Disruption is a word that can inspire fear.

After all, disruption is what led to the fall of many companies who considered themselves “too big to fail.” Disruption is what led to the doors closing at chain bookstores across the nation and left the taxi industry wondering what happened.

Your business, today, as you read this, is being disrupted. Are you thinking about that?


Disruption, at its core, is about customer experience.

In your organization, if you are fearing disruption, then that’s really about ignoring customer experience. It’s about the leadership of an established industry ignoring the way their customers like to be treated. It’s about leaders leaning into old systems and fear of change and claims around “customer loyalty.”

Loyalty is not something your customers owe you. In fact, it is you who owes your loyalty to them!

Your customers don’t owe you loyalty when you miss the signals of the need for digital transformation. Loyalty won’t overlook when you assume they’re OK with how things have always been done. Your customers deserve more.

The disruptors know this. They look at what’s working in the world – not just the industry – and reinvent the processes to meet customer needs first. The disruptors are currently examining your business model, your industry, your leadership and more.

But most of all, they are watching your customers. They are seeing the cracks in the system. They are finding ways to turn their moments of frustration into moments of delight.


What are you doing to prevent disruption?

Are you paying attention to your customer’s behavior as much as those future disruptors are? If I were you, here’s how I’d pay attention.

1. Watch out for the points of pain you have accepted as just part of the process.

Listen as you discuss them internally. It’s often known that customers dislike these parts of the journey. We say things like “I can’t wait until they decide to update this system.” Or maybe we say “I wish it worked like (Amazon/Uber/Google).” These are obvious points of potential disruption. Don’t wait – do something!

customer loyalty

2. Don’t listen to the overly optimistic discussion about loyalty.

We love to lull ourselves into a false sense of security while we proudly nod along to those who say things about how loyal our customers are. They love us! We have tons of promoters on the NPS scale! Our customers love to tell their friends about us.

But here’s the thing – humans are fickle. We are loyal until we aren’t. So when a better deal comes along and makes things easier for us, we jump. If you don’t believe me, then just ask Kodak.

3. Understand what those polite customers are trying to tell you.

Humans are also not as anxious for conflict as some would have us believe. In fact, many of us say things like service was “fine” when we really mean “OMG-I-waited-way-too-long-and-then-you-were-not-listening-and-I-just-want-this-to-end-so-I-can-get-on-with-my-day.”

Telling yourself a story about how “most” customers rate us in the “top 30%” range is a problem. Challenge yourself to read between the lines before those disruptors do.

Right now, someone is out there, dreaming up ways to disrupt your industry.

It may even be a customer! These disruptors are seeing gaps in your customer experience and seeing how customers would love it to be easier, faster, more convenient and more focused on them. These change agents are motivated by wanting to make a real difference. They have a sense of urgency and importance about what they are doing.

market research

Bring that disruptor’s mindset into your own organization.

And start asking the questions as an outsider. What could we do? How can we help our customers the most? Are they asking us for more?

Today’s business world is fast, fierce and fearLESS. Don’t let the idea of disruption scare you. Disrupt your world to make it better for your customers. Then consider yourself a disruptor for good.