success can only be
defined by the customer

If you never learn another thing, learn this. It is the one thing that will forever be an unarguable predictor of your success. No matter what type of business or industry. No matter what service or product. No matter how successful (or even unsuccessful) the result. The ultimate predictor of a client's satisfaction (return) will be based on the customer's perception of how or what the "process" of doing business with you may have been. Not your perception, theirs... that is "The Customer Experience."

Clients Will Leave

Clients will defect for these reasons:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Brand
  4. "Shopping"
  5. Satisfaction (this can only be defined by the customer and is actually the number one reason a client leaves)
  6. Convenience/location

While one or more of these reasons may position a client for defection, the switch occurs only when the client believes that his/her experience will be better elsewhere. And there lies the key to wisdom. A client must believe the "experience" with you can't be beaten by your competitors.That you understand his/her needs better than anyone could. To claim this territory, you must understand client "A" is an individual and will have needs different than client "B." Each will define a successful relationship uniquely. Once you understand what each client expects of you, then you can go about the business of creating the positive customer experience. And once you achieve this, business can grow by up to 400%.

and in the online world...

Your "brand" is even more at stake if you fail to create a shopping/service experience that will induce your customer to buy. It is not uncommon for the prospect to actually make a comparison by opening both your site and a competitor's simultaneously. If you don't follow the principle of creating "positive customer experiences," your "competitor is only a click away" never meant more. Here, the process for making a decision through the site must be a "minimalistic" experience in terms of effort. This "minimal effort, maximum satisfaction" defines the customer experience...

When it comes down to it, isn't this the one thing everybody wishes to have in any encounter, to be treated with respect and reverence. Having the choice of doing business with you rewarded by getting what they intended and having it been an easy or positive experience. Though this may be an over-simplification of the process, it is an underestimated and powerful tool.

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