Ten Guiding Principles of Customer Experience

Author: Paul Conder
6 / 10 / 2014
Customer-Experience-Principles_Lenati

Many businesses are working to foster a better experience for their customers. With customer experience being a new area of focus for many, we have found that businesses are ramping into the field very quickly and are sometimes missing some key base principles in the process.  This is a set of ten guiding principles that act as a foundation in Lenati’s Customer Experience (CX) practice.

1. Customer Experience is a personal and subjective thing, so it is not something that can be “created” by a company. It is the aggregate of a person’s perceptions, feelings, memories and associations around their engagement with a brand.  We cannot make an experience – can only afford the customer the chance to engage.

2. Engagement between people and businesses is becoming deeper – but in ways that are more complex and less predictable. The explosion in digital communication channels has resulted in people having the ability to see the totality of how a brand intersects with the world around it, including it’s ethics and values.  Every facet of a company’s operations now needs to be understood from the customer’s point of view – it’s all on display.

3. A “Customer Journey” is the framework of customers’ interactions and experiences while engaging with a brand. It includes interactions with digital media, social interactions, word of mouth, service interactions – the works.  Mapping the Customer Journey across channels is the key to understanding how customer experiences can be enabled, communicated and focused.

4. Touchpoints are only physical or digital enablers in the Customer’s Journey. Every touchpoint designed into a website, app, retail interior, hospital, office, store fixture, airport, smartphone or table setting is put there to enable certain interactions, carry certain messages, and pattern certain behaviors. When companies focus too strongly on touchpoints, the bias is towards the operational aspects of the company – not what the customer is actually thinking, feeling, saying, doing or spending.

5. There is no such thing as an offline customer.  Whatever industry you are in, you can be sure that your customer can be present in several channels, often at once – comparing you to your competition and learning about what others say about you.

6. Any point in the customer’s journey has the potential to drive the customer away from a company.  With customers having so many options available simultaneously, they are constantly faced with the choice of sticking with your company – or not.

7. The customer’s experience can be directly linked to the customer’s spending. Companies are seeing an enormous upside in revenue – sometimes in the billions of dollars – by framing their products, services and systems around the customer’s experience.

8. The value in aligning a business to the customer’s experience can be massive, and stretches far beyond revenue.  In our projects, we have seen improved brand perception, higher likelihood to recommend, improved satisfaction scores, increased retention AND simplified operations by taking a customer-centric view.

9. Customer Experience is not about projecting a made-up theme.  Many managers believe that experience should be “staged” around a theme to “surprise” and “delight” the customer at each step of their journey – but attempting to make this happen in the real world can be cumbersome and contrived, creating a brand perception that is fake, insincere and inauthentic.

10. There are three key areas of research for measuring CX:

A. Customer input helps us understand what the customer is thinking and feeling – capturing perceptions, opinions, preferences, feelings, associations and reactions.  This can also include input on subjects like their likelihood to recommend the company, brand cohesion, or their general satisfaction.

B. Observational research helps us understand what the customer is doing.  It includes everything from field observations, online analytics, traffic and browsing patterns, social listening data, dwell times – anything that can be observed with a minimum of interference to the customer’s behavior.

C. Financial data helps us understand how the customer is spending.  Sales data can be tied to observational data and customer input to show connections between customer experience and revenue.

Download THE ART AND SCIENCE OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – Lenati’s comprehensive look at the rapidly-evolving field of CX.  It includes deep dive articles on state-of-the-art research methods, design thinking, business case studies, omnichannel strategy, digital marketing and analytics & measurement tools and many more.

Download The Art and Science of Customer Experience E-Book here.

About the Author

Author: Paul Conder | Customer Experience Practice
Paul has a 20-year track record leading multidisciplinary teams, bridging the fields of experience design, interior design, product and retail strategy. Paul has led research and design projects for many leading brands, including Starbucks, Starwood, Canyon Ranch, Lululemon, Telus, Philips Design, and the 2010 Olympic Games.

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