A Framework for Influencing Customer Experience

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Customers today interact with businesses in many different ways, leading to numerous touch points and tremendous opportunities to improve their customer experience. If one considers the hundreds of interactions each customer has throughout his/her lifecycle with a company, then how does marketing management decide where to focus their limited resources?

In order to navigate this complexity, we have developed a four-step framework designed to help marketers make key decisions about where and how to improve their customer experience.

The Four-Step Customer Experience Framework

1.  Define Priority Segments

Always start by asking: For which segments? Although this may sound obvious, when striving to improve customer experience, it is critical to define the segments in the marketplace that you want your business to focus on.
2.  Map the Consumer Journey

Define the steps of the consumer journey. Remember to think of the entire journey, not just the steps your company is involved in. As an example, for home entertainment (i.e., watching a movie at home) the steps would be: notice the need, define the occasion, choose a title, get the movie, watch the movie, and reflect on the experience. It’s important to map these steps for each of your priority segments. Also important for each step of the journey is to understand the time spent, the activities performed, the criteria used to make a decision and move to the next step of the journey, and the consumer’s perceptions of how the activities rated on the criteria.

3.  Understand Influencers

Define the categories of influencers at each step of the journey. Touch points are great ways to intersect with and influence the customer experience. In the home entertainment example, the influencers would be self, retailers, external resources, friends, family members, and movie studios. Remember that the activities performed by a customer fit at the intersection of an influencer with each step of the journey. For example, in the “notice the need” stage, a customer may go to Netflix and view recommendations which would be an activity at the intersection of “notice the need”, and retailers would be the influencer. In this example, providing online recommendations that are trusted would be the touch point. For each priority segment, understanding the relative importance of various influencers by steps of the consumer journey is the key to success.

4.  Activation Ideation

Now, for the most critical touch points you could generate ideas for improvement. In the example above, an activation strategy could be to develop a studio agnostic website that incents customers to state their preferences, tracks their viewership, and accordingly makes highly relevant recommendations for what to watch next.

After you have implemented this process for the first time, it will yield recommendations for what data to collect and at which critical touch points, and what types of analyses and metrics are needed to improve the customer experience.

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