An age-old business mantra says customer is king and today he really is. The analysts define the socio-economic context we live in as the Era of the customer. The consumer does not simply buy a product, but also calls for an experience, an interaction with the company and the brands. This interaction is made possible by the new digital and mobile technologies, the social media in particular, which also mean that more and more decision making is no longer with the company but with the customers. They are the focus of the shopping experience. Until a few years ago this was fundamentally different: at that time the consumers had to adapt their needs and expectations to the offer and thus to the companies. Today, it is the companies that need to anticipate the needs of consumers in order to have a chance to get in touch with them at all.
Customer Experience bundles all the emotional experiences and the memories that a customer associates with a brand. The so called “customer journey” starts with the dream of a consumer and ends with the purchase decision. This journey is influenced by countless elements at all its stations, including what marketers call “awareness”, “ask” and “advocacy”, all of them affecting and guiding customer experience. The consumer develops an awareness, expresses a need, feels close to products and services that satisfy this need. Expectations of a brand are generated, the customer interacts with it through multiple touchpoints and endless channels. No offers off the shelf, but tailor-made solutions. Customers expect personalized experiences (offers, products on measurements and content), absolutely transparent and accurate conditions (prices, conditions, service changes etc), efficient payments (quick deliveries, real time information) and an instant satisfaction.
There is no doubt that Customer Experience represents the new competitive arena, the first and best way to stand out from the competition being a distinctive asset for the companies, exceeding the structural characteristics of a product, such as quality and price. It is necessary however to dispel the myth that the experience always stands for direct and immediate profit. In a context where customer expectations are rising and competitive pressure increases, it is crucial to understand well how to leverage the economic aspects associated with Customer Experience by investing in those areas where the costs for customer acquisition are surpassed by the profit to be achieved, as well as those who promise a sustainable profit.
When we take a closer look at South Tyrol, we see, that the potential is there yet is still far from having been realized to the full. The challenge is to acquire awareness to translate this great potential into behaviors, processes and new organizational setups.