by: Karl Long

You know i’ve complained mightily that every time I find a company that claims to be a “customer experience management” company, they turn out to be a refugee from the CRM industry, looking to install unusable software for huge fees and get the hell out of there.

Well managing the customer experience IS NOT A TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM, its a DESIGN problem, and I don’t mean “graphic design” or “brand design” its an “organizational design” problem. ie. the business is not “designed” with the customer in mind. So it’s a problem that spans often vertical departments. It’s an HR problem, a business process problem, a training problem, a management problem etc. In fact its usually a problem that only the highest echelons of a company can effect because if all the departments aren’t in sync the customer experience will be fucked up.

Ok, so Bob Jacobson posted this company, LRA Worldwide (hmm, doesn’t sound very experiential) to the experience design yahoo group and on first glance it looks like they really understand “customer experience” now admittedly we can only gain so much from copy, but IMHO this is one of the best articulations I’ve seen thus far:

Customer Experience Management is a relatively new term with a number with a number of different interpretations in the marketplace. Our view of Customer Experience Management, however, is quite simple. Every time a company and a customer interact, the customer learns something about the company that will either strengthen or weaken the future relationship and that customer’s desire to return, spend more and recommend.

Amen brother.

So what’s the process?

  • Identify and prioritize the interactive, experiential touch points that comprise the customer experience and identify the current state of the customer experience
  • Design the optimal future customer experience at these “moments of truth;”
  • Implement standards, internal branding, training, performance measurement and reward and recognition programs to ensure that the desired customer experience is effectively communicated and sustained throughout the enterprise.

Ooooh, training, internal branding, sounds boring, so then we build something out of flash, right?

No sign of flash, and I’ve looked all through their methodology.

The result—an entire organization completely aligned around a clearly-articulated, shared vision of the optimal customer experience, where “random” experiences give way to carefully planned, repeatable and exceptional experiences, and each interaction moves the customer from “satisfied” to “loyal” to “advocate.”

Ahhh, looks like they’ve read the Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge, shared vision is a powerful thing.

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