How to fix a broken customer experience

October 14, 2015

Read time 3 min

Nowadays, many companies are struggling to understand their customers’ needs. More often than not, brand experience seems to be formed by random acts. The number of marketing channels and customer touch points is increasing in a fast pace, and companies splatter more and more irrelevant and disconnected messages into these channels.

One great ad, stunt or app might excite the customers as such, but if it’s disconnected from the bigger picture, it doesn’t add any lasting value to the brand.
 Often, companies lack a shared understanding of what their desired customer experience is, and how it’s delivered throughout the customer journey.

Customers don’t care what is happening inside a company

The way an organisation works internally is directly reflected in the way it communicates with the outside world.

A siloed company is in danger of losing focus: different departments don’t talk to each other enough, let alone share information, goals and learnings. Often, the silos have formed into separate subcultures with their own goals, ways of working and views on who the customer is.

The customer is met with random acts and even contradictory messages, which leads to an incoherent experience.

We know that consistently delightful brand experiences result in happy customers and sustained loyalty. Which equals to growth in sales. Loyal customers are willing to forgive minor lapses as long as the overall experience is positive, but once the consistency is seriously broken, the following disappointment easily leads to the customer abandoning the brand.

Screenshot 2015-10-06 10.54.47

How to fix this?

There are no magic tricks or silver bullets to fix the broken customer experience. However, there are ways of doing things differently that will have a company-wide holistic impact.

1. Shared understanding of goals. Sounds obvious, and it should be. One of the things that are common to many successful companies is that they are aligned behind clear, specific and broadly understood goals and a shared vision. Company-level alignment is the foundation of all actions.

2. Simplicity over complexity. It’s wild and complex out there in the jargon jungle. Make sure you do everything you can to reduce the complexity on your part. Make goals tangible and easy to understand to everybody in the company. Steer away from complex or vague terminology. It is much easier for people to carry out a unified vision if they understand what that is.

3. True purpose. It’s OK to polarize the audience. A great brand idea does not come from serving everybody. Instead, it’s about pleasing the ones the brand decides to serve. What are the values and stories that are realized through the brand? What gives it meaning? People behind the brand should be aware of the kind of world they are creating. Build a genuine purpose, and the desired audience will follow.

Whether it’s an app, online presence, advertising, a bill or customer service, every single encounter with the brand matters. After all, a brand is a sum of all of these experiences. Why not take advantage of them all and go well beyond your competition?

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