Part 2 of our series on Goals for CX Management
Experience has economic value! To create this value, every customer journey touch point has to be thoughtfully crafted. Increasingly, companies like Taco Bell, Intuit, USAA, Bank One, Apple and Kohl’s, to name a few, have made customers central to their operations. Indeed, the revenues and profits produced from this approach can amount to billions of dollars. Customer experience has become the modern competitive differentiator. In this new ‘experience economy’, Pine and Gilmore, argue that in addition to selling quality products and services, companies must “stage” experiences that are compelling. This comes from creating and implementing creative design principles so that companies can move away from a commoditized mentality of mass merchandizing.
Companies must think about what they sell and do differently than they have in the past and differently from competition. They have to dress up their ‘acts’ so that customers walk away feeling they have been affected emotionally and cognitively. Starbucks and Apple are terrific examples of companies that have staged experiences. Think about it, Starbucks has created an ‘experience’ space for one to have coffee, with an option to buy and go. Apple has created a learning environment for a cross-section of their customers, young and old. We tend to think about consumers using touch primarily because they have to — in order to examine packages and to fill shopping carts. However, touch can also create symbolic connections between people and products, and between buyers and sellers.
Physically holding products can create a sense of psychological ownership, driving must-have purchase decisions. This idea may underlie the push to move inventory from display cases into customers’ hands, a trend seen in many electronics outlets such as the Apple Store and Best Buy.
To stage experiences that are different from past routines is a challenge and the next frontier of innovation. Casper, a small new e-commerce start-up, has disrupted the mattress purchase experience, and has demonstrated that even something as boring can be transformed into an exciting journey. They go beyond selling a sleeping surface. With an ‘outrageously comfortable mattress direct to the consumer’ sales approach coupled with compressed shipping delivered to your door and a 100% 100 day return guarantee, Casper has won the hearts of customers.
Even those who return mattresses because they are not be comfortable praise Casper for the experience. They even provide simple instructions, a useful cutter to break the plastic wrap, a handwritten thank-you note, and even a book for a bedtime read.
The economics are very obvious; companies that stage positive experiences with a deep understanding of human behavior enjoy greater market share, revenue growth, higher stock price and profitability. Casper attracted $15 million in venture funding and had sales of $20 million in ten months since its launch in April, 2014.
Best Practice Questions to Ask Your Organization
- Have we designed a customer journey map?
- Have we included the voice of all associates who have a customer facing role?
- Do we know the relative impact of all the touch points in customer journeys?
- How are we measuring these touch points?
- Will we know when touch points are not frictionless?
- Are all our associates familiar with our journey map(s)?
- Is the experience personalized where customers feel that their needs have been met?
- Is the experience uniformly positive and consistent through different touch points? Are touch point measures tied to associate performance?
This post was created by Mohamed Latib, Ph.D., of CX University–a training organization tailored to provide the on-the-go professional development in the CX discipline–and formerly of Opinionmeter, a company dedicated to helping organizations conduct effective, impactful customer experience programs for over 20 years. To learn more about CX University, please click here. To learn more about Opinionmeter’s unique mix of technology and best practice guidance, please visit Opinionmeter.com.