Customer experience design is not about scripting your people, or prescribing exact behaviors at every point. It’s about creating the right environment, with the right ‘back-stage’ support and technology and then enabling your people to facilitate an experience that will be valued by your customers.
There is a concept called ‘Loose/Tight’. Most organizations are very ‘loose’ when it comes to what their brand stands for and the kind of experience they wish customers to have, but very ‘tight’ when it comes to telling employees how to behave. Brands that deliver great experiences usually reverse these two, being very ‘tight’ about what the brands stands for and the experience they wish to create but quite ‘loose’ in allowing their people freedom in how they satisfy their customers. But how can you design a customer experience that achieves this?
If you can’t design your customer experience, what can you do to influence it? It’s all about hiring the right people. But it’s also about being intentional about HOW those people deliver that experience so it differentiates your brand, is consistent and delivers value to your target customers. So when we talk about ‘designing’ customer experience, we refer to designing a framework that enables organizations to do this. This framework details the touch-points where you need to differentiate and the ways in which your products, processes and behaviors must be distinctive to deliver value to your target customers.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach as to how you do this. Many organizations begin to think about customer experience improvements without first creating the right context for doing so. So before you begin, be clear on the following three things:
- What your target customers expect and how you are performing against these expectations.
- The customer values that drive retention and advocacy.
- A clearly articulated brand promise that will deliver this value and differentiate you from your competitors.
Take a look at this guides to customer experience research and brand promise definition.
Until you’ve experienced the actual ‘journey’ your customer takes, you can’t begin to empathize with what he or she goes through. So think of the journey from the customer’s perspective, not the organization’s.