Stat of the week: 3 customer experience themes. No consensus.


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When leaders in our study said “YES – there is a definition of customer experience that’s well understood across my organization,” we knew clarity about the definitions themselves would be the next thing we should know.  In fact, when I introduced this series a few weeks ago, Lerou asked about definitions on that post.

As you might expect, leader responses varied widely. So this week I’d like to share more of a discussion than a specific stat:

We asked leaders to share a sentence that captures the definition of customer experience people across the organization hold in common.

We found three recurring themes: service / satisfaction, quality, and exceeding expectations.

Among the several hundred responses, we found unique company principles, age old maxims, and a few emerging thought leader definitions. But service, quality and exceeding expectations were the themes underscoring nearly every one.  Some examples:

On SERVICE   “We call our customer experience definition ‘Customer Rules’: 1. Take ownership and show that we care. 2. Be responsive and deliver. 3. Do it right. 4. Make it seamless. 5. Meet our commitments.”

On QUALITY  ”Improve the lives of our customers by providing quality services, products and solutions that earn their trust and build lifetime relationships.”

On EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS   “To meet and hopefully exceed the customer’s expectations in craftsmanship and communication.”

What’s most striking to me about these definitions is that they are about internal actions that influence or shape what happens for customers. They are for customers but they are not about customers.

Can you see the CUSTOMER experience?  Coming at this from the other direction, I met a leader last week who defined customer experience as “the perception a customer has about our company as a result of all the interactions they have with us.”  I love this because it acknowledges the customer’s reality.  It still leaves me hungry though – searching for the step by step journey that I can see as “an experience.”  Checking out the dictionary definition of experience, I find the infusion of time and sequence very useful.

Ultimately, every customer experience starts with a person who has a need, desire, or problem they would pay money to have solved.  I define their experience as what happens and how they feel as they:

  • realize the need,
  • learn about options,
  • try out options,
  • buy,
  • use the product or service to solve their problem, and
  • evolve to another need over time.

What’s your definition of customer experience?

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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