What I understand about hockey could fit into a thimble, but there's one Wayne Gretzky quote that has stayed with me since I first heard it: "A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." That's advice so profound that it transcends sports. It's applicable to many aspects of daily life and especially to business. A successful business owner doesn't build their company based on what their customers are doing now. They build their company to meet their customer's future needs.

And study after study is telling us that the needs of our customers are changing at a rapid--and alarming--rate. So the sooner we understand what those needs are, the quicker we can update our current processes and tools. The survival of your company could depend on it. It's time to "futurize" or perish.

Cater to Them

If you don't devote sufficient resources and time to making sure your customer's experience with your product or service is exceptional, you run the risk of losing them to your competition. Customers are experiencing increasingly frictionless, almost sci-fi user experiences. So now they expect perfection--lightning fast perfection. (Thanks a lot, Google and Amazon.)

Putting your customer's experience first and foremost can make or break your future company. There are literally no second chances. Oracle research shows that at least 80 percent of customers who have one bad experience with a company will immediately leave you. Never to return.

So it's no wonder that, according to Gartner research, 2016 will see 89 percent of companies competing mostly on the basis of CX. That's up from 36 percent just five years ago!

Hand them the Reins

Your future customer will want to help themselves. While phone support should be always available, it should not be your only support offering.  Many of your future customers might prefer the ease of texting and instant messaging.Whenever possible, provide your customer with ways to look up questions on their own and to troubleshoot issues themselves. (But of course, always be there for them via phone or text if they need a helping hand!)

Futurize from the Inside Out

You've heard of user experience (UX) and now, of course, you're actively thinking about customer experience (CX). But what's EX? And WX? And what do they have to do with improving your CX? The answer is: a lot!

EX is employee experience and WX is workplace experience. Call it the trickle-down theory of happiness, or call it focusing on corporate culture. Call it whatever you like, but put it at the center of your business growth plans. Because happy employees equal happy customers.

The majority of your workforce will be soon millennials. This means you don't just need to provide an awesome work experience for your employees, you need to provide an awesome work experience for employees who grew up in the "Age of the App." To them, everything is digital, mobile and in the cloud. Many of them have never experienced anything else in the workplace.

So if you try to make a millennial save paper receipts and file printed Excel sheets, they're going to look at you like you have three heads, or think you are an out-of-touch dinosaur. They'll leave in droves or worse--they'll stay and be frustrated and unhappy. This unhappiness will trickle down to your future customers, who will then become unhappy themselves, leave and never return. See why adapting your office to the future isn't just a fun option anymore?

Sage Live can even help futurize the lifeblood of your company--your finances. With its real-time, mobile, collaborative, customizable and iOS-friendly features, it's a very futuristic tool. One that can save you time, money, employees and customers.

Published on: Mar 14, 2016