As you start your course for 2019, you’re likely focused on the trajectory of your business. Whether your aim is the top of your industry, your niche, or your competitive set, sustaining success and growth over time is often the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs.

Written by Andy Fromm, CEO & Chairman, SMG


One of the main reasons it’s hard to sustain success is that companies often lose their curiosity once they succeed. Curiosity is a business leader’s greatest asset—driving constant innovation and improvement. When building a business, entrepreneurs seek out needs being neglected by competitors and capitalize on those gaps. This is a formula for success. However, only companies that stay curious and maintain relevance will survive.Here’s how to work your curiosity muscle so you can stay at the top.

Let go of the “expert mindset”

What makes you think you know what your customers need better than they do? Without curiosity about what our customers want, we develop blind spots about our business. In order to stay competitive in today’s fast-changing economy, companies need to figure out how to consistently find their blind spots and solve them to create new value for customers.

Ask better questions

The best way to uncover your blind spots is to go right to the source—your customers and employees. By collecting feedback on their experience, you will get a realistic picture of where you are succeeding and where your opportunities lie. Without an official measurement strategy in place, you will miss key insights that can increase loyalty and improve financial performance.Focus on the right thing You’ve asked the questions and received feedback.

Now what?

Take action. Data means nothing if you don’t put it to work. But take the time to plan out your next steps. While customer and employee feedback is imperative to making strategic business decisions, it’s also very important to take a step back, consider the big picture, and avoid a knee-jerk reaction. Because the truth is, you probably can’t fix everything, but you can focus on what will have the biggest impact.Look at every point of the journeyMeasuring customer feedback is a complex process in today’s omnichannel world. Brands are interacting with their customers in a variety of ways—in person, online, through apps and delivery services, etc.—and consumer perception is influenced at every point along the way. It’s important to think about the CX journey over the life cycle of the customer—know what’s driving their satisfaction today and what their expectations are for the future.

Keep experimenting

Even if something feels like it’s working, don’t stop looking for ways to improve. Too often we end up protecting what we have rather than continuing to be curious and pushing ourselves to innovate. Customers want the next new thing—that’s better, faster, more customized. Great companies always look for ways to bring in new ideas to meet the ever-evolving needs of their customers.Remember: what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. Without curiosity, you may fail to see what will work going forward, and what customers want most now. If we accept innovation and change as a requirement, the right path to get to that innovation is curiosity.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Fromm is chairman and CEO of Service Management Group (SMG) —a leading, global CX measurement rm that combines technology and insights for the world’s leading brands, including a host of Fortune 500 companies. Andy co-founded SMG in 1991 to help brands increase profitable sales by driving employee engagement and customer loyalty. Andy has served as an expert contributor in customer experience, employee engagement, and brand research to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company.

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