It’s not a fun word.
As humans, we get comfortable doing things we’ve always done, in the same way we’ve always done. The logic is: if it’s been successful so far, why change it?
Why would you want to become a disruptor?
A digital disruption is defined as one that turns a business upside-down, or on its head. If that isn’t enough, Gartner defines it as “an effect that changes the fundamental expectations and behaviours in a culture… process that is caused by, or expressed through, digital capabilities, channels, or assets.”
It means a transformation — of your business adopting new technologies and strategies to adapt to changing consumer interests.
Nowadays, the companies overthrowing established and incumbent ones aren’t always the ones with great technological advancements or have any technological innovation at all.
If these companies don’t have great technological advancements, then what makes them disruptors?
We’re going to have a moment of bitter truth. Today’s consumers don’t care about your company. They care about how to find easier solutions to their problems. And 40% of companies say that customer experience (or CX) is a top priority during digital transformations.
For examples, take Netflix and Carvana. While they both might maintain cutting-edge technology via the use of AI (artificial intelligence), it’s their innovative approach to making movie-streaming and buying cars a better experience than what customers are previously used to.
There are a thousand ways you can become an experience disruptor, but here are the most overarching ones narrowed down for you.
Measure the Experience, Not Just the Product
Most of us use metrics in order to understand how our products/services are working and where we’re going wrong. But experience disruptors don’t just look at functionality, they look at the experience of using the product too, to gain empathy for their CX.
For example, look at Uber. The ride-sharing app looked at every possible angle in the taxi industry to identify almost every painful point a customer experienced; this included rude drivers, lack of cash or working card machine, to waiting in long queues for a taxi. Then they created a seamless app to organise and pay for a ride, but a big part of their success was the customer support system.
The Two-Way Street of Trust
It isn’t just customers who should trust your brand, but you need to put some faith in them too. Marketing in a way that empowers and gives freedom to your audience can be done via cross-channel marketing. It efficiently presents your brand and inspires trust for clients to engage with you, whenever they’re ready.
For example, Airbnb’s entrance to the hospitality sector in 2008 hit incumbent companies like JW Marriott hard. Its idea to eradicate paperwork and the booking system by pairing technology and social feedback made the CX incredibly easy, and they’ve even introduced Airbnb Experiences.
Allow Cancellations and Returns
Some of the fastest-growing startups in their bid to make CX even better, allow for seamless (and free) cancellation and return policies. A smart trick for brand products is, instead of asking customers to return products, give them away to one of your charities or to a friend. That way, you might even make a new customer.
No More Middlemen
Sometimes, it’s good to have your finger in every pie. Experience disruptors own both the CX and the channel that delivers it; direct-to-consumer. A big part of creating a better experience is the ability to influence every aspect of it.
For example, on the B2B side of things, a company like WeWork doesn’t need you to sign up for them through a commercial real estate broker. You get WeWork, from WeWork.
Personalisation is the key to disruption.
The aim is to make the purchasing process easier for your clients. That means faster, better, and easier access. It’s important to remember that each client is unique, and we can’t always represent this in a few generalised descriptions of our target audience. Instead, use the massive available data to create a digital experience crafted for one person.
If personalisation is the key to disruption, data and automation are the key to using it effectively. Automation + no data = spam. You need to provide enough value to your client that they’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason not to give you more information about themselves, and you can further optimise their experience with it.
Challenge yourself. Challenge your company.
History isn’t written about average companies and experiences. Fortunately for you, once you’ve gotten the hang of CX and the shifts necessary to change the way “you’ve always done things”, a new way of doing it starts to automatically emerge. It doesn’t have to be growing well vs growing fast, or investors vs customers. More investment in customers means more rewards to your investors.
The faster you grow, the better you grow. More great CX, more great products.
For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the mere idea of digital transformation and disruptions can send a chill through people, but with the right intent and strategy, you can pull it off.
Originally published on and written for Digital Odyssey.