Part Four – The Customer Experience
- Why is the customer experience important?
In my opinion the best way to answer this question is by breaking this question down in two ways:
- Why is the customer experience important to CUSTOMERS
- Why is the customer experience important to ORGANISATIONS
Continuing the trend of the previous blog posts it is important to firstly consider the perspective of the customer. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of the customer is an important skill, and possible determinant of success, for an organisation in regards to the experience of the customer. The customer’s experience can be influenced by anything that occurs during the customer/organisation relationship which is important to recognise. Consider a simple example of a customer’s experience which highlights the complexities and broad nature of the customer experience: buying a cup of coffee. Outside the quality of the product itself there are many questions that a customer could be asking:
- Did it take long for me to be served?
- Was I greeted in a friendly manner?
- Did they remember my name?
- Did they remember my order from the last time?
Carrying on from last month’s post on the importance of people to good customer service, the importance of people in providing a positive customer experience is highlighted by the questions above. These simple questions also highlight the importance of an organisation taking a customer’s perspective to answer these questions and strategise the customer experience. In my opinion the best STRATEGY for an organisation is being CONSISTENT in the approach to a customer experience and the best way consistency can be maintained is through a PROCESS. I reiterate from the previous posts: “the beauty of a process is that it can be replicated” (Bob Miller).
From the perspective of the organisation it is essential to view the customer experience as an opportunity to provide a memorable customer experience and therefore contribute to good overall customer service and thus value. To comprehend the customer’s experience similar questions to the ones asked above can assist organisations in achieving the attention to detail required when considering adding value through experience. The most common method marketers can use to improve the customer experience is through recognising the numerous touch points a customer will have with an organisation during such a relationship and offering value at these individual points. Once again this emphasises a point I have previously raised, and will continue to raise during the tenure of this blog series – customer service was NOT a job function, or unique to any particular organisation and thus providing good customer service is reliant on everyone involved in a customer experience from the Receptionist to the Personal Assistant to the Executive to the Finance Department. Everyone. Thus a touch point may be anything from an Accounts Payable staff member contacting your organisation’s Finance Manager by phone to a client greeting the receptionist as they walk through the front door.
The final point I would like to convey is the importance of measuring the success of positive customer experiences: “If you can’t measure you can’t manage and if you can’t manage it’s an accident” (Bob Miller). There are numerous ways success can be measured in regards to the customer experience including both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The management of the success (or lack of) requires the information to be tracked over time. One medium this can be achieved is through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which is covered in more depth in Part Nine.
In summarising, the customer experience is important to customers and to organisations because a positive customer experiences create value and similarly negative experiences create a loss in value. In the next post I will explain customer delight which is correlated to value and correlated to a positive customer experience.
- Where are we at?
- Part One – Customer Service
- Part Two – Customer Value
- Part Three – People
- Part Four – The Customer Experience
- Part Five – Customer Delight
- Part Six – Customer Feedback
- Part Seven – Customer Complaints
- Part Eight – Customer Complements
- Part Nine – Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Part Ten – CRM Benefits
- Part Eleven – CRM Challenges
- Part Twelve – Customer Management: A Review
Until next time,