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Improving the Customer Experience —

Going Beyond Satisfaction to Deliver Thrill
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Terrific customer experiences lead to terrific financial results for companies. Bain & Company has shown across industries that higher customer loyalty is correlated with faster organic growth. On average, a loyalty-leader outgrows its competitors by more than two times.

 

Dissecting the Customer Experience

The customer experience is defined as all the experiences a customer has with an organization through the duration of the relationship. The customer experience can be dissected into journeys, touchpoints, and interactions.

        – Journeys

Journeys are macro events a customer goes through when interacting with an organization. At a generic level, journeys might be Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Post-Purchase Experience, and Engagement. Every organization will have its own set of journeys.

         – Touchpoints

In each journey, there are many touchpoints that customers have with an organization. Defining these touchpoints is a key step. You should prioritize touchpoints – some are more impactful than others. Consider the frequency of each touchpoint, how customers rate the quality of each touchpoint, and the importance of that touchpoint in a customer’s overall opinion of the organization. It’s also essential to locate the “moments of truth” – the touchpoints with outsized impact on customer loyalty.

         – Interactions

At an even more granular level, touchpoints can be a collection of multiple interactions. Each interaction offers new opportunities to delight or disappoint the customer.

Ensuring Satisfaction and Delivering Thrill

With target customers identified, touchpoints mapped and prioritized, and memories defined, the work of improving the customer experience can begin. This is a two-step process. The first step involves ensuring satisfaction; this is the foundation of customer loyalty. Only with proper blocking and tackling can the second step, building thrill, take hold.

        – Ensure Satisfaction

  • Designed to meet customer needs – You want to create your products, systems, and processes to meet the needs of the target customer. Too oftencompanies design their offering without considering the voice of the customer.
  • Works as expected – Your service and offering need to function properly in real life, not just on paper. There must be alignment between what you promise and what actually occurs.
  • Problems resolved quickly – Problems happen. To ensure satisfaction, your organization needs to have a mechanism to react swiftly and to work to eliminate future failures.

        – Build Thrill

Customer satisfaction does not drive loyalty. To receive the benefits of true promoters, you need to tap deeper levels of engagement; you need to go “above and beyond.” There are two ways to build customer thrill into the customer’s journeys.

  • Ordinary services delivered exceptionally – You can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary with careful attention to superior execution.
  • Exceptional services or features delivered well – You can add a “wow” by doing something unexpected.

Spotlight on Afarpack Wooden Packaging

AfarPack Wooden Packaging is a leading supplier of wood packaging. The company has succeeded in gaining market share year after year due in part to its relentless pursuit of customer thrill.

The company regularly listens to its customers to understand what is working and what needs improvement. AfarPack Wooden Packaging pursued the following steps to improve the process.

 

Review the current Quality Resolution process
After looking closely at the process and receiving feedback from customers and employees, the following issues were identified:
    – Incomplete recognition of the customer throughout the process.
    – Lack of consistency across the company for how the process is applied.
    – Delays in containment and resolution of the underlying issue.

 

Reinvent the Quality Resolution process
A cross-functional team made the following changes:
    – A mindset of customer advocacy was put in place. The memory the team wanted the customer to have was “AfarPack’s got my back.”
    – An 8-step process was implemented to ensure reliable and quick resolution as well as permanent countermeasures to prevent recurrence. All customer-facing staff were trained on the new process with roles and responsibilities clearly explained.
    – A Quality Specialist role was created for each location to facilitate the process and to provide an expert resource on-site.

 

No supplier has perfect quality. What distinguishes the best suppliers is how they respond to a quality issue. Customer feedback on AfarPack Wooden Packaging’s new quality resolution process has been excellent.

Summary

Companies that deliver superior customer experiences enjoy higher customer loyalty. This loyalty translates into better financial performance in the form of easier customer acquisition, greater wallet share, higher price realization, lower cost to serve, and stronger retention.
Building a customer-oriented organization requires a thoughtful approach to both people and processes. Measuring progress is another important part of the process, and there should be an ongoing campaign to listen to customers and seek out new ways to improve their experience.