There are good customer experiences, and then there are amazing customer experiences. Companies such as Amazon, Disney, and the Ritz-Carlton are known for delivering superior customer experiences, not because they have a secret recipe for success, but because they have the systems in place to create the magical moment that delights the customer and keeps her coming back.
“Because systems are the key behind the customer smile, any company can replicate the systems companies like Amazon and Disney use to deliver the magical customer experience moment,” Megan Burns, CEO of Experience Enterprises, a consulting firm that focuses on creating better customer and employee experiences, said during a keynote address at B2B Next 2019 today.
The three systems companies should be focusing on to improve their customer experience are Sense and Respond, Checks and Balances and Empathetic Design, she said. Once built, companies can deploy these three systems across their company so employees can work together to deliver delightful customer experiences, Burns said.
Key to Sense and Respond is listening to the customer. By doing so, suppliers can truly understand the customer’s pain points, prioritize them, then focus on solving those issues. “If you can solve a customer’s biggest problem, you will have a loyal, happy customer,” Burns said.
When creating a system of checks and balances for the customer experience, companies should develop a customer experience blue print, in addition to a customer experience journey map. While journey maps are an important first step in creating a customer experience—because they identify potential problems areas in the customer experience, as well as possible fixes—they are often shelved by employees after they have been drawn.
In contrast, journey blueprints are documents companies can reference throughout the customer experience-building process to be sure they are implementing the right fixes, as well as during the management phase to see how well they are executing their customer experience strategy.
“While journey maps are useful tools in the customer experience toolkit, it can be tough to keep others in the organization referencing them once they have been created,” Burns said. “A blueprint is used to build something. It can also be used to measure the effectiveness of the customer experience.”
For example, a journey blueprint can tell a company that, while it is executing its customer experience strategy properly, changes in the market require the strategy to be adjusted,” Burns said.
Journey blueprints also give employees a sense of ownership over the customer experience, by showing them what needs to come together to build a top-flight customer experience, Burns added.
Taking the customer’s point of view into account is at the heart of Empathetic Design. To illustrate her point, Burns told a story of how GE engineers touring a healthcare facility learned that about 90% of the children getting an MRI scan needed to be sedated before entering the imaging machine. That piece of information got the engineers contemplating ways to rethink the MRI experience to make it less frightening and overwhelming for kids, so that they did not have to be sedated.
The solution was to create an adventure park theme around the MRI so that children felt more at ease when getting a scan. The change proved successful, as fewer children entering the themed MRI machines needed a sedative. “When you come at customer design from the customer’s perspective, rather than a product or process perspective, you get a different, and better outcome,” Burns said.
Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.
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