It is the customer not the company that decides expectations have been exceeded. Extracting and appraising customer feedback at each stage of the consumer journey at both a rational and emotional level is key to gaining insight to where innovation effort should be directed.
Everything is relative. What might be considered extraordinary today will be hygiene factor table stakes tomorrow. Plan for obsolesce and innovate consistently to remain ahead.
Expectations can be shifted overnight by competitor initiatives. Scan for signals of change and market tensions in your own sectors but also across strategic groups and categories. Include market screening for significant competitor partnering, financial tie-ups, cross category senior hires and new brand and product technology acquisitions and patent submissions.
Customer value can be enhanced at any point within the value chain. To optimise effort and resources use targeted customer journey research across your customer segments to highlight where disproportionate customer value benefit can be leveraged.
Watching customer focussed innovations deliver across the business can sometimes encourage senior management to view it as a panacea for poor corporate performance. Managers should be discouraged from viewing customer centricity initiatives as a fix-all strategy tool to resuscitate areas of the business when the source of the problem is unclear.
Sustainable customer centric strategies involve trade-offs. Adding the maximum possible value at each conceivable interaction point might achieve a highly desirable NPS score but will severely dent the company’s profitably. Adding and capturing value must always be considered in tandem with the company’s return on investment targets