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27. Aug 2019

Customer Experience

by Brigitte Liermann
weißes Riesenrad mit blauen Kabinen vor leicht bewölktem Himmel
weißes Riesenrad mit blauen Kabinen vor leicht bewölktem Himmel

"Where two people talk to each other for more than 60 seconds, an opportunity arises." That's Customer Experience. Customer Experience puts people at the center. But doesn't it also get in the way somehow?

At the end of the day, is it really worth clearing away obstacles such as data protection, rigid processes and headwinds from within the company's own ranks? And isn't it basically all about money?

How exactly do you make the leap from buzzword to practice?

In order to take the appearance of a complex tangle out of the topic of customer experience, we have devoted ourselves to three central questions:

1. Journey = Experience?

No. Journey and experience are two sides of the same coin.

The customer journey is individual. It describes the path that a customer takes to reach his or her destination. Depending on the intention, personal preferences and routines, customers reach their destination with many or few touch points.

Experience, on the other hand, is the entire perception that a (potential) customer receives from a company or brand - it is made up of all interactions with the brand.

Both have the change in perspective from touch point to customer in common. So what good are individual touch point strategies if the customer journey is driven from the customer's need and the customer experience is evaluated from the customer's perspective? This is why a customer experience strategy is needed that provides guard rails and degrees of freedom for each interaction in order to engage with customers in a way that is appropriate to the situation. The missions of the individual touch points result from this.

2 To death?

Can automation slay it all? The clear answer: No. Tools help handle complex and diverse data, but they are useless without the thoughtful groundwork that defines the "what for" and the "how."

There is rarely a lack of data, studies and insights. Rather, the big challenge is making the information available to the right people in the right places at the right time. Too many important insights seep away at departmental boundaries or flow insufficiently into the system.

That's why working on the customer experience requires a good degree of discipline and structures. Tools are an important cog in the dynamic system, but a customer experience mindset and collaboration on this mindset only emerge through allies, storytelling, released resources, and institutionalized exchange.

3. Aren't customers also just people with feelings?

In this case, the answer is exceptionally: Yes. What's more, this view has an impact on the fundamental understanding of customer experience. In order to create truly powerful brand experiences, the focus must not be on customers in the sense of shoppers, but rather on people with specific needs and intentions. As soon as we stop talking about customers, we also stop trying to sell people something instead of interacting with them.

This change in perspective opens up new possibilities and can also be applied to the brands themselves: Behind them are also just people with feelings. For Customer Experience, this means that it's all about creating moments of interaction between people and brands. And thus directly or indirectly with the people behind the brand.

But how does a brand deal with the fact that the number of interaction moments and the expectations for interaction quality are increasing rapidly? Instead of trying to control all interaction moments, energy should be put into a few "signature interactions." On the moments that are particularly important to people, that really stick in their memory and thus have the potential to shape the overall perception of the brand.

Accordingly, when evaluating customer experience projects, not only performance KPIs but also brand KPIs must be taken into account. This is the only way to validate both the economic relevance and the impact of the experience on the perception of the brand from the customer's point of view.

Never at the finish line

Proactively designing interactions from a customer perspective that are in line with the brand is a fine art. But investing energy and money in this task is absolutely worth it in the end. After all, customer experience is an expression of the brand, it creates targeted moments of enthusiasm that are remembered and create the basis for a lifelong relationship between customer and brand.

This article is based on the results of the diffferent Opportunity Lab on the topic of customer experience. We spent a day discussing the key issues with CX managers from a total of ten companies, including, Audible, Nestlé and Deutsche Bahn.

Do you also have a topic that urgently needs more clarity? That you would like to translate from hype into concrete set screws? And you appreciate open discourse? Then write to us.

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