Thursday, April 05, 2007

In-Stock Re-Defined, and the "Experience Chain"

Saw a very interesting article today that spurred some thinking (again... for the three or four of you that read this thing that should come as no surprise ;-)

The article is from those really smart folks over at Knowledge@Wharton (you might have heard of Wharton???). It talks about that consumer's definition of what it "in stock" has really changed dramatically, thanks to the advent of strong multi-channel seamlessly integrated retailers. In a nutshell... "in stock" no longer means "on the store shelves" but rather "somewhere in your enterprise." It is the experience that I was driving the powers that be towards at FamousFootwear when I was there, and it is the experience that consumers are starting to expect and get delivered to them by leaders such as Circuit City, Best Buy to name but a few.

The article goes on to point out that the weakest link in the success of this experience might be the employee they talk to at the store. If your person on the front lines doesn't know how to use the tools at their disposal to meet the customer's demands... your can STILL fail the customer's expectations. It is a great article and I commend it to you. However, it also got me thinking about a new concept; "The Experience Chain"

As I've said before, this superior customer experience, no matter what service you provide or goods you sell... is EXPECTED to be in the DNA of your organization at this point. Without it, your customer has too many choices and too much power for your organization to continue to succeed. Today's customer has Demandments according to one of the people I admire a lot Kelly Mooney at Resource Interactive. The customer's Customer Satisfaction as measured by ForeSee and the American Customer Satisfaction Index has a DIRECT correlation to the performance of an organization.

Your organization will meet these expectations only if your "Experience Chain" is humming along with the same efficiency as your "supply chain" or your "operational chain." If it isn't, your going to miss your "mark" with your organization's goals. In short, you could really look at all of your business functions, as part of your "Experience Chain." I'm going to better define this... what it includes, etc. but for now, here's my first crack at a definition:
"The Experience Chain: The sum of all your organization's strategies and activities, that provide your customer(s) with a superior customer experience."
Remember, the phrase "The Experience Chain." I'll be writing more about it soon.

Got any thoughts? Love to hear them. MEEBOME or comment.

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