Customer experience

Customer has changed


Smart devices online access to information has changed customer and definitely has certain and strong influence to human behaviour, business and society. This change allow us and our customers to be more smart, safe, monitor over lives and … have more fun in life :)

Well-known radio DJ told a story: he was looking for a cat toilet. He went to his regular Pet Supplies Store in the super market. He was busy and actually cat toilet was not the world’s most important object for him. This particular cat toilet he wished was not available in his regular Pet Store he was used for years. Store assistant said „you could come and check next week again….“ Radio DJ turned around and went to the neighbouring Pet Store – just for checking. This type of cat toilet was not available also there, but … the assistant recommended to pick together from e-store in his computer the desired model, make the purchase and the cat toilet will arrive by tomorrow to customer’s home. So they did. And … the customer did not ask for the price as most important thing and he will use the same e-store for next purchases for his cat. Because it is really quick, very convenient and has caring attitude from a sellers side. 

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE management is one of the main business drivers today

Change is always uncomfortable – entering to the unknown area, lots of work, some mistakes, risks to failure… BUT there is no possibility to ignore the change – unless we want to be out from business.

NB! Opening access to data of both parties, us and customers has also risks to be kept in mind like data security, cyber security, information abundance. This is important to be considered as could impact customer trust towards our product significantly.

Tips to ensure the success of Net Promoter Score

Taking into account the following recommendations Net Promoter Score /NPS has a strong ability to affect company’s self-regulation in a positive way.

If NPS is set properly it has capability to influence business financial results*

The absolute key of NPS success is INVOLVEMENT of both – employees and customers. Employees have to be involved throughout the organization – both top-down and bottom-up, front line and back office and who thus deliver significant improvement in the results. Thanks to such integrated method customer opinion can shape quickly and substantially organization and it’s processes.

Most essential:

1 react NPS has real benefit if organization at all levels make judgments and really take actions based on clients’ recommendations and ratings.

2 stick to SIMPLICITY! The questionnaire must remain simple – no more than 1-2 questions, which guarantee more respondents, and usually the same (even more …) actions to improve results. If you do not have the time and opportunity to deal with all the replies, why to bother even asking! “Less is more!”

3 leave a chance to comment It may be surprising how willing customers are to explain their rating. From comments you can read more about what customers do or do not like. If the client understands the power of his word and ability to affect the company’s future development, he would be happy to contribute and the company gets regular feedback directly from the source regarding strengths and weaknesses. It is vital to build customer trust and to let her/him know that you are really reacting based on given feedback!

4 provide feedback Say the customer Thank you! for given evaluation. Or as soon as you get the negative assessment resolve the problem. Give feedback! It would be great if for example once a year you share an overview of the developments you have taken based on key recommendations made in the NPS questionnaire. Customers are more willing to give feedback if they know that this is worth and a company really reacts. Besides … this kind of 2-sided communication grows real loyalty towards you.

5 teach to listen (= respect) your customer Communicate the organization on a rolling basis (eg 1x per week) the NPS comments – show openly to all management customers’ evaluations /comments. Show the positive feedback to everyone in organization. In this way all can see and learn from the good tips. And NPS turns a very good learning tool as well teaching organization to listen and to take notice of the client. Discuss negative assessments individually with the recipient in a constructive way of the reasons of why such an evaluation was conducted and what to do for improvement. Listening in this open & regular way – makes organization really and quickly to react. No one wants to be the bad guy J!  

6 do not shape your opinion based only on one evaluation For conclusions, I recommend at least 50 responses. However, you can find out the bottlenecks in the process as early as the first estimates arrive.

7 provide “carrots and sticks” Communicate the NPS results regularly showing openly the results of all different units. This creates a good element of competition between teams. Teams find the reasoned justification, or will soon look for the ways to improve results and thoroughly analyze the client’s verdicts.

8 prioritizing is the KEY  Bind the results to performance fees – not just the customer service staff but all employees and their managers – including top management (very important!) and back office. This motivates really and quickly to be interested of the causes specified by the client and to undertake the necessary changes.

