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Brian Solis on Five Ways to Get in the Customer Mindset

In today’s hyper competitive marketplace, companies are grappling with how to net as many sales as possible, how to emerge as industry leaders, and how to innovate to attract customers.

And many are struggling to keep up.

In late October, Brian Solis, a futurist and principal analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet Company, stood on stage at NextCon in Scottsdale, Arizona, and delivered a high-energy presentation that spoke truth to business owners about how to be successful in our ever-changing world. 

The answer: focus on the customer experience.

“The future is customer experience, and that experience isn’t built on the things that drive business today,” he told the audience. “How we operate, how we measure success—those things were designed 50-60 years ago. I believe that the foundation of business is dated. We have so much to unlearn to see things in new ways and do things differently.

“It is only when we put ourselves in the mind, body, soul, spirit of the customer that we can make an impact and drive our businesses forward.”

His insights were so powerful that you could hear a pin drop as attendees soaked in new learnings, scribbled down as many notes as possible and typed furiously on their laptops so as not to miss a single word.

Here are just a handful of takeaways from Solis’s speech—make sure to watch to his whole video to learn much more on how to take your business to the next level.

Get out of your work persona

The first step to enhancing your customer’s experience is to truly and authentically take on the mindset of your customer.

“The thing about customer experience that companies seem to miss is that when they’re making decisions about technology or processes, they are not their customers,” said Solis. “They are their companies’ stakeholders, shareholders, executives—everything but the customer.

“When making decisions about what to do for the customer, this is the least empathetic thing possible.”

Embrace the digital reality

It can be hard to believe that we are living in a world where people spend hours on their phones everyday—but we are, said Solis. And the sooner businesses embrace this reality, the better.

“We are not going backwards,” he said. “Behavior changes. I see this as an opportunity to rethink everything, and find out what we can do better and differently to save ourselves from what I like to call a ‘Kodak’ moment.”

The moment he’s referring to goes far beyond Kodak’s botched/delayed entrance into digital photography.

“The real story is that Kodak didn’t recognize how the Kodak moment was evolving as society was evolving,” he said. “When digital photography came out, it completely changed our relationship with memories. It did away with capturing special moments and reliving them in print.”

For the most part, he said, it changed memories into experiences—one of the reasons many of us will take hundreds of photos on our smart phones and never look at them. It isn’t as much about the photo as it is about capturing the moment.

Prioritize every customer touch point

Solis explained that, based on his research, companies can compete based on customer experience alone.

“You don’t have to have a better product or service,” he said, “they will pay more for a better experience. Customer experience is the sum of all engagements in each moment and all the moment together.”

It is everything, he added. If your company has a great website but horrible service, that doesn’t provide a good customer experience.

“Companies must be proactive,” he said. “Failing to understand how customers are changing puts us at risk.”

Know your competitors

Does your company have an app? If so, you’re competing with Google and Apple and Uber and all other companies with apps.

“Those are the companies that create the standards for the user experience,” he said. “If you ask them to do things in other ways, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, for example, you are asking them to conform and stop doing what feels natural and good to do business with you.

“Remember that people vote with their dollars. Focus on the customer experience and your company will thrive.”

About the author

Nicole is the Marketing Communications Manager for Nextiva is passionate about our incredible growth, company culture, and promise of Amazing Service. Outside of marketing, Nicole enjoys cooking easy and healthy recipes, taking care of the office plants, and hanging out with her cat. To get in touch, follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.