3 steps to designing a great customer experience

By: Alysia Hill
Date: September, 2014
File under: Articles

Ever wondered how to go about creating the best customer experience possible? In this post we share with you the approach we often adopt when helping clients.

1. Discover what the experience is like today

A crucial first step, the client should reflect on their business, its people, how they work, and the impact this has on the customer.

To do this, we conduct stakeholder interviews and workshops. We find these are particularly useful in large organisations where staff can become entrenched in the day to day of departmental goals and objectives. It is not uncommon to hear someone say: “I never knew we did that!” Or, “We are doing something similar in our department. We should collaborate.” When staff look at their organisation holistically, clients begin to understand how internal processes and/or business decisions impact the customer experience.

Learn as much as you can about the customer first hand.

We recommend reviewing any information or data that a client has collected about their customers. We view this as a great place to start and always recommend spending the time and budget for further research. The reasons for this are as follows:

Client data can include anecdotal information from customer service staff about customer problems. Customer support staff may recall a conversation that happened yesterday with a very unhappy client. Further research can uncover how often the issue occurs, the level of severity and the impact this has on the business.

Clients often gather web metrics data, as it is relatively easy to do, however this only tells us what a customer is doing, and not ‘why’. For this reason we may undertake further research to fully understand customer behaviour and what customers are really trying to achieve.

2. Identify problems, gaps and opportunities

Identifying problems is the true catalyst for change. In addition, consolidating research helps us review how problems relate to each other (and extrapolate incidental negative experiences from fundamental issues).

Experience maps provide a great high-level view of the customer experience and allow us to delve into detail where relevant.

Experience maps start with a customer task or problem such as “I need a passport so I can go overseas” and then detail the touch-points that an individual will engage with to achieve that task. (Touch-points are any instances where a customer engages with your brand such as visiting a website, accessing an app on their smartphone, calling customer support or vising a store.) When compiling an experience map, we also map out the customers’ emotions as they move through the touch-points required to achieve their goal.

3. Design a better customer experience

With a clear picture of current difficulties, you can pinpoint opportunities for improvement.

‘Blue Sky’ thinking: What is the best possible customer experience?

We like to start with ‘Blue Sky’ thinking. By doing so we can focus on the best possible customer experience without getting distracted with how it might be implemented, the cost involved, the resources available and various other factors.

Then let’s get real. What is our short-term and long-term strategy to achieve this?

There is no point to dreaming up change without seeing it to fruition, so it’s important to establish a strategy. The strategy will look at the short-term, such as improvements that can be implemented with the highest positive impact on the customer experience. The strategy will also include a long-term road map so that the business can stay on track. This includes a governance framework so that staff members have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities to implement the strategy.

By familiarising yourself with these 3 steps, we hope you’re inspired to redesign your customer experience and create positive change within your business.

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