There’s a lot that can be said for delivering a wonderful customer experience.
Of the many things that can be said, here’s something that many do not understand or even consider as they think of the customer experience:
Customer Experience Management is about What Customers Desire to Feel versus What Customers Actually Feel
Most of us know this intuitively, but don’t speak of it enough: process improvement can only take us so far. Yes, we must identify the wastes in our processes and reduce or eliminate them. But, just as important is identifying the key areas where the customer’s unspoken need for feeling a certain way is not met. Let me make all this soft and fuzzy talk a bit more grounded.
On Customer Emotions
While we often think of product and service as separate, they are in fact – at least in the customer’s mind – one and the same. Even more, when customers interact with our product or service, they have an expectation of the following:
- What the interactions are.
- What the outcomes of the interactions should be.
- How they wish to feel at those moments of interaction.
The items above produce emotions. And, emotions often produce judgments. And, Judgments of our service or product can create endearment or loyalty or pure animosity and lack of advocates for our service or product.
Let’s talk about each of the items above.
1. What The Interactions Are
This is both a strategic question and a very tactical one. From the tactical perspective, answering this question falls in the realm of process improvement Specifically, we’re interested in only having the customer engage in steps that he or she as value added. Anything else, we would deem as waste and attempt to reduce or eliminate.
2. What the Outcomes of the Interactions Should Be
This would also fall in the real of process improvement. Specifically, this would often be addressed in the language of “Critical to Quality” – do the outcomes of the process match the outcomes the customer has in her or his mind? If there is a mismatch, then that presents an opportunity for improvement.
3. How The Customer Wishes to Feel versus How They Actually Feel
This is where we get soft and fuzzy. But, don’t let soft and fuzzy fool you – this is the stuff that is often at the heart of customer experience: the emotions. We can satisfy  and . From the perspective of Process Improvement, that would be a success.
But,  is often missed, because it is the portion that is less loud and doesn’t clamor as much. It’s also the less tangible part; not as measurable. Yet, it is likely the part that creates loyalty, positive word of mouth, and future earnings and revenue.
Consider Customer Experience
As you reflect on your products or services, consider the question on what your customers desire to feel at each interaction and how they actually feel. Not just the outcomes or even the interactions themselves. Ask about the emotions. Reflect on that. I promise you’ll find areas that are both actionable and also areas where, if you choose to improve, will yield substantial fruit.