Saturday, July 4, 2015

Is the Best Customer Experience a Sequence of Event or a Seamless Continuum

Customer Experience is not just the sequence of event, but the seamless continuum.

Digital is the age of customers. Customer Experience is vital for growth, development and to make sure you stay in business, Both retaining a customer and winning a new customer are very important to every business’s surviving and thriving, Should customer journey be represented as a set of discrete events or is it actually a seamless continuum? Shall you take inside-out or outside-in view to observe customer? Is Customer Experience an integral ingredient of your business strategy? And how do you manage it more effectively?

Outside-in view is crucial to look at the the Customer Experience: Organizations often spend too much time on planning the journey and the interactions a customer may encounter. When look at the customer experience from the inside out, there is nothing wrong with that because employees are the ones that can change the inside. But the customer's experience is about how they encounter, observe, or undergo a company's events or stages. When you lay out a journey that you hope is helpful, positive, and shares the experience with your customers. Customers may not like, appreciate, or really care about the journey or simply may not go through the journey in the "correct" way.

Most of the time, Customer Experience is a sequence of events. But the sequence helps you understand the overall experience. The sequence is like the journey. Defining what the BEST customer experience is leads to a positive emotional reaction, a “WOW” factor. One experience can be enough. After that you have to create a relationship, to maintain positive behavior of the customer (loyalty, word of mouth, positive influence on employee engagement, etc.). If the sequence of events is based on "outside in" data and the end result is to transform the company or organization to increase its customer centric maturity, and build a culture to focus on creating value for their customers, then it is a sequence of experiences or simply a strategic plan. Let the customer touch-points land where they may achieve the results. And beyond the emotional WOW, the experience is effortless (easy), productive ( achieved objective) and painless (friction-less). And there is consistency over time in the delivery of the experience.

The other important factor to improve Customer Experience is a "Voice of the customer"; or a VOC program where you do research into what the customer really wants. When you really understand (or attempt to understand) what the customer would say they want and what you found they actually want, it is when you can really develop an experience that fits them and their needs or desires. Invariably, the total customer experience is typically comprised of a complex set or series of interrelated processes or steps. The best Customer Experience occurs when an organization’s processes are so well integrated or orchestrated that the customer experiences are a ‘near-seamless’ experience – it is the application of one-piece flow to the customer experience and it is best summarized by the quote: “Whoever picks up the phone, owns the call.” The most useful question is: "What is the set of experiences that, if provided, will cause customers from the targeted segment to choose your product over the best competing alternative?" Best practice teams infer the winning set of experiences after walking a mile in customers' shoes to understand what is hard, complex, expensive, risky and annoying as they attempt to deliver value to their customers.

You have to put the customer at the heart of everything that you do as a business, great Customer Experience Management is a differentiator for companies. It also has to be driven as a culture within the company starting at Board level. You need to believe that, customer is the lifeline of the business. Once you have this basic premise right, everything flows naturally, exceptional customer service and WOW moments will be the automatic result, then Customer Experience is not just the sequence of event, but the seamless continuum.


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