I’m an AT&T wireless customer.
The date hasn’t been announced, and the rumors haven’t been officially confirmed, but it seems pretty obvious that at least Verizon (and maybe more wireless companies) are going to be selling iPhones in the next couple of months or so, ending AT&T’s monopoly with the device.
So, here’s an important question: If you are an existing iPhone customer…and could have an iPhone on a network other than AT&T’s…would you?
Why is that question so important? It tackles the challenges that most organizations face today — the magical mix of performance and experience.
Because many of us have had challenges with the performance of AT&T’s network, (especially in New York City and San Francisco, as AT&T openly acknowledges) we might be disappointed with our choice of carrier in that regard. However, it is difficult to find a customer of ANY provider who hasn’t had problems with dropped calls, making it easy to imagine that if there is explosive growth of demand on Verizon’s network as new iPhone customers migrate there (and existing customers of Verizon switch to an iPhone and increase their usage), technical challenges could possibly occur on their network, as well.
So, it leads to this: Has the experience you have had as a customer of AT&T been so compelling and engaging, you wouldn’t move your account anywhere else — even for the same phone?
And, there is the essence of why the customer experience is so important. Whatever your product advantage may be, it isn’t eternal.
This is NOT, in any manner, a criticism of AT&T! I’m suggesting what they are facing is highly instructive for all of us in our varied organizations. You might have the “iPhone” of your industry now…but, it doesn’t mean you will forever. However, you can leverage your product superiority into developing relationships that will endure — even when your exclusivity erodes.
Let’s face it, I wouldn’t know the doctor at any of the locations…I assumed the x-ray machines would be the same…the end result would be hopefully equivalent…the treatment specifics would probably be highly similar…there was just ONE ASPECT that made one facility get my business…the customer experience they had delivered to me on a previous occasion at their hospital.
Does your business deliver such a powerful experience that customers would stay put, even if you lost product exclusivity?
Do you create such a compelling connection, a customer would drive by comparable competition, just to do business with you?