Every company, without exception, will have its ups and downs. A business crisis is not a matter of ‘if’, it is a matter of ‘when’. A crisis can come out of nowhere and strike without warning. While there is a whole range of crises that can occur, more often than not, they can be resolved with an updated customer experience.
A poor customer experience can hurt the growth of a company and push customers away. But when done well, customer experience can drive sales, engage customers and encourage loyalty.
Here are a few examples from the past few decades of brands that have experienced dramatic turnarounds by focusing on customers and investing in their customer experiences.
The world-renown coffee brand was in a dire situation back in 2008, following the financial crisis. At the time, Starbucks revenue had dropped 30 percent in two years and was forced to close over a thousand stores. To turn things around, CEO Howard Shultz led a re-commitment to technology and community involvement. Starbucks launched “My Starbucks Idea” where customers could contribute suggestions. More than 90,000 ideas were submitted, and more than 100 of them became a reality.
By focusing on customers, Starbucks changed its image from a corporate coffee chain to a community of coffee-loving people. With a renewed focus and improved economy, Starbucks soon began to see strong growth.
Facing growing competition, Australian airline Qantas saw its first billion-dollar loss in 2013. Their solution to this problem was to streamline the company’s operations. The company also started investing in new technology and customer experience strategies. Qantas started offering free Wi-Fi on flights, a rarity in the airline industry even today, and unveiled a faster, streamlined baggage check-in process. Every process of the Qantas customer journey was improved, and the loyal customers that the airline had garnered names it the most trusted large company in Australia and the best business airline for domestic travel.
Tech giant Microsoft gained a reputation for being rigid and hard to work with in the early 2000s, leading to stagnant growth. This lasted until its new CEO led the charge in erecting change from a bureaucratic corporation to an innovative collaborator focused on customers and partnerships. They began tearing down walls and started partnering with B2B companies to share best practices and build new products. It invested in products B2B customers actually wanted, such as a stronger cloud networking system. This shift in focus allowed Microsoft to correct its reputation and is now seen as a trusted and innovative company to its customers and clients.