of today’s economy — which is not limited by the politics and regulations of any one country. So how does your company avoid being the next casualty? Research, of course! Well, that, and Customer Service (again with the customer service!).

When software giant Adobe sought research to identify the “single most exciting opportunity for their organization in 2017,” Customer Service emerged as the top answer. With that in mind, and in the face of Amazon and other upstart disrupters popping up every day, the fate of your company is not doomed but rather lies in creating a meaningful experience for your customers.

Here are three effective customer service experiences that will help your clients –and by extension, your company- thrive in a disruptive market:

1. Define the current state of your customer experience

Begin discovering what your customer experience actually looks like from your customer’s point of view. Identify weaknesses in your current experience by talking to customers, conducting surveys and implementing focus groups.

2. Create urgency to design and test new customer experiences

Ideate with your team around the weak spots identified and seek to create a deeper emotional connection with customers. This will drive loyalty. What can your company do to excel at meeting your customer’s needs and wants?

3. Develop a “future state” customer experience roadmap

Take the feedback you’ve received from customers, your employees and the ideas you’ve generated and create an actionable roadmap. Instead of attempting to implement all of your ideas at once, begin with small steps and incorporate a regular evaluation of your investments to ensure your ideas are truly delighting your customers while making a positive impact on your customer experience.

Now, no one is saying this is going to be easy. Creating and delivering experiences to truly delight customers is especially challenging for organizations competing in an increasingly complex marketplace.

But, making that effort to uncover customer experience insights (research!) and convert them into action means your company can thrive on creative destruction instead of being brought down by it.

By: Claudio Garcia; Director at management consultancy group Baker Tilly.

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