Integrity: Is This Why Apple, John Lewis, and Amazon are Masters of the Customer Experience?

Apple, John Lewis, Amazon: Masters of the Customer Experience?

Christmas is over and three organisations stand out for me: Apple, John Lewis, and Amazon. Why? It occurs to me that the people in these organisations get customers as human beings, are clear about the kind of customer experience they are up for delivering, AND have put in place a system for delivering this kind of customer experience.

On Integrity and the Customer Experience

Integrity is essential to performance. Breakdowns in integrity will generate breakdowns in performance. Breakthroughs in integrity will generated breakthroughs in performance.  If your organisations defines performance as cultivating meaningful relations with customers through the right customer experience then integrity determines the quality of the customer experience.

It occurs to me that when I am talking about integrity I am pointing at a state of being, an outcome, and a system.  Let’s consider these in turn.  

  1.  What do I mean when I say ‘integrity as a state of being’? By this I mean the way of showing up in the world.  Specifically, I mean a way of showing up in the world where you are committed to emboding-living your word.  Can we call this an embodied attitude?  The outer manifestation of an inner stand-commitment.

  2. ‘Integrity as an outcome’ occurs for me as delivering on the promises made. There are two dimensions here: the promises made to oneself, and the promises made to the others. Integrity as an outcome is measurable – you did or did not deliver on your promise. If you are in any doubt about whether you delivered on the promise then ask your ‘customer’ – the person who is holding you to account for the promise (implicit, explicit) you made.

  3. When I speak ‘integrity as a system’, I am pointing at the parts and the interconnectedness of the parts, so as to come together as one harmonious system whose default disposition is to deliver on the promises made.

When I look at Customer Experience through the lens of integrity, it occurs to me that the real measure of one’s integrity as a state of being (point 1 above) is what one does and continues to do is to put in place ‘integrity as a system’ (point 3 above) so as to deliver ‘integrity as an outcome’ (point 2 above).

What is the Learning Here?

It is not enough to want. It is not enough to believe. It is not enough to have good intentions.  It is not enough to talk fine words.  What really matters is the design of the system.  When you take a look at the system that generates outcomes you will find that all human systems lack integrity; at the level of the person, the family, the organisation, the community, the nation and even the world what there is is the lack of integrity.  It occurs to me that the lack of integrity is the default condition – it is what shows up automatically. I see it as the principle of entropy at play in the human world.

It occurs to me that the reason that the likes of Amazon, Apple, and John Lewis stand out in terms of the Customer Experience is because the people in these organisations, starting at the very top, get the importance of integrity especially ‘integrity as a system’. And as such there is  relentlessness in enhancing ‘integrity as a system’ at levels of their organisations: individuals, teams, functions, channels, business units, the organisation, the organisation and its suppliers, the organisation and its partners, the organisation and its customers…..

Why is it that so few organisations excel in the way that Amazon, Apple and John Lewis excel? Because it takes genuine commitment, relentless focus and lots of hard work to put together and keep up integrity at the level of organisation.

Related posts:

Want a breakthrough in customer-centricity in 2012? Start with ‘Integrity’

‘Integrity’, leadership, communication and performance: the most valuable post you will read this year?

Has the lack of ‘Integrity’ and authentic leadership comprimised the ‘workability’ and performance of the West?

Without Integrity, Is Talk of Customer Focus Just Cheap Talk?

The Power of Essential Integrity In A World Where Integrity is Lacking

 

 

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

4 thoughts on “Integrity: Is This Why Apple, John Lewis, and Amazon are Masters of the Customer Experience?”

    1. Hello James,

      When I say that all human systems lack integrity it occurs to me that I am pointing at that which is so. Making this statement shows up as being in the same domain as making the assertion “all objects fall to the ground if dropped on this planet of ours”.

      What I do not know is why it is the case that all human systems lack integrity. Clearly what is common to all human systems that I experience is human being and their way of showing up in the world. So this suggest that the source of this lack of integrity lies in either ‘the biological design of human being’ and/or our cultural practices.

      I have been grappling with this question of yours since you asked it. And I hope to be in a position to provide an answer in the form of a blog post soon.

      All the best
      maz

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  1. Good post and one I agree with. Coming at the same topic from a different angle see http://www.startwithwhy.com he also has several youtube videos, TED talks. For me, your view and his link nicely and are good mirrors to hold up every day at work for myself and the way my organization (people) work

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    1. Hello Robert

      Thank you for making the time to share your perspective and pointing towards Simon Sinek and his work.

      I cannot talk for my fellow human beings, I can only talk for myself. Talking for myself, I say that integrity is one of the small number of distinctions that holds awesome power and yields breakthrough results if lived.

      Finally, I take this opportunity to wish you great living. And I ask something of you as it occurs to me that you have the capacity to meet my request: be a source of integrity and contribution, work for a world that works for all.

      At your service / with my love
      Maz

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