What Defines Customer Experience?
Often, we think of customer experience across the entirety of the customer journey. We analyze each point and try to maximize the experience as best we can. However, all moments are not created equal. There are specific moments – moments of truth- that leave impressions on customers. Specifically, the ends and the extremes of the customer experience stick with them. When you’re looking to improve your customer experience with your service, you may start by considering the beginning, high point, low point, and end of the customer journey.
First impressions are important to customer experience because they define the customer’s expectations. When a potential customer learns about a service, they initially begin to develop an impression about a prospective experience. This first impression can come in many forms — a referral from a friend, an online article, customer reviews or a product demonstration. Regardless, the potential customer begins to develop expectations about what it will be like when they get the product or service, including how it will make their lives better. Sellers are trained to build rapport, understand customer persona, and have enjoyable first conversations.
If a consumer decides to purchase a service, that means they have high expectations. They’re already convinced it’s worth opening their treasury. The ability to meet those high expectations is the first major point of customer experience.
High points are an important part of the customer experience. Usually, this is the best part of the experience, or where the core value of the service is delivered. If we’re thinking of an internet service provider, it’s the moment the consumer connects for the first time and streams a movie with high speed. For an IT leader, it is the speed at which a critical user’s dysfunctional laptop was made working.
Peaks are the special opportunities to delight a customer.
Sometimes, businesses overlook the importance of these moments. Most businesses know when their peaks are, and rather than capitalize on the moment, they turn their attention to problem areas. However, this misses an opportunity. Businesses should drive home these peaks with further enhancement, like timing peaks with opportunities for a customer review, or having a representative follow up to see how they’re enjoying the peak moment. Peaks are golden opportunities to obtain passionate brand advocates who help spread word about your product or service.
Most executives and directors focus their attention on the valleys of their goods/services. These are the “low” moments that disappoint and frustrate. In the example of internet service, a valley would be an outage or issues getting the internet properly installed and having to go weeks without. For the example of the critical user, it is the loss of data notwithstanding the working laptop.
Businesses tend to focus on these weak areas, and this focus is important. Valleys can turn an otherwise satisfied customer off for good. Hitting a critical point of lowness can put customers over the edge and move them mentally to a place that is beyond repair. By focusing on improving troughs, businesses can leave the door open to repair and improve experiences with their customers in the future.
Perhaps the most lasting impression customers maintain is at the end of an experience with a service. This is particularly true in B2B or B2C services. For example, a customer getting their oil changed may remember a free air freshener placed in their car, getting their vehicle back early, or a complimentary car wash.
A tech specialist may spend the extra 15 minutes to coach the user on how to prevent the recurrence of the issue. This parting gift leaves a good taste and will be the first thing they think of when they need their oil changed again. Whether the experience or product delivery is good or bad, a parting favor or gesture is always appreciated. The end of the customer journey is a great place to start for businesses looking to improve their overall customer experience.
Look for the journey, reinforce positive moments of truth. The sigma of all these, generated a powerful customer experience.