In Augusts issue of Fast Company magazine, Harley Manning wrote and article entitled “Why Customer Experience Is The Only Thing That Matters.” In this article, Manning explains how we have evolved from a manufacturing economy to distribution to the information age to age of the customer.
Manning explains that “from 1900 to 1960 we were in the age of manufacturing. In that era, if you owned the factory, you owned the market.” Products like the Ford Model T, mark this age creating value through mass production and affordability.
“Then from 1960 to 1990 we were in the age of distribution. Businesses globalized, and deregulation and freer trade meant they could manufacture cheaply inAsia.” Companies likeToyota, Procter & Gamble, and Walmart brought value by bringing goods from where they were cheapest to make to local markets.
“Starting in 1990 we entered the age of information. Companies with information-centric products and services thrived, including Amazon and Google, which initiated a power shift from sellers to buyers.”
And now we have entered the age of the customer, where “past sources of competitive advantage have been commoditized: Now every company can tap into global factories and global supply chains. Brand, manufacturing, distribution, and IT are all table stakes. And with online reviews, social networks, and mobile web access, it’s easy for your customers to know as much about your products, services, competitors, and pricing as you do.”
What does this mean to you and your business? We have entered a revolution around the customer experience where only companies that compete on experience will lead their markets. We saw this when Apple entered the phone market, Amazon completely changed e-commerce, and Starbuck changed the way we experience coffee. These experience leaders put determining, developing and delivering the experience at the center of their business strategy.
You, too, can learn how to become an experience maker. There is plenty of information out there now on this. Like this article in Fast Company and books like The Customer Experience Revolution.