7 Steps to Deliver Better Customer Experiences

”A surprising thing happened during a recent brainstorming session I led for a retail client. We were supposed to be coming up with ideas for improving the company’s customer experiences, but the head of operations could not think of a single new customer service idea to explore. And the development leader failed to identify any new ideas for store layout or building features. And the merchandising vice president had difficulty understanding why “product” was one of the categories we were discussing.

Each of these executives offered plenty of ideas when the discussion turned to promotions, social media tactics, and marketing messages. But apparently none of them understood that generating new customer experience ideas would involve his domain. They seemed to think that designing and managing the customer experience is a marketing function, as if the customer is only associated with marketing, and the store only with operations. They were happy to maintain the age-old silo between marketing and operations.
Other common tools, like journey maps, are also incomplete because multiple customer journeys usually exist for a single organization. Most companies target more than one customer segment with more than one need or driver, and today’s customers engage in more than one channel or sequence of channels.

A more thorough approach to designing and managing customer experience is to use a customer experience architecture. It’s a framework for designing and delivering the optimal experiences to different customer segments in different business segments with different business objectives. The “architecture” is similar to other strategic architectures that are used as planning tools, like a brand architecture or an information architecture — or a structural architecture for building a house….”