I can’t help but chuckle, albeit to myself when I speak to a business owner, manager or sales person who identifies others in their industry as their only or primary source of competition. If you have read this blog for a while you would know that I am an avid believer that our competition comes from far more places than our industry, and further how we are far too often looking in the wrong places when it comes to determining our benchmarks for success.

When it comes to customer experience, your competition is bigger. Much Bigger!

In today’s marketplace your competition for customer experience is everyone. How about that?

Think I’m crazy for saying that? Perhaps, but let me tell you why I think this theory is correct.

Customer experience doesn’t have an industry. It is ubiquitous to consumption in every aspect of our life. And unfortunately the only thing less memorable than a bad customer experience is an average one.

Think about that for a minute. Who do you go out of your way to share a completely average customer experience with?

Whether you are buying a television, shopping for high speed internet service, or looking for a new car, we compare our best service experiences across all industries to the experience we receive during this particular transaction.

Companies like Zappos (now Amazon), Toyota and Apple are setting the bar for experience. Not just in their industries, but in the lives of their customers. And across the globe companies big and small in every market and sector are following suit. These companies are working hard to create experiences that aren’t just good, but memorable.

Now all the consumer expects are high quality products and services at competitive pricing with a customer experience that is memorable. Easy right?

Well, of course it isn’t easy to deliver best of breed across all three of those areas, but you want to know something? The relative simplicity of delivery doesn’t matter, it only matters that you do it. At least if you want to stay competitive. Nike said it right years ago when they coined the phrase…”Just Do It.”

So, am I suggesting that mediocre customer experience is actually worse than a bad customer experience?

Well, yes and no.

In essence, a mediocre experience trumps a bad one every time.

At least when you have a totally mediocre customer experience you never say anything about it. You will provide feedback like, “It was okay” or “Fine.”

Whereas a bad experience will draw a lot more out of you. Details as to why the experience was bad, recommendations as to what could have been done better and of course the metaphoric danger sign urging others not to consume the companies goods/services.

But, ironically, from a branding perspective you are going to spend far more time talking about the bad experience burning the name into the mind of others. And in a highly social world where the motto “All press is good press,” still has a grain of truth, your average experience gets exactly zero press.

The moral here isn’t to shoot for bad because it will yield you more than average. But rather shoot for great because unless you make memories, you will quickly be forgotten.

In this short video we discuss just how forgettable an average customer experience is and why we have to go for great!