Customer Experience Management (CEM) has been with us for over 10 years now (it arguably started with Lou Carbone’s work on experience engineering in the mid-90s) but that doesn’t mean that we all agree on what CEM is yet.
As I suggested in a recent post on ‘What Exactly is Customer Experience Management‘, there are still big differences in opinion about what CEM is, for example, whether you should start with the brand and create a branded customer experience, or whether you should start with customers and create an experiential brand. My preference is for the latter. But that doesn’t mean that branded experiences are always wrong.
Another difference is whether you should build the experience bottom-up from tens (or even hundreds) of individual micro-interactions, or whether you should design the experience top-down with the end-to-end experience in mind. My preference is for the latter. But a series of blog postings by David Armano over at the Logic + Emotion blog are making me pause for thought.
David sets out his ideas in a presentation about ‘Micro Interactions + Direct Engagement in a 2.0 World’. He suggests that in today’s always on, mobile internet powered world, we receive thousands of micro-interactions with brands everyday. These vary from traditional physical touchpoints, through intangible on-line touchpoints, to social touchpoints of friends and family. It is the interaction of all these multi-facetted micro-touchpoints that shape our perceptions of companies, their products and the brands that result. This fits well with our understanding of how customers learn through a process of Bayesian updating. If David’s suggestion is true, we need to understand as best we can which of the many micro-interactions are important in shaping customers’ perceptions and how they should be integrated together to create a coherent customer experience that we can sense, that creates the right feelings, that makes us think the right things, that persuades us to buy and that over time creates a sense of relationship. That creates an experiential brand in other words.
I am still not 100% convinced by David’s suggestion; this is still a brand-driven model rather than the customer-centric one I believe we need to adopt to remain relevant to customers in the near future. And Tom Guerillo makes the point in an article about ‘Experiencing Experience’ that experiences are very context-driven. My experience at Starbucks is driven by what I have experienced at the particular Starbucks, at other Starbucks and at other coffee houses in the past. And my experience will likely be entirely different to yours. That makes starting with micro-interactions more of a hit-and-miss approach than starting with the end-to-end experience. All that notwithstanding, David has started an interesting discussion that we definately need to have.
What do you think? Are micro-interactions more important? Or should we be concentrating on the end-to-end experience instead?
Post a comment and get the conversation going.
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager
What Exactly is Customer Experience Management?
David Armano on Micro Interactions + Direct Engagement in a 2.0 World
Wikipedia on Bayesian Inference
Tom Guerillo on Experiencing Experience