One of the most common quotations cited by business book authors is Peter Drucker's "culture eats strategy for breakfast". Another thing culture tends to eat – for lunch, perhaps – is customer experience. Customer experience could be defined as "the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier". Therefore, it is important to ensure that the customer has a good experience at each point of our relationship.
Creating a solid customer experience can be an integral part of a company's way of working. In an ideal situation, the target is clear and the measures taken during the customer relationship are well thought-out and carefully executed. Corporate values that promote customer work serve as the backbone. Digitalization has provided us with new tools with which to offer points of contact online, along with methods for monitoring and analyzing the customer's behavior and reactions to our products and services. However, this is not without its challenges:
- How do we connect the points of contact into a coherent customer journey that feels right to the customer?
- How do we ensure that the customer retains the experience of us as a provider of personalized services and added value throughout the journey?
In my opinion, the keys to creating a good customer experience are getting the basics right and confirming this in concrete ways. I use a quick and convenient service development method that combines the service pathway and personalization methods used in marketing and service development. In practice, this is what I often do:
1. I picture myself as the customer.
2. I put my mind to it. I give myself a name and character.
3. I choose a service I am looking for (for example, business-oriented development need or complaint).
4. I draw the steps of the service on paper from the customer's point of view. Next to these, I draw the steps that we must take as a company in order to make things happen. I am brutally honest, but try not to be too critical.
5. I take a coffee break or do something else for a while.
6. I look at and analyze my sketch. I ask myself: Would I be a satisfied customer?
After analyzing the sketch, I list the development areas and assign a person in charge of each step. Next, I set a priority for each task. I do small "quick fixes" right away and start working on larger issues in a controlled manner. I review them as ideas with the customer and make sure that I am going in the right direction. It is only at this point that I will start the internal change of the customer's processes (I will blog more on this topic at a later date, I promise). My favorite phase is when we stop planning and start solving the matter together with the customer.
My personal objective is to produce a customer experience that feels perfect. In a perfect customer experience, both parties are properly heard and acknowledged, and they receive something useful in return. It is like a dance or a good relationship that is based on mutual trust and open communication. It means working together for a common cause that yields benefits for the customer.
If this blog post made you eager to hear a second opinion on your customer experience planning, do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to help!