It’s time we had the talk. The talk about CEX - Customer Experience! Although it’s now easier than ever to get the customer feedback and gauge customer satisfaction (CSat), it’s just not enough. We live in an experience economy, and it’s becoming more and more apparent that, to the consumer of our goods and services, experience matters. It’s no longer enough to be satisfied, they want to feel like they received what they were expecting to receive.
In their book The Experience Economy, Pine and Gilmore put forth the very simple concept that the customer has, for whatever reason, expectations for what their experience will be when engaging, purchasing, or otherwise consuming your products or services. They point out the invisible killer to our customer satisfaction level is literally the sacrifice the customer made relative to what they expected. Put simply: their expectation, minus the sacrifice, is the experience they perceive.
And we don’t get to say, “But we did everything right,” or, “It was a perfect product,” because perception is everything, and if the client perceives they have not had the experience they were expecting, they will not be completely satisfied. In today’s world, we must take 100% hands-on interactive responsibility for setting them up for a great experience. We need to be looking closer at what we’ve told the client to expect from us or our products; it cannot be left undefined. In other words, if we do not specifically inform the client how their experience will (or should) go, they will consume our products and use our services assuming it will be like they remember from another similar interaction. And that’s the last thing you want!
For example: If you’ve just landed a new client who was dissatisfied with their previous IT company, you better set the stage for the client’s new experience, and it had better not be like the one they just had. Leave it unclear or unstated as to what they should expect, and you will likely find it very hard to satisfy them because their expectations will be that of the previous provider.
So how do we find out what our customers are sacrificing? Here’s a trick: Ask them! Just the same as you used to ask them, “What did we not do?” or, “What could we have done better?” we ask them things such as: What were your expectations? What did you think it would look like, smell like, taste like? etc. And long before you ever get to asking a client these questions, you should be having internal conversations with your team on, “What should our customer experience look like?” And that, my friends, will in fact help you create a truly differentiation from your competition.
Of course this is just a short rambling, but there is much more to talk about here. I simply want to plant a seed in your mind that there’s a more important metric than CSat - it’s CEX!
If you have questions about any of this, I’d love to chat with you about it. It’s one of my favorite subjects. I also wrote about this in my book Getting To The Next Level.