What is customer experience? In this video, learn how looking at things from a new perspective—your customer's perspective—can net big returns. Also, find out what's at the heart of customer experience.
- This past year I ordered a new gas grill for my husband for Father's Day. I was excited about this gift because I knew it was what he wanted. I even paid extra for delivery and setup. The day before Father's Day I called to confirm on-time delivery. Here's where my excitement turned to something else. Not only was the grill not delivered until after the holiday, but the delivery people had no record of my purchase of assembly services. They left a big box on my front porch.
I called again. After spending too much time on the phone, we finally agreed on a date and time for assembly of the now much delayed Father's Day grill. And by date and time, I of course mean a window of several hours when I was expected to be available. Assembly seemed to go well, it looked great. As my husband proudly tried out the grill that first night, it didn't work, at all. It took a lot more of my time and many more calls before they agreed to send out a repair technician.
Several days later a nice repair person fixed the grill. He also revealed to me how often he gets calls like this one. After all that, the grill works great and we've enjoyed having it. But how do I feel about that customer experience? Neglected, frustrated, annoyed, even embarrassed. This is just one example of a customer journey gone wrong. There was nothing wrong with the sales process or the product, and yet this company loses money on unnecessary service calls and customers like me, who won't be coming back again because they aren't focused on the end-to-end experience for their customers.
This is why customer experience is such a big topic and why you probably hear so much about it. It's not one interaction or expectation, it's about a lot of little things throughout the customer journey. Defining customer experience used to be somewhat simple. A customer might wander into your store and buy something. They liked what they bought and how they bought it or they didn't. That was their experience. I don't have to tell you that today, there's a lot more to it.
Customer experience is the total relationship your customer has with your organization, through communication, interactions, and transactions. But it's also about how the customer feels about those experiences. Each unique interaction, whether it's in person, on the phone, online, via mobile, or whatever communication channel comes next, is referred to as a touchpoint. Touchpoints can be neutral, meeting the expectations of the customer exactly, or they can promote loyalty by exceeding those expectations.
Of course, the flip side is one touchpoint gone wrong can lead to a negative customer experience. And you can't always guarantee that everything is going to go right. That's why creating an overall positive experience is also about preparing for when things do go wrong. So can you guess where it all starts? Reviewing the journey from your customer's perspective. That means ignoring what you know about what happens inside your business and taking an outside-in perspective.
This goes way beyond your org chart or any internal process maps you have. Your customers experience their journey their way, so it's important to understand that viewpoint. And at the heart of that viewpoint is how they feel about their interactions with you. It's no secret, customers who feel positive about your brand will give you their business, word of mouth advocacy, and loyalty. And if they don't feel positive, we all know what happens, they leave you for your competition.
So let's look at how we can create experiences that keep our customers happy.