10 Tips for Differentiating Customer Experiences

Updated: May 21, 2010

How do you invent great customer experiences?

1) Find out what outcomes customers expect. This is different from product or service features. Those are just means-to-an-end. The outcome is what the customer really buys.

2) Find out how customers make value judgments of each outcome.
This is different from satisfaction levels. They want outcome A to be minimized, or outcome B to be increased — get the customers' wording for this, and maintain that wording to measure your performance.

3) Find out #1 and #2 for the whole customer experience — from the point when the customer becomes aware of a need through the point when the customer no longer perceives that need.

4) Think about your role in helping the company succeed on #1 and #2 and #3 above. You do play a role in customer experience. Discuss it with your peers. Make good things happen.

5) Track the customer's value quotient: the ratio of desired outcomes to undesired outcomes. This gives you an idea of how much value versus hassle the customer sees. Customer behavior follows this automatic benefit-cost analysis.

6) Monitor your motives. If your primary reason for any decision or behavior truly has the customer's best interest (see #1 and #2 above) at heart, then you're on-track. On the other hand, if your own gain is the primary reason, with customer's gain as a secondary reason, then you're on the wrong track.

7) Borrow ideas from others. Not just competitors, or you'll only be a me-too company. Be curious and open-minded about how other industries and cultures do things. Learn from them, adapt and experiment, and use what works.

8 Be creative. "There's this common perception that some people are creative and most aren't. That's just not true. As a leader, you want everyone in your organization producing novel and useful ideas. The fact is, all the research in this field shows that anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some degree of creative work."1

9) Love complaints. When a customer take the time to share suggestions or vent frustrations, you can bet they're representative of a larger number of customers that share that sentiment — or soon will, unless an improvement occurs. Better for you to hear it and make the change before your competitors take that revenue stream.

10) Make quarterly — or more frequent — assessments of your policies, processes, skills, motivations, products and services. Assess them from the customer's viewpoint. Always keep on the lookout for ways to invent great customer experiences.

Featured Research
  • Is Your ERP Solution Out of Date?

    Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a modern, large-scale software program designed to help businesses improve the internal flow of important corporate processes and communication. more

  • How Video Conferencing is Transforming Healthcare

    The telemedicine revolution is finally happening. Experts have been discussing the potential for patients and healthcare providers to connect remotely for years, but the market is just now moving to adopt it—in a big way. Data suggests this market will grow over 14% annually through 2020! more

  • How to Update Your Contact Center Software

    If improving customer experience is important to you (it should be), then 2017 may be a good year to reevaluate the software you use for your contact center. With customer preferences shifting, the importance of an efficient contact center has never been higher. You cannot afford to simply focus on keeping costs low. Significant competitive advantages are available to businesses who manage this area effectively. more

  • Leading the IT Revolution

    The status of technology within an organization is rapidly evolving—and so is the role of the CIO. With breakthrough capabilities enabled by new technologies, a growing shortage of available developers, and an increasingly tech-savvy business user, the role of IT—and the CIO in particular—is morphing into one of strategic advisor to the business and driver of innovation within the company. more

  • Leading the IT Revolution

    The status of technology within an organization is rapidly evolving—and so is the role of the CIO. With breakthrough capabilities enabled by new technologies, a growing shortage of available developers, and an increasingly tech-savvy business user, the role of IT—and the CIO in particular—is morphing into one of strategic advisor to the business and driver of innovation within the company. more