Time to Rethink Customer Experience. Again

Apple charges high prices. Google and Facebook collect mounds of data about us... then monetize the data. Disney drains us of every dollar -- before, during and after we visit the company's theme parks. We're going broke. We're giving up our digital and analog privacy. And yet... the vast majority of us love those companies. Why?

The answer involves two words: Customer Experience (CX). Even as some of the world's top companies drain our time, money and privacy... we love the customer experience they deliver.

And now, the rest of us are trying to build new companies or reposition existing companies around great customer experiences. And I think the vast majority of us are trying to do so in a fair, balanced way that (A) delivers a great customer experience with (B) reasonable costs and privacy commitments.

Skeptical? Look at Google search trends involving the term "customer experience" ...

Google search counts for "customer experience" from 2005 through present.

Google search counts for "customer experience" from 2005 through present.

Now here's the irony: We're all obsessed with customer experience but we're not sure what exactly (A) it means and (B) how to deliver it.

  • In Apple's case, it involves integrated hardware and software linked to closed systems. A beautiful device with a simple user interface that opens up a world of experiences to you. 
  • In Disney's case, it involves a perfectly groomed world. You somehow forget all your troubles as you navigate from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland to Frontier land and so forth.
  • In Facebook's case, it involves constant updates on what your friends (and non-friends) are up to near and far, with a few icons that allow you to easily weigh in on the chatter.
  • In Google's case, it involves instant access to any factoid, content or indexed data in mere milliseconds.

Sometimes, we pay a huge premium for these services. Other times, we access the services for free -- and let somebody else pick up the bill. Either way, if you deliver a great customer experience, attracting and retaining more and more customers becomes less difficult.

Getting Started with Customer Experience

But how? For some great ongoing guidance, check out Forrester Researcher's ongoing blogs about Customer Experience. There, you'll gain tips on how to rethink metrics and analytics as you strive to gather the right data for customer insights. 

Sometimes, you don't need data to tell you whether your products or services deliver a great customer experience. You already know the facts in your heart -- especially if your services are lousy.

One way to get back on track is to really think about the types of customers you want to work with -- and how many customers overall you want to engage. 

When Less is Far More

As we consider our own path forward here at After Nines Inc., we've come to two clear conclusions on our own Customer Experience (CX) priorities.

  • First, we're focused on an immersive, standardized customer experience across all screens -- desktop, tablet, smartphone. If we build or launch new services, the experience -- and the rich data -- will be available (quickly and easily) in the same format on any screen.
  • Second, we'll work with only a selected number of inaugural companies to monetize the potential platform. That way, our service levels can remain extremely high and extremely personalized. Instead of chasing every revenue opportunity, we'll pursue long-term, meaningful relationships in an inaugural way. 

Avoiding the Dark Side

Now here's where the risk enters the picture. At some point when a company begins to gain some traction, it often shifts from a market disrupter to a dollar chaser or data chaser -- trying to monetize absolutely everything or attempting to gather and control data in such a way that users and customers start to worry.

Avoid the dark side. Delight your customers, and the revenue will ultimately emerge. And stay tuned. I think our latest CX priorities will come into focus pretty darn soon...

Subscribe: Want to receive our blog headlines in your inbox each business day (except Fridays, when we're off the grid)? Then subscribe to our enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.