9 support healing contest! Measure the NPS results of various units in addition to the overall average NPS outcome. It is rather usual that the units within the company have different results – both by objective and subjective reasons. This kind of contest between units is healing – you as manager can just praise the best and the weakest ones start to strive quickly themselves for better results. NB! The results could be different also for objective reasons. E.g. the results of sales department are usually better than the results of customer trouble handling department. Healing contest is the best managerial situation – you can conduct positive managerial style with rapidly improving results from initiated voluntarily down-to-top J

At the beginning of the NPS method implementation variety of reactions as a rule arise as the common “course of disease” which takes approximately half a year :

non-acceptance  “what is that?”

denial “the result is not associated with my work and I can not change it anyhow!”

adaptation  “WOW  – I have experienced that through my activities I can actually change the outcome”

habitude ” I have now habit to take always into account the customer opinion”             


* I have experienced 2014 the reduction of customers churn by 21% within a year after NPS implementation in a way described above

Environmental impact on customer behavior

The economic downturn of past years has had a significant impact on consumer behavior and preferences. Consumers evaluate today significantly more personal time and increasingly prefer to conclude service deals and make purchase decisions without leaving home. Decision-making bases on a comprehensive data available on the Internet. Thus, the reliability of e-channels, in addition to the security is affected a lot by  high-speed information availability and comfort of it’s operations.

Simple and user-friendly eChannel can be created only when the provider truly understands its customer’s expectations/needs and is able to interpret client’s point of view. In addition, the company is able to build up an eChannel which is self-explanatory, easy to use for client but contains a lot of information.


New IT related opportunities in market have changed customer expectations and judgements: businesses are expected to create more transparency, customer desires to figure accurately out on what he spends money and why. Customer expects more smart and sophisticated services simultaneously the ease and speed of communication and the convenience of service setting.

If customer expects at the same time product / service complexity and simplicity, it has definitely a strong impact on the solution of a communication skills and technique in eChannel. E.g. long texts are “out” – no one has more time to read them and often does not even know how to read a longer text in any other way than “diagonal”. The visual language of communication becomes viable – data transfer through pictures and video, which in turn brings together service and design.

The communication skill is one of the keys to eChannel success. Capacities to communicate, so that the customer can get an answer to his question quickly, and even better, when the other customers can be included to this discussion. Comments are open to everyone, the company is able to respond to questions quickly and openly, without fear of negative feedback. Communication openness could be affected positively by eChannel combination with social media.

The customer is today impatient towards incompetence, but is willing to pay more for quality.


– is waiting more information on purchasing decisions but would like to understand things easily and quickly;

– wants to have a good overview of the services consumed – not realizing that, selects the cheaper price;

– evaluates the speed, convenience and a competent information more than the price;

– prefers flexibility, consumption convenience of setting up the service in an appropriate just for him manner and degree.

Why Net Promoter Score?

customerreviewpeopleToday large number of companies all over the world use the NPS index (Net Promoter Score) to measure customer satisfaction and get quick hints for development. This is despite of fact that the method of this metric is only about ten years old. NPS main principle is trivial and linear – client recommends only those brands or companies whose goodness he is sure of.

Opponents argue that the measure does not give the full picture, and often requires interpretation. Having experienced variety of different in-depth researches, I would argue that NPS one of the most effective support engine for customer focused rapid changes for an enterprise.

One of the most significant NPS secrets to success lies in the simplicity and speed for both – the company and the customer.

Companies often experience a difference in evaluation given to the company and the service staff. Why? And what to for improvement the evaluation ?

Assessments given to the company and to the employee are almost always different and in favor to the last. The better the rating for the company and the lesser the difference with the employee’s grade, the stronger is the company’s position in the market.

The most important factor on business assessment is of course the quality of specific service situation. If this is weak, it usually always has negative effect to the company results.

Another significant factor, in order to improve the company evaluations is the brand – if its content is understandable and is positively visible. In other words it’s communication presence in media, social media, personalized communications efficiency (e-commerce helps a lot in here) and public visual identity.


1. increase your footprint in social media

2. enhance bilateral regular communication in e-sales and e-service channels, which has great potential to support business communication capabilities

3. pay attention whether the company’s external brand identity coincides with the displayed messages and is not confusing.

Compliance with recommendations above has a positive impact to the NPS / customer loyalty and hence the company’s financial results!


Is waiting a part of service experience?

