Customer experience is the perception the customer has of your brand. However that perception is shaped by many things other than the simple purchase transaction.
Imagine a bakery. A customer experience is not purely shaped by the transaction of a customer buying a muffin. The bakery must create unique and delicious recipes. They must hire bakers that know how to create a perfect muffin. Employees need to show up fresh and ready to work. When they do the quality of the baked goods goes up! What are the ingredients provided to the bakers? These bakers need special appliances and tools to create the muffins such as a measuring device, a mixer, and an oven. The bakers need to collaborate with the front of the shop — those who are selling the items. And how do people find out about the bakery? What is the experience of the customer purchasing the product? Are the frontline staff happy to be there? Do they smile at the customer? Is the transaction easy or painful for the customer? What happens if there is a problem with a muffin sold? A customer experience is not simply one transaction — a customer experience is defined by much more than that.
Sometimes one bakery comes along and changes the game for all the other bakeries by providing the best customer experience possible!
For example, customers have very low expectations when it comes to customer experience. So when a company like Amazon comes along and makes customers lives easier and better, customers are blown away. When it comes to customer experience more really is more. Companies that work harder to create better customer experiences will ultimately thrive. Thanks to Amazon, customers today are used to immediate gratification, of getting an item in under 48 hours with the click of a button. In fact soon — thanks to technologies such as those exhibited in the Amazon Go store — customers don’t need to bother checking out of a store at all. These technologies change customer expectations, forever. Does any customer today want to pay for shipping? No they don’t. When one company raises the bar for customer experience, every company is implicated — because the customer expects more.
Companies have a habit of making life harder on customers in order to make it easier on their own company. However companies that go above and beyond and make life easier and better for customers will ultimately be the winners of their market.
Consider my D.O.M.O.R.E. framework which discusses the way a company can start revamping their customer experience, or building a customer experience to begin with.
Designs something special
The product or service you sell has to be really good. No amount of marketing can fluff up a product that isn’t good quality. If you are starting with a product that people often complain about, that is not good quality compared to your competitors, you’re going to get stuck between a rock and a hard place. What is the difference between one airline and another? How about a gas station, or a gym, or a restaurant chain? Often the product is very similar, therefore the services wrapped around the product need to be better. There are simply too many of the same products and services for you not to deliver something special.
Offers a strong employee experience
The employee experience has an immense impact on the customer experience. If your employees are working in poor conditions, or a fear culture – there are many ways their work would suffer as a result. When your employees feel supported at work, when they have the tools to do their jobs, when they understand the impact their work has on the customer experience – they do better work! When unhappy employees are working in customer-facing roles it’s a recipe for disaster. We’ve all dealt with people who clearly don’t want to be working at the company they are, and it makes it painful to be a customer. No amount of marketing can diffuse the smell of an employee who hates their job.