Service Is NOT The Customer Experience

After just returning from the #ALSD2013 annual conference, I wanted to provide our point-of-view on one of the trends discussed, that being how Service is the Customer Experience. While we may be getting granular, we think that this definition is holding back the sports industry from really engaging with the customer on a personal, more intimate level.

There is no question that people, whether working with or tapping into technology, drive the Customer Experience. But Service should not be your employee’s point of engagement with your customers. Is basic operational performance considered Service? Is excellent operational performance considered Service? Clearly these are 2 different things, but does it matter from a strategic perspective?

Service is one component that typically becomes relevant when the Experience is not living up to expectations. We believe this is fundamentally true because Service by its nature tends to be responsive. We must wait for the customer to take action first before we can act, thus Service for the most part is REACTIVE. So is the difference between basic and excellent service a matter of speed and accuracy of fulfilling the customer’s request? For us, this is not enough.

The future of delivering a Awesome Customer Experience is grounded in ultimately knowing the individual customer (singular), and what each customer wants and desires. When we begin to understand the wants, needs and desires of individual customers, we can begin to anticipate and become PROACTIVE in our engagement.

In order to know what our customer’s want, we typically deploy 2 methods of understanding: 1. Ask the customer what they want (qualitative), 2. Know what action the customer takes (behavioral). The best picture deploys both methods. Without this knowledge, we cannot become proactive in our customer engagement.

Fundamental to behavioral understanding is deep and robust insight into what the customer has purchased in the past. This customer-centered purchase data provides visibility and understanding about customer action, and provides a platform for real-time, proactive engagement.