7 truths common to all customer experiences


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Doctors. Teenagers. IT managers. There are infinite kinds of customers. Some have job titles; some have Facebook walls. Their needs are as infinitely variable as are their demographic or behavioral profiles. Because they – and their needs – are unique, their customer experiences are infinitely variable too.

Photo: Matt Cavanagh

Yet there are a few things that are common and true about every customer experience. I bet you’ve noticed some of them. I’ve pulled them all together here because acting with these truths in mind will result in better experiences for your customers, and better performance for your organization. At the end of each truth, I’ve included the question clients tell me they find helpful to translate each truth to the right kind of action.

Here we go:

1) Every experience starts with a person who has a need or problem or desire they would trade money to have solved. (No spoiler alert necessary here; you’ve heard that from me before.) What need do you solve for your customers?

2) Success for every customer experience is based on if – and how well the customer’s need was solved. Do you measure needs, or problems solved?

3) Every experience is made up of the same steps. A target customer realizes a need, learns about options to solve it, tries them out, buys, uses a product or service to solve a need, and evolves to a new need over time. Do you design interactions based on the goals customers – and you – have at each step in the experience?

4) Every experience is chronological. For your customer it unfolds one step at a time. For you it may feel different. As you read this you may be processing a payment, hosting a live-chat support session, or designing the next product they buy. These things happen concurrently for you, but your customers’ experience unfolds one step at a time. Do you meet the customer with an understanding of WHEN they are in their experience?

5) Every experience is made up of both tangible and emotional elements. Tangible elements include the product or service itself, the price, the length of your purchase contracts, or the number of steps a customer must take to get help. Intangible, or emotional, elements include the music your phone system plays, the tone of the language used on line and in real life, and the feel of your physical space. Have you defined both what should happen AND what customers should feel throughout your customer experience?

6) Every experience is part of a customer’s single relationship with you. Across locations, channels or kinds of media, customers have a single relationship with your company. It doesn’t matter where they hear about you, buy, or get help. Even if a prospect learns about your company through a friend or on distributor and you had no direct control over the interaction, it is part of that customer’s experience with your firm.

7) Every customer’s experience is cumulative. Customers remember. Each time they interact with your organization, they write a new chapter to the story they carry in their hearts and minds. This holds true even if your business is transaction based.

Customer experience is like a conversation. Each person speaks, reacting and adding to the facts and tone shared by the one who spoke before. Some conversations happen quickly. Some unfold over years. Every interaction can build or weaken relationships.

What do you think? How can these seven truths can help you get your customer faster and further toward a need solved?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Linda Ireland
Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner of Aveus LLC, a global strategy and operational change firm that helps leaders find money in the business performance chain while improving customer experiences. As author of Domino: How to Use Customer Experience to Tip Everything in Your Business toward Better Financial Performance, Linda built on work done at Aveus and aims to deliver real-life, actionable, how-to help for leaders of any organization.


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