A no-nonsense guide to customer experience

Bar MarketingBy Legal Futures Associate Bar Marketing

Fact: being customer centric and delivering a positive customer experience leads to growth. And, every business owner is interested in growing, right? But, customer experience is more challenging than it might at first appear. Not least because confusion abounds on what customer experience actually is.

If you’re struggling to grasp the concepts of customer centricity, customer experience and customer service, you’ve come to the best place. Here are ten truths about customer experience that you need to know…

1. Customer experience is not an umbrella term for everything customer related

To clarify, customer centricity is the environment in which you operate that puts the interests of the customer first always. Customer service is just one element of the experience an organisation gives its customers. Customer experience, then, is everything including customer service – that’s sales, marketing, operations… all business functions and all interactions.

2. Customer experience has evolved over time

Way back when, direct marketing was the main customer-focused discipline whose goal was to initiate a personal relationship between the customer and the organisation. Direct marketing matured into customer relationship marketing – a process whereby the organisation administers its interactions with customers based on data and feedback analysis. Next comes customer experience whose definition we’ve provided above.

3. There are three core elements of the customer experience

These being (1) accessible – the ease of interaction between your customers and services, (2) functional – your actual services and (3) emotional – the way the experience your customers have with your services makes them feel. There’s been a tendency to rely on the functional element but it’s actually the emotional aspect that’s the priority.

4. There’s a customer experience continuum

The phases of the customer experience are (1) random (carrying unnecessary cost), (2) intentional (profitable) and (3) differentiated (sustainable). On the left-hand side, the worst place to be, there’s too much concentration on process and product, too little measurement and literally anything happens in terms of customer experience. On the right-hand side, the ideal place to be, you’re a truly customer-thinking organisation who’s easy to do business with, delivers on its brand promises, acts in a self-regulating way and resolves mistakes.

5. To reach customer experience utopia, consistency is key

Travelling from the left to the right of the customer experience continuum takes consistent effort. To do so, the company must remain stable meaning no change of leadership, no change of strategy and no restructuring. That’s because every time a major change such as this happens, customer experience programmes stop and start – the bungee effect.

6. Your organisational layers must be aligned

The three layers, in order of importance, are (1) customer journeys – representing the touchpoints your customers interact directly with, (2) business processes – mostly implemented without even knowing the customer journey exists and (3) technology – largely purchased as an afterthought. You must begin with the customer journey and work downwards, not the other way round.

7. There are accidental and intentional experiences

Accidental means you have no clear understanding of your desired customer experience and you’re dependent upon the goodwill of your people to leave customers feeling a certain way. The customer experience is random and it’s not a long-term, sustainable practice. Intentional, on the other hand, requires a defined framework and correct focus, applied with structure and rigour. Needless to say, it’s intentional you’re aiming for.

8. A strong customer experience framework is similar to a jigsaw

While there is no single customer experience framework, you should visualise customer experience as a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces comprising strategy, measurement and people. Ask yourself: (1) strategy – do you know who your customers are and what they need?; (2) measurement – what’s the journey that brings your strategy to life and how do you measure it from the customer perspective?; (3) people – do your people know the business and customer experience strategies, and are they your ambassadors / customer experience enablers?

9. There are three voices of customer experience measurement

You should measure (1) the voice of the customer, (2) the voice of employees and (3) the voice of the process. Only then can you get to the heart of customer experience. Ultimately, customer experience is about understanding the measurable relationship between cause and effect – the relationship between what you do and the way the customer feels about what you do.

10. Empathy is vital – above all else

Simple: empathy leads to advocacy, advocacy leads to loyalty and loyalty leads to growth. Customer experience is about human-to-human contact. Be empathetic. Your bottom line will notice.

Further reading

You might want to read our ‘client service‘ and ‘differentiating chambers‘ white papers for insights on researching and benchmarking, and setting yourself apart from your competitors respectively.


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