The average business has a problem.
In the vast majority of markets, customer experience is more closely correlated with retention, referrals, growth and profitability than any other single variable. And yet what percentage of businesses have actually defined their customer journey? 10%? 20%, maybe?
I think there are two reasons why so few businesses bother to give this any serious thought:
- The first is this – customer experience sounds a little too digital-centric, particularly when those of us in marketing call it CX, which obviously we do all the time because it makes us sound like we know our onions. The wikipedia page for customer experience helpfully describes it as the totality of cognitive, affective, sensory, and behavioural consumer responses during all stages of the consumption process including pre-purchase, consumption, and post-purchase stages. I mean fuck me, it sounds like the kind bollocks I’d write. But this is all hugely misleading. Customer experience is as complicated or as simple as you want it to be, and while it can be entirely digital, it could just as easily be entirely offline. As soon as we make this clear I think bring down some of those perceptual barriers.
- But there’s a bigger problem, particularly for businesses that do have a strong offline dimension – CX, I mean customer experience, can be bloody difficult to manage. Employees have these irritating things called personalities and sadly they’re not as easy to control as an email autoresponder. And actually, do you want everyone to answer the phone with exactly the same opening line or for every email to go out sounding like it’s from a robot? Probably not. In fact it turns out that these difficult to control human behaviours contain more potential to positively impact the customer experience than anything else. Precisely because they’re difficult to control.
For most businesses, therefore, rather than prescribing every process and behaviour – a counterproductive task unless you happen to work with big machinery or Big Macs – it’s far better to identify just a small number of critical moments, then make it your goal to become utterly famous for them
I played golf at Celtic Manor a few years ago. The course was pretty good I think; don’t really remember. And as for the accommodation, just another oversized 4* hotel. There is something that stayed with me though. When I arrived at the pro-shop a chap picked up my 20 year old clubs and drove them up to the first tee, where he set them up next to a pyramid of golf balls so I could loosen up. I didn’t pay for it and didn’t expect it, but for precisely those reasons I’m still talking about it.
Every company has its opportunities to create these moments, and incidentally, the more boring your market the bigger impression they’ll make.
And of course, by doing something remarkable through these half dozen customer interactions, it will shift the entire culture of the organisation. Or put it this way, the chap who painstakingly assembled my pyramid of golfballs, probably didn’t then sit down next to them for a quick smoke and a Fanta.
Some people call these magic moments, others wow moments. It doesn’t matter. What they are is the backbone of your customer experience and the thing that will determine the strength of your brand more than everything else combined.
See you next time,