Customer experience needs to be integrated into the business strategy

20.2.2017 07:00

The IT word of marketing conversation today is customer experience, CX. Companies and opinion leaders talk eagerly about their customer orientation and how they deliver great experiences. Well, it would sound odd to say ”no, we are absolutely not focusing on our customers!”

Still, the reality of the customer experience world suffers from status quo – an unchanged state of fundamental thinking and operations. Firms invest millions in the development of digital services and in the creation of visual brand identities, and yet, the customer experience remains the same. Companies outsource their services, and do not pay attention in ensuring that the meaning and the voice of the brand is coherently being delivered at an emotional level.

Further, companies measure success by using quantitative measures, such as waiting time, site visitors, or time to process applications. They do not measure customer experience. What is also notable is the fact, that the management group seldom knows what hinders or annoys their customers.

Out-of-the-box –thinking is difficult

We recognize a terrible customer experience when it hits us. It is also easy to tell what went wrong and how things should have been, by using common sense. So why is it so difficult to companies? The biggest reason is that we keep thinking the same way we have always thought, and continue doing things in a way we have always done. We do not challenge our thinking and question our manners. Out-of-the-box –thinking is more difficult than it sounds.

Oftentimes the customer experience happens by accident, not by design. Interaction creates experiences every time, and thus, customer experience should be an intrinsic function of the whole organization. Designing the experience is challenging, because we do not know which elements matters the most for our customers. There is no data to support our design, because we ask wrong questions. The right questions would tell us how to develop a better customer experience.

Emotional moments reveal whether a brand delivers its promises

If we do not know our customers for real, it is difficult to identify the most meaningful moments at expectation and emotional level on the customer journey. On the other side, it is impossible to identify the points where the company fails at meeting the customer expectations. Creating an outstanding customer experience requires identifying the meaningful moments of interaction, and integrating the purpose of the company and its operations into these interactions.

The most critical moments are those engaging high expectations and deep feelings. People may not remember what was said but how they felt, how they were treated. Emotional moments reveal whether a brand delivers its promises.

Exceptional customer experience originates from strategy

In order to succes in customer experience development, every member of the organization has to know what kind of customer experience needs to be delivered. The management needs to understand the linkage between company values, vision and goals, and customer experience. And that exceptional customer experience originates from strategy.

Putting customer experience development into practice is difficult for many companies. It is often seen as a short-time marketing or service design project. However, customer experience development is all about organization culture, unlearning habitual behavior and a customer oriented attitude – a lifelong process. Every day is a new potential day to start questioning the things we do and the way we think. When targeting great customer experiences, start with discovering your company’s purpose and engage the whole organization.

Ainomaria Parikka
Business Designer

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