Disruptive Ideas: The Ultimate Customer Experience

by Brandon Wright October 04, 2018
Woman looking at wall of notes creative brainstorm

Lots of people talk about disruptive companies. Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, the list goes on. What did those companies do to get there?

Disruptive innovation.

Disruptive innovation describes a process where a product or service starts at the bottom of the market and moves up the market knocking out competitors on the way.

Essentially it’s the underdog rising up: the David to the Goliath, the Rudy to Notre Dame Football, you get the gist.

Don’t get overwhelmed trying to come up some new business, instead, start with an idea.

Start with one question. What problem are you trying to solve? This might sound very vague but it’s not. You should be asking yourself this question with every part of your selling process, with different types of customers, with current sales.

Creating the ultimate customer experience starts with disruptive ideas.

Disruptive Companies that Changed the Customer Experience


  • Netflix: The reason Netflix was started is still unclear but rumor has it, founder Reed Hastings got the idea after having to pay $40 in late fees to Blockbuster for, “Apollo 13”. Houston we have a problem. Other sources say the idea of Netflix came because the founders wanted to create the “Amazon.com” of something. Netflix started out sending DVD via mail to customers and eventually transitioned to the streaming service you can watch anywhere you have wifi.


  • Uber: Travis Kalanick was one of the founders of UberCab (eventually became Uber). It started out as a lower cost black-car service that could be used through your phone. UberCab solved two problems: offering a higher-end black-car service for a more affordable price and the convenience of summoning the car through your phone (instead of hailing a cab out in the street).  
  • Airbnb: Two guys couldn’t afford their rent in San Fran so they decided to charge people to sleep on an air mattress in their loft and include breakfast in the morning. Airbnb’s original name was Airbed and Breakfast (now the name makes sense)! They knew there was a huge design conference and limited places for people to stay so they solved the problem. Airbnb expanded from there.
  • Walmart: Click and collect. Brilliant. We already know that Walmart is a powerhouse, yet they still find ways to continuously improve the customer experience. How do you compete with AmazonFresh? Allow customers to shop online and pick-up at the store, never leaving their car. In a few major cities, Walmart will even deliver right to your door. The goal is to expand to the entire U.S. but it will take time.



Ways to Design Your Customer Experience

The four companies I spoke about above all had a problem they were trying to solve. Whether it was avoiding late fees for movies, more affordable and convenient car services, homey bed and breakfasts, or grocery delivery, they took a simple problem and solved it.

When was the last time you walked around your store with the mindset of a customer? Better yet, when was the last time you asked someone to give you feedback on their experience.

Here are a few examples of places to start:

  1. Checkout process: What problem are you trying to solve?
    • Faster checkout
  2. Store layout: What problem are you trying to solve?
    • A layout the allows for customers to easily find their sizes
  3. Sales Staff: What problem are you trying to solve?
    • Provide a platform where the sales staff can provide better service to customers
  4. Returns: What problem are you trying to solve?
    • Quick return process while finding out the reason for the return.

The ultimate customer experience happens when there is a focus on improvement. Constant iteration which eventually becomes a disruptive idea. Maybe it’s time to disrupt your current way of thinking. Take a look at your current processes and figure out the problems you want to solve. Go disrupt!

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Brandon Wright

Brandon is the Founder and CEO of Clientbook (a clienteling tool for retailers that increases in-store foot traffic and sales).

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