Probably the best place to open up a dialog on the uncommon wisdom about customer experience is an observation that… the minute you start talking about “our company’s customer experience” you’ve taken a giant step in the wrong direction.
The fact is… your company doesn’t have a customer experience… only your customers do.
These customers are trying to accomplish some set of goals that are important to them. Some of their goals may be clear… some may be quite fuzzy. In order to accomplish their goals, customers do things that make sense to them given their memories of past experiences and their beliefs about the current situation. While they are doing those things, they react rationally and emotionally to what happens. THEIR experience may or may not include interactions with your company.
After 25 years of helping companies design outstanding customer experinces, we’ve found that it is impossible to make meaningful improvements without getting the full, end-to-end picture on the CUSTOMERS’ experience. Without this full, end-to-end picture, at best, you wind up making relatively minor, incremental improvements in the existing set of touchpoints. If the customer is actually able to perceive any improvement at all, it often just feels like better sameness.
For example, if you’re a moving company, the traditional touchpoints involve contracting with customers to pack up, pick up, and move their stuff from one location to another. The customer, on the other hand, is having a “family move experience” that is only partially dependent on the limited set of activities traditionally handled by moving companies. A mover interested in significantly improving the customers’ experience would benefit from finding ways to meet many of the customers’ “below the surface” needs that occur at the non-touchpoints.
This leads to another point of “uncommon wisdom”… touchpoint mapping is a useless activity if the objective is differentiating the customer experience… will have to get to this in another post.