Average American spends 2 to 3 years of his life waiting in a line. How much do your clients need to wait during their service experience? Perhaps not every client and not in every service situation, but they surely spend a while waiting.

It’s quite common that service provider’s effort to improve service experience is focused on finding ways to reduce wait time. This is definitely necessary but whatever you do, you can never eliminate waiting 100%.

Why clients couldn’t just wait? Well, they could, but that tends to damage the overall service experience and reduce repurchase intentions. We really don’t like to wait. If we need to – we become anxious. The longer we wait, the more negative emotions pile up. For example if you feel quite tired after a long day and need to wait for your queue standing up for a couple of minutes – that’s not a big deal. Yet after twenty minutes of waiting you would be quite twitchy already. What’s even more important, when we have nothing to do – time seems to pass by much slower.

This is why the content of customers’ wait time is clearly underestimated compared to comfort during that same period (which, let’s face it, gets much more attention when designing a service). The question here is: how could we ensure that while waiting our customer maintains (or even improves) his positive mood?

The classical examples of giving customer something to do while sitting in a queue would be brochures in the bank or magazines at the hairdresser’s. These aren’t bad examples if the content of the reading materials is chosen with care and matches the service journey in general.

To summarize all that: the main challenge of service designers, in order to make sure that the wait doesn’t ruin the overall impression, is to fill that time with content that completes the service experience in a way that the customer doesn’t feel that his time was wasted.

The most important is competence … and then speed


Customers say today that the most expected from businesses is competence. And then the speed.

Considerably fewer count the price in decision making. Price becomes important when there is lack of competence and speed. The price war is for the company in most cases the downward path in spiral.

Consequently, all starts from competence?

What is competence?  This is knowledge + skill to pass this to the customer. Competent employees are also fast. But … acquiring knowledge takes time in most cases. Consequently, the smaller the service staff turnover, the greater the expertise. And you need to cut down your price less for competition.

Thus everthing begins for the company by great staff retention – fair fee, involvement, listening, development and great ambience composition.

So, a successful company can keep its good service employees … and is able to move up along the success-spiral. It’s as simple as such.

Oh, yes – good leaders are also needed. Those who are quick, dare to trust, change get everybody involved and are able to respect.

Rules for creating a Great Customer Experience

In 2005 the UK’s most outspoken chef & entrepreneur Gordon Ramsey was a speaker at Customer Management 2005, London. We made then summary of some of his quotes that are really valid also today – eight years later.

    • – leaders do not create followers – they create more leaders
    • – create an organization with buzz. You need to involve your customers as players here – it is the customers who create the ambience.
    • – wow all your customers, not only the best ones
    • – listen your customers
    • – you are the customer’s champion, challenge complacent practices in your sector
    • – do not let success go to your head and you do not take customers for granted
    • – use the best ingredients (that includes people!)
    • – all business is show business – companies from all sectors are learning how to let customer in and join the “prosumption”experience – instead of being treated as just consumers.

“If there’s a buzz in our industry about a new restaurant opening anywhere in the world, there will be a booking made for a table for six within 48 hours of the restaurant opening. Those six will be my staff – three waiters from front of house and three kitchen staff. They’ll be there to learn and to report back. That’s how we keep up with competitor innovation and stay abreast of what’s going on.”

G. Ramsay quotes

“I was interviewed on the Letterman Show in the States. He said to me ‘While you’re over here, who’s doing the cooking back at your restaurants?’ I said ‘The same people who do it when I am there.’  “We have ten restaurants around the world. I don’t cook in all of them. It’s about inspiring and developing people to aim for perfection for customers then letting them get on and deliver. The better they become, the easier my job is.” “David Letterman was wearing a very nice suit. I leant forward and asked him who made it. He flashed the Armani label and said it cost around $1,000. ‘And did Georgio do the stitching?’ I asked him.”“If I seem abrasive it’s because I have to engrain in every member of staff that we are not more important than the customer. I am demanding perfection on behalf of the customer. Part of getting that message across is we insist that staff put themselves in the position of the customer.

