[This is the first of a series of 5 articles detailing what I see as the 4 main components of a customer’s experience. When the other 4 will come, I have no idea.]
When I throw out the term “Customer Experience” many people (and businesses) immediately jump to customer service or the experiential environments of a restaurant or amusement park. Though these are ceratianly a part of CX, when you really boil it down, they are just scratching the surface. Wikipedia defines CX as:
… the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. From awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction; the distinction is usually clear in context.
This obviously goes much further than the touch points that one may first consider. I see four interconnected components of CX. In order to successfully optimize and manage a customer’s experience, a cohesive, proactive strategy involving each of these areas must be developed, executed, and managed. I’ll do a brief overview here with a more in-depth look at each in the balance of the article series.
This is the obvious one. Every company realizes that their front-line employees (sales reps, CSR’s, service techs) have a big impact or either making or breaking a customer’s experience; however, do you consider how everyone in your organization may play a part?
You may have wonderful people, but if your product doesn’t work as expected, … major CX fail. The product may be an actual physical product, a related component such as instructions, or alternatively a service provided. Regardless of what it is, it makes you money. It better be great.
A well-run business may have great people and a great product or service, but if the process for getting to those people or that product is flawed or cumbersome, you’ll fall short. More often that not, this would involve external processes such as your retail environment, website, marketing, PR, or call management. However, it could also relate to certain internal processes as well.
All too often, a company’s policies prevent their people from executing a great experience. This comes to mind in retail with exchange policies, in banking with fee policies, or in any business with rigid, nonsensical “cya” legal policies. Beyond that, it may not be your “people policies” but rather “product policies” that effect the manufacture of your product or execution of your service.
Why develop and implement a customer experience strategy incorporating these elements?
Companies need every competitive advantage they can get to create and sustain a loyal and evangelistic customer base. Building a better mousetrap will only get you so far. Your customer’s overall experience is what will determine whether or not they return and more importantly what and how often they they tell others. Don’t leave their experience to chance.
As we take a more in-depth look into each of these components over the next four posts, we’ll explore
- The importance of each component and how it relates to the others
- How people, product, process, and policy function differently yet work together
- My experiences with and observations of companies that do a particular component well and with some that don’t
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