Three common mistakes businesses make with customer experience

June 24, 2014 | by Mike Wittenstein
Three common mistakes businesses make with customer experience

Customer experience design is a way to successfully differentiate brands and build loyalty that results in boosting top line and bottom line performance. But, there are some common traps in customer experience design where businesses get caught that can actually work in opposition to the goal.

Mistake Number One: Implementing customer experience design with the customer first.

Businesses start making promises, tweeting and launching apps before their employees have the opportunity to get comfortable with a new offering. Buy-in from your employees will exponentially increase your efforts at better customer experience.

Start by working through your employees first when implementing an experience because it is theirs to deliver. It is people working with people. Engaged employees that are empowered and believe in the values of the business are likely to serve customers with a bit more passion. Customers feel that extra effort and it gives the customer experience greater impact.

Mistake Number Two: Believing that the customer knows what they want.

This is not about ignoring your customers desires. Instead, it is about exceeding their expectations, and anticipation is the key. Uncover and then focus on needs that the customer is not aware of…yet. The delight of getting something that you did not know you wanted is memorable and likely to become a story told to others.

The way to knowing those needs is by knowing your customer in a way that goes beyond market research. The problem with market research is that people don’t always tell the truth. It’s not to be tricky, but because they don’t know what they really want or what is possible. Businesses that see the bigger picture of their customer (Sony’s introduction of the Walkman as example) can anticipate what their customers want. Those businesses come across as responsive by anticipating the desire of their customers.

Anticipation is a key to customer experience design that elevates an experience from good to delightful and worthy of repeating.

Mistake Number Three: Businesses let their internal processes dictate their customer’s experience.

This is probably the most common mistake of all. The really hard work of customer experience design is the back-of-house, operations work that must be adjusted in order to deliver the experience. Once you have uncovered what the experience is that the customer wants (and maybe somethings they don’t yet know they want), you then tackle the operational components that make the experience possible.

There are really two halves to customer experience design. Half of the work is coming up with the great new ideas and designing them to delight your customers. The other half is aligning your processes in a way that allows the experience to unfold. These two pieces of the puzzle should fit together seamlessly. To get this right, design from the outside in and don’t stop at your front-line. Let the design continue to work into the heart of the business.

How do you avoid getting caught in these three common mistakes?

  • Ensure that your employees are engaged in the delivery of the customer experience.
  • Know your customer better. Maybe give them what they didn’t even know they wanted.
  • Avoid letting your internal processes dictate your customer experience.

(Photo by Liza.)


Topics: Customer Service, Employee Training



Mike Wittenstein
Mike Wittenstein, founder of Storyminers, is a practicing customer experience consultant and speaker with over two decades of experience. His work has taken him to more than 25 countries and he has helped over 400 companies with his expertise in using customer experience design as a strategy for increasing sales and profit. www

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