Jan 12

Designing the Customer Experience, a new challenge to win increasingly demanding customers

Designing an effective Customer Experience is a powerful tool to look with new eyes at the relationship between company and Customers and to redesign it. It's about understanding what the Customer does and what happens in his mind before, during and after the purchase.

Acquiring and retaining Customers are the core activities for every company. Such activities are more and more difficult to implement in hyper-competitive markets, where Customers enjoy an always increasing availability of information and channels, and they perceive product’s and service’s functional quality as a basic requirement.

In this context, designing an effective Customer Experience becomes a powerful tool to look with new eyes at the relationship between company and Customers and to redesign it.

These new eyes will capture elements considered marginal for the company, but important for the Customer. They will also unveil crucial aspects for the company, for which specific investments have been made, that Customers perceive simply as industry standards, more or less similar to those of competitors in the market. This happened recently in several companies, which have redesigned their contact channels with Customers without investigating their real needs and  without adopting structured and consolidated approaches of Customer Experience Management.
The subject is complex. It is not just about changing the design of the shops or making the phone number for customer service free. It is about understanding what the Customer does and what happens in his mind before, during and after the purchase; understanding the frustrations and the unexpressed needs; understanding the Odyssey that Customers often have to face in their journey of decision-making and of products’ and services’ use.

During his experiences, the Customer interacts with a very detailed sequence of touch points, made available by the company or by other subjects. This articulation is surprising, both for its abundance and for its variety. A first list allows management to understand immediately that just some of these touch points are actually appropriately managed and, above all, are coherent with an experiential project, led by distinctive brand values. Market research through ethnographic techniques and in-depth interviews, on the contrary, allow to map Customers’ mental processes in the different interactions with the key touch points, in order to understand how they contribute to the different experience objectives: selling, recruiting and generating active promoters.

What you will discover with these new eyes, provided by the Customer Experience Management, is a sea of unexplored opportunities for the company, to innovate, differentiate itself and to increase the level of contact and involvement between Customers and the brand, along the whole experience. This will also provide to the Customer opportunities to live experiences without barriers, different, surprising, which can become memorable. This is what we experience when we are greeted by a kind shop assistant calling us with our name, when we enter an Apple Store or when we finally manage to assemble an IKEA furniture, after a journey that began at least ten days before on our sofa, leafing through the most read catalogue in the world. What happens to us is that we remember it and we tell other people about it, becoming the best brand promoters. If you try to search the word “experience” on YouTube, you will find lots of videos with people of all ages, who filmed themselves during the opening of their new iPhone package.

Do your Customers film themselves while They are opening your products? This is the new challenge offered by the Customer Experience Management. Many other elements are or will soon become commodities.