Customer experience is becoming increasingly important from a strategic point of view. When it comes to customer experience, this often concerns the service provided to the customer and how to gear it as effectively as possible to the needs of the customer and the organization. But customer experience goes further than that. In my view, customer experience encompasses three elements: service perception, brand perception and price perception. And particularly: the relationship between all three.
These three elements are almost always individually steered and prompted, whereas linking these three together will really allow you to take a quantum leap.
How can you get to grips with the perception of service? By designing your customer satisfaction survey on the basis of the customer experience journey, followed by ‘driver analyses’. You then know that driver A is exactly five times more important than driver B.
Moreover, you not only know what customers truly believe to be important in order to improve their experience, but you also know how to deploy your 100K investment most effectively. If you then link your survey based on the customer signals management concept, to the customer contact moments per step in the journey, you can precisely identify the points for immediate action, from the customer and organization perspectives.
Let’s imagine that this shows the process of becoming a customer to require attention, you can then take a detailed look at all steps taken by the customer (per channel / device). This allows you to focus more effectively on the reason for the low score and/or frequent contact moments, and to choose the right improvement points. You can then apply continuous measurement to monitor precisely whether your intervention has been effective, because your satisfaction (or NPS or CES) improves. That in itself is challenging enough, but you can do more for an optimum customer experience.
Almost all organizations have brand promises. How about Philips’ ‘Sense and Simplicity’, Nokia’s ‘Connecting people’ or AT&T’s ‘The world’s networking company’? Much less common however is the translation of these brand promises into each step in the customer experience journey, so that customers actually experience the promise in practice.
‘The world’s networking company’ says something about communication on the website, about the channels offered and about the way in which dialogs are conducted. First and foremost, I expect innovation from such a brand promise, therefore also in the service I receive. In that sense, the brand perception should actually be translated into design principles to be applied in each step of the customer experience journey. Per step, you decide how to fulfill the brand promise in this specific step.
This is often not the case at all, and even if it is done, it is too superficial and not translated into the detailed customer journey. There is much to gain here therefore, if you can connect your service and brand perceptions.
The price I pay is also a driver of my experience. At Walmart, I know I can expect the lowest price, and a certain experience in the store. When buying an Apple laptop, I know that I’m paying substantially more than I would for another brand, even though there are very few differences, technically speaking.
This clearly shows how brand perception can dictate the asking price. The crux here is that you link the price to those elements which customers believe to be important. If a customer has no idea what he is paying for (as in car insurance, for example), he will quite simply search for the lowest price. The product is too complex to compare other elements.
However, you can also think in terms of developing relevant services which customers consider valuable. Once again, you can make a study of this: which services do you believe relevant and what is their value? Like the other two, the gain is once again found in the connection. As we often see: ticking the individual ‘boxes’ is much less effective than when you can always tick all the boxes.
5 tips to get you started
- Measure which service elements customers really believe to be important.
- Translate the brand values into the service and price offered.
- Apply the relevant service perception scores in your brand perception manifestations.
- Link your pricing to those elements which customers believe important.
- Translate a product feature into a customer-relevant feature (one which they understand).
For that matter, I often encounter the terms customer interest and customer experience becoming mixed up. Customer interest really is completely different to customer experience. Customer interest relates to your due care obligation. Let’s imagine that a customer wants to take out a mortgage which is actually too expensive, you must say no in the customer’s interest, even though this is disastrous for your customer experience. Once again, take a careful look at what’s what!