“I had a talented young chef who insisted on making impressive little towers out of his dishes – you know the way chefs make your food into an architectural statement. I asked him to keep them flat and simple on the plate. He was very reluctant to. “One lunch time I noticed him constructing a lamb cutlet tower of Pisa-type thing on a plate, ready to send out to the customer. I came up to him and said ’Put on an apron that doesn’t have food stains on it and follow your food into the restaurant to see what happens.’ He wouldn’t. I, er, insisted. “So he creeps out as quietly as possible, not wanting to head out of his territory, and follows the food to the customer who had ordered the lamb. The customer immediately dismantles the tower so they can eat it. The young chef is crestfallen. But he gets it. The customer is there to enjoy the flavors, not marvel at an art form. From then on he always lays the lamb out flat on the plate. Because it’s about the customer, not about your precious work of art.”

“How do you develop the social skills of a chef, putting them in touch with the customers like that on a regular basis? At Claridges, that’s one of the reasons we set up the Chef’s Table, at the edge of the kitchen, so chefs can connect with customers.“

“We had young chefs working there who had never previously met their customer. Now they were forced to. They had to spend two minutes meeting a table of people and explaining to them what they would be doing to their dishes. Then, two hours later, they had to revisit the table and ask the customers what they thought of the experience.”

“Not only is this immensely powerful for the customer experience and for putting the chef right there with the customer, it also makes financial sense: each chef’s table turns over about three-quarters of a million pounds a year in what was the pot wash area.”

What influences Customer Experience?

Previously we have written about Customer Experience and how it gives the company competitive advantage. Customer experience is vital part in experience design, where we try to analyze service through customers’ eyes. This is also important part in service design. But what customer experience and what are the differences of customer desires?

Customer Experience definition


It’s known that more than 50% of Customer Experience is about emotions. This includes also B2B environment. So this means that it is more important to look deeper inside the customer to understand their motivations, desires and what drives value for them.

In the book “Customer Experience: Future Trends and Insights” the authors have made a model where they show all of the levels of customer desires.

Customer Desire Model

In this model we see that all customer desires are divided in 4 categories:

  • SUBCONSCIOUS– they don’t say it but it still drives value
  • CONSCIOUS – customer knows they want it and it drives value
  • INVISIBLE – customers don’t want it and it doesn’t drive value
  • DECEPTION  – customers say they want it but it doesn’t drive value

It is important that company knows their customers to understand which of these desires drive value to the customer and what doesn’t!

How customer experience is linked to customer loyalty?

In case a company wants next sale, good word of mouth, to keep customers, it’s unlikely that anything else the company does for business matters more than delivering a superior experience for customer.

Positive customer experience drives willingness to consider for another purchase, willingness to recommend, and reluctance to switch to a different provider. 

Age of Customer

Business development ages

(I) 1900 to 1960 the age of manufacturing – commercial success was achieved through production efficiency and affordable price;

(II) 1960 to 1990 the age of distribution – the key barrier to competition was a distribution network that brought goods from where they were cheapest to local stores;

(III) 1990 – 2010 the age of information – companies with information-centric products and services gained vast advantage. The power started to shift from sellers to buyers;

 (IV) 2010 – … the AGE of CUSTOMER when brand, manufacturing, distribution, and IT are equal and transparent stakes. Now the customer has extensive and quick access to product, price, services and competitor information with most convenient records about other customer opinions, recommendations or warnings.

It’s very easy for customers to know about products, services, competitors, and pricing via Internet social networks, mobile web access. Customer has power to destroy the service/product sharing widely his/her negative opinion in social media. If service/ product provider does not pay attention to customer opinion statements in different social communities, then customer could have better market overview than a company.

In this age, the main competitive advantage that is well managed customer experience.

What does customer experience management mean?

For efficient customer experience management a company needs to understand that the roots of customer experience success or failure lie deep within and around the company, not just with customer-facing employeess

Disciplines that customer experience leaders must master well:  strategy, customer understanding/ human psychology, anthropology,  service design, measurement, governance, company culture

Customer experience - Customer loyalty

Most  of traditional enterprises have had customer service function responsible for customer contact competent treatment in an efficient way . Customer Experience Management has much wider prospect.

Enterprise who wants to be successful has to decide who is taking at Customer Age the wider and professional role of customer management.

Be ethical – this is good for commercial reasons

BMW knows what it should smell like to