Customer experience: the view from inside your company
A week or so ago I wrote about how to define a target customer experience. We’ve used this definition for years at Aveus and (in all humility…) it creates great clarity about what can drive great performance. So let’s say you’ve defined that. You know your target customer and the problem you can solve for them better than anyone else. Whether you are a women’s boutique out to solve a need for comfortable fashion for globally inspired women, or a medical device company out to improve quality of life for patients, every customer experience can be described the same way: It is what happens and how your customers feel as they realize a need, try out options, buy, use your product or service to solve the need and then evolve to another need over time.
To really cook with your target customer experience, translate it to what must happen from inside your organization. Think IF / THEN. If the ideal experience you defined is going to happen, then what must you do inside – and across - your company? Also an ideal view, your organization’s experience is what happens when you:
- choose target customers who have the problem you solve,
- earn consideration as they learn about their options,
- demonstrate that you offer the best solution,
- protect customers as they buy,
- prove your promise, and
- anticipate the next need to which your customers will evolve.
How are you doing? These questions may help you see opportunities between your existing and target organization experience.
As customers learn about options, you must earn their consideration: Are the right customers finding you when they go looking for a solution to the problem you solve well? Are enough of them finding you? What should you say (and not say) to make your prospect’s list of good options?
As your customers try you out, you must demonstrate how you are their best option: How do you most effectively demonstrate to your target customers how well you can solve their need? Do you tie what’s unique about your product or service directly to how it solves their need (very effective) or to “we-they” lists of your features vs. your competitor’s features (not so effective)?
As customers buy, you must protect them: What gives them a sense of the convenience and control that they hope for? Do you ask for process steps or information that may help you win a sale later but does nothing to affirm their decision in the moment?
As they use your product or service to solve their need, you must prove your promise: Imagine your customers as they use your product or service, get help, and show others what happened. Does this experience prove to your customers the promises you made? How do you know for certain your customer’s need was solved? Are support costs eating your operating margin and disproving your promise?
As your customer’s needs evolve, you must anticipate what’s next: Do you identify and act on your customer’s evolving needs? Sometimes the need is identical to the last, and other times it’s something subtly different or altogether new. Who in your organization anticipates these “next needs” as a source of future demand? Is it confined to only marketing and sales? Or are your design, service, operations, finance, and other departments working on future needs as well?
These are big, fun questions. If you’ve found a performance payoff driving experience from inside your company, I’d love to hear you brag.
A blissfully twisted career path and a passion for the link between customer experience and financial performance. Gets excited when actions align to a target experience "front domino." More about Linda.
Customer experience can drive better financial returns. Leaders tell me that they know this intuitively, but need proof of the payoff, as well as a map showing how to translate a target experience into the actions across their organizations that generate those returns. So Domino is the first how-to book on customer experience. Read and find evidence that customer experience can be a path to better profits. See the gaps and opportunities between the customer experience you have and the one you want. Provoke conversations in your team, area or whole organization about the actions that link customer experience to the financial reward you deserve. Learn more.