In order to demonstrate the value of something, or understand its meaning, we often seek insight from prominent leaders. In customer experience (CX), this is no different – we turn to subject matter experts, analysts, influencers, top brands, and even famous figures throughout history, and we use their words to become smarter ourselves. A few examples:
Most of us would agree that these people are smart. Is that why we listen to them?
Intelligence is abstract – the one means for measure we have, IQ, is fundamentally flawed; when told that many people believe he is the most intelligent human being in the world, Stephen Hawking responded, “I would never claim this. People who boast about their IQ are losers.” Yet we look at these frequently quoted folks and revere them for demonstrating intelligence through their various accomplishments, innovations, and creativity.
But there is something else these distinguished fellows share – credibility. Credibility has two key components: trustworthiness and expertise.
Trustworthiness + Expertise = Credibility
The first constant – Trust:
Customers won’t repeatedly open their wallet for a merchant they don’t trust, nor will they advise their friends to try something they didn’t like themselves.
The second constant – Expertise:
Buyers want to go somewhere that is known to have the best of whatever it is they’re looking for. Perhaps the buyer needs a new high-tech watch, or a laptop, or the latest and greatest cell phone. Where might he or she go?
He could think different, or do what I would do, and go to Apple. Apple ranked at the top of almost every list of brands with the most loyal customers in 2016. If I were to write a letter to Apple, it might sound something like this:
I love your products. The user experience is phenomenal. The aesthetics are spot on every time. So much so that I don’t care when your software updates crash my phone, or that my screen has shattered upwards of 20 times, or that I can never seem to back up to iCloud, or that new products are released so often that my device quickly becomes obsolete. Keep doing your thing, I will keep setting money on fire for you.
There’s a reason why Apple is one of the top favorite brands among millennials. They are viewed by many as experts – with cutting-edge, sleek, and smart technology. I trust the product; it’s myself I don’t trust – I’m the one breaking all the phones and spilling water on my laptop. And above all, they are viewed as one of the most credible providers of consumer technology. Customer experience is best when all three of these traits coexist, creating an ecosystem where existing customers thrive and prospects – eager to join – have a strong first impression.
Steve Jobs knew, as Louis XIV did 300 years before, that the customer is the root of all future success.
Just as we instinctively regard certain quotes as important based on the name that follows, loyal customers come to do the same with credible brands. Apple could put their logo on a ballpoint pen and it would be the smartest iPen the world had ever seen. While Steve Jobs probably was a smart guy, his decades of consistently delivering innovative, avant-garde technology established remarkable credibility and created some of the most loyal customers.
So, whether or not those who we often quote are categorically “intelligent”, their credibility leads us to perceive them as such – a concept that is critical to great customer experience.
It is a tireless pursuit to be regarded as highly as a company like Apple, but through every effort remember: everything starts with the customer.
Views and opinions expressed by the author belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.