Levels of Perspective: The Customer
In this series I have started discussing the various Levels of Perspective in an Organization. The first in the series focused on the actual Organization itself. Within that, we broke down 4 techniques to help us break down and understand how to decompose and understand our internal business model and architecture.
For the next couple of articles we will discuss the Perspective of the Customer. To get us started, lets define the Perspective and what Customer Experience is. Then in my next article I will explain why it is the Customer Experience is critical for success and how to capture the information. Lastly, we will review some techniques and examples.
PERSPECTIVE 2: THE CUSTOMER
As a martial artist instructor, in order to teach you need someone to teach (your students). I look at the students as my customer in the context of this conversation. In order to teach as effective as possible, I need to take time to understand who my students are as a person, their abilities (physical, mental and emotional), and their motivation to study the art to name a few. This data can help me understand how to approach teaching them, as every student is different. Though the fundamentals of the art are the same how I approach interacting with the student to bring forth those fundamentals may be different.
The same process holds true for customers who engage with your products/services. Without customers, selling or providing, products and services would be quite difficult. I know many, if not all of us, already know that. However, there are so many organizations, companies, and/or businesses that lack the right amount of focus on the customer. Though strategy, objectives and goals are important, delivering value to the customer, with a very positive experience, is critical. If you recall, in my January blog, one of the tools we discussed was the “business model canvas”. This canvas consists of 9 components and 2 of those components were very specific to the customer, which reiterated to me the importance of the customer. To refresh your memory the two areas I reference are:
- Customer segments – who will/do you serve?
- Customer relationships – what do you do to maintain customer loyalty?
Two very critical pieces of information that is part of the customer experience we will be discussing. A technique we will discuss later is called the “Customer Journey Map” which is a tool leveraged to understand the current customer experience interacting with a product/service. This tool demonstrates what is working well, as well as, what is not working as well. However, before we get to the tool, let’s talk a little bit more about:
- What is meant by customer experience?
- Why is a focus on customer experience critical for success?
- How to approach determining the customer experience desired?
What is meant by customer experience?
Customer experience is the overall interaction between an organization and the customers served. The goal is to ensure every experience is positive, and fulfilling to the needs of the customer. There are many different factors, or components, that can be leveraged to understand the experience customers have. Let’s discuss a few, shall we?
- Empathy – this component focuses on putting yourself in the customers shoes to understand not only the customer journey experienced, but also the objections a customer may have through the experience. So, what does this mean, you may ask? ???? There are many emotions a customer will encounter with a product/service. For example, excitement of purchasing their very first smart phone. As the customer moves through the process of buying the smart phone is the experience consistently positive, or is there a portion of the process where the experience turns into frustration. If there is frustration it’s important to understand why and remove the barriers in the journey that would cause that frustration. When you are in the shoes of the customer experiencing the journey like them, it gives a lot of insight into what is working well, where customers may have reservations about the product/service, and what parts of the journey are just not delivering like it should.
- Quality – this component focuses on delivering quality products/services to your customer CONSISTENTLY. A personal example of this particular component, is the experience I’ve had with a couple of nail shops in the past. I do like to get the occasional pedicure and manicure ????. I have experienced, more than once, inconsistency on quality. When the nail shops is new (first open for business), the customer experience is GREAT!!! The technicians are very friendly and take time with your nails. In some cases, there are additional perks depending on the level of service you desire. As the location became more popular, I have experienced the quality gradually diminishes. I have experienced where I make an appointment the location may overbook, or accept walk-ins, and my appointment is rushed to get to the next customer. Some of the perks and care I am accustomed to receiving didn’t occur, as the focus was on rushing to get customers in and out to make more money, opposed to ensuring the quality of work. It is this type of inconsistency then has made me leave nail shops because the experience started very positive, and gradually turned very negative.
- Personalization – this component focuses on how the product/service can be personalized to the customer. This a great way to get to know your customer base and their needs. This is also a great way to determine how to market effectively to your customers. If you have ever ordered on Amazon, you can tell that Amazon watches your buying patterns and recommends items that may be of interest to you. This is one way the company makes the online experience personal to you.
- Channels – this component focuses on the different ways a customer can interact with your product/service. There may be online channels for individuals who prefer the luxury of having access to their product/services anywhere and at any time, opposed to having to interact with a live person. In addition, if there are multiple channels the ability to move between them seamlessly creates a great customer experience.
- Metrics – this component focuses on measuring the customer experience. There are many different metrics that can be leveraged to measure the experience, such as: effort (how long it takes to go through the process), complaints, success rates, emotions (customer interactions during the process) to name a few. This data will help in understanding if the customer experience desired is being delivered.
These are just a couple of components that define customer experience.
Now that we know what Customer Experience is, my next blog will explain why it is critical for success and how to capture the information.