Digital Disruption Is About Customer Centricity

Timo Elliott

The quote in the image above is from Alberto Brea, and I believe the photo is from Roberto Aiello, via Linda Campbell and Lyndsay Wise.

Here’s the text if you can’t read it:

Amazon didn’t kill the retail industry. They did it to themselves with bad customer service.
Netflix did not kill Blockbuster. They did it to themselves with ridiculous late fees.
Uber did not kill the taxi business. They did it to themselves by limiting the number of taxis and with fare controls.
Apple did not kill the music industry. They did it to themselves by forcing people to buy full-length albums. 
Airbnb did not kill the hotel industry. They did it to themselves by limited availability and pricing options. 
Technology by itself is not the real disrupter.
Being non-customer-centric is the biggest threat to any business.

Some have mocked the quote as too simplistic, but Brea wrote a longer piece defending it and giving more details.

It’s trite to say companies should care about customers. But, as we’ve seen, often they don’t – because they can make more money that way.

CEOs and CFOs are rightfully dubious about creating “delighted customers” without taking into account what that would cost to provide. But in an era of dramatic technology change, the traditional cost-vs.-customer-service equations are being blown up and replaced with new opportunities.

The bottom line: the “cost of customer delight” is going down rapidly thanks to new digital technologies, so if you don’t implement it, your competitors will…

For more on engaging customers in the digital age, see Primed: Prompting Customers to Buy.


Timo Elliott

About Timo Elliott

Timo Elliott is an Innovation Evangelist for SAP and a passionate advocate of innovation, digital business, analytics, and artificial intelligence.