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Do you Wordle?
My partner and I are competitive. When one announces their score, the other reaches for their phone. Last week I thought ‘Hm, that’s a good starting word’, typed and hit enter. Bless my cotton socks! The all five tiles turned green. I’d got it right first time. Wordle even called me a genius. Let’s be honest, I made a lucky guess.
Despite my awe-inspiring lucky guess, I am not doing so well at Wordle. My average number of guesses stands at 4.1. My other half’s is 4.0, which suggests we are about as good as each other. But. Look at the charts below. My scores are inconsistent, while ‘im indoors has a nice tight spread.
His spread, or lack of it, results from his method. He has two starting words helping him confirm or eliminate 10 letters. Then works out the word (typically, he has three letters right with one placed correctly after two guesses).
I pick a word that feels good and then another. You can see why my number of guesses varies so much.
You may wonder how Wordle relates to customer experience.
Well, it highlights the benefits of designing customer experience intentionally. Rather than relying on serendipity.
Look at the charts again. Imagine your customer experience was as variable as my guesses. You would have one customer who loves you and many holding widely differing views. My better half is consistent. Mimicking his performance would create more happy customers.
In this article, we explore how to manage Customer Experience to be consistently good.
Decide to design your customer experience
Unluckily, customer experiences often come about by accident. They take shape in the common ground between your teams. No wonder average customer experiences have uncomfortable pointy bits.
To deliver smooth customer experiences design them first and then build your business to delight customers.
Understand your customers and their needs
We don’t know, we cannot imagine our customers’ every need. Even the closest relationship can fail to uncover their needs. It might even obscure them. Only standing back to see their challenges and expectations can help us know our customers. So, create customer personas.
Unlike marketing avatars, customer personas don’t help you sell more. They build empathy.
Armed with our personas and empathy, we can determine what our customers need. My preferred framework for understanding needs is:
- Jobs – the reason they buy your product or service – be they functional, social or emotional jobs.
- Pains – the stuff they dislike or fear about doing their jobs.
- Gains – additional benefits of achieving their jobs.
Deliver your customers’ needs
To earn word-of-mouth, you cannot just talk a good game or build a customer strategy to leave in a drawer. You must deliver, time after time.
Capitalise on your hard work
Customers may not notice your changes. Rather than not bother, build ‘benefits realisation’ into your customer strategy. To prompt loyalty, point out how good your service is. The simplest method is ‘you said, we did’, you can play a lot of tunes with this communication. Tell people what you changed or show them how straightforward your transactions are compared to your competitors. Enter awards. Label products, services and journeys ‘new and improved’.
Remember, your competitors might counter with improved experiences or use cash offers to steal your clients. If they win, help your customers leave and assure them of a warm welcome if the grass isn’t greener.
Customer expectations change. So, you must continue to empathise and improve your products, services and journeys.
Transformation, innovation and disruption
Sometimes continuously improving is not enough.
Ford is often, wrongly, quoted as saying ‘if I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses’. Steve Jobs turned the humble mobile phone into an integral part of everyday life. Both met unspoken customer needs, the essence of customer experience innovation.
When you lead innovation, you disrupt your market. If you follow (and following is a fine strategy), you must also transform. Either way, you must resume continuous improvement.
Why intentionally manage customer experience?
To be consistent and then you can
- understand feedback,
- compare your performance to customer needs and expectations,
- enable continuous improvement and innovation.
- enjoy sustainable, profitable growth