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Week 9, 2020

Customer Experience: Relevant, Different, and Ubiquitous

Photo by Juan Pablo Donadías on Unsplash

Each week I share three ideas for how to make work better. And this week, those ideas are qualities of great Customer Experience (CX).

Why am I writing about this? In last week’s address at the MarketingOops! Summit, I referenced research from Google and Kantar suggesting that each Google Search fulfills at least one of six customer needs. I made the remark that you too should know what needs your organization fulfills.

Here’s why:

1. Relevant

You are nothing if you’re not relevant. And you become relevant if and when customers perceive the products and services you provide as able to fulfill their particular needs. And the more specific those needs are, the more relevant you become. That is why you should know what needs your organization fulfills. Those needs are the foundation — the bedrock — atop which your CX is built.

For more on how to define customer needs, check out this article on User Need Statements from the Nielsen Norman Group.

2. Different

Being relevant is important. It makes you eligible to compete. But to win, you must also be differentiated. And you become differentiated if your customers can distinguish your products and services from those of other companies. And the easier they are to distinguish, the more differentiated you become. In short, you need to allow customers to express themselves by choosing your products and services.

For more on this, try Marty Neumeier’s Onliness Statement. It’ll force you to be explicit about your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

3. Ubiquitous

Positioning exists at the crossroads of relevance and differentiation. And to be well positioned, you need to maximize both. And the best way to do that is the tailor your CX in such a way that it reinforces your position in each and every step of the customer journey. That’s how great experiences are made. And it all starts with a solid understanding of your customer needs.

For more on positioning, I recommend Tim Williams’ book Positioning for Professionals. Bland title notwithstanding, the book packs a punch.

Google registered 2 trillion search queries in 2019 (see link above). And they were able to categorize them all into at least one of six customer needs — each one associated with a unique search behavior. Six! From two trillion queries down to six — six! — customer needs.

How many needs does your organization cater too? Probably more than six, right? That’s a problem. Because if you want your CX to be relevant, different, and ubiquitous, you need to specialize. You need to focus. Anything else means you’re setting yourself up for failure. As Williams writes:

Imagine a sculptor not willing to risk chipping away enough of the marble to reveal the detail of what makes a beautiful human form. This is similar to the behaviors of companies not willing to articulate a clearly defined strategy. This is because they perceive “general” to be less risky than “specific”. But the exact opposite is true…If you try to simultaneously appeal to the high end and the low end of the market, guess where you end up? In the “mushy middle,” where you appeal to no market.

The mushy middle is neither relevant, differentiated, or ubiquitous. It’s just bland. And bland does not make great experiences.

That’s all for this week.

Until next time, stay calm.




WorkMatters is a weekly newsletter on and about the future of work. It’s written and curated by Andreas Holmer.

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Andreas Holmer

Andreas Holmer

Designer, reader, writer. Sensemaker. Management thinker. CEO at MAQE — a digital consulting firm in Bangkok, Thailand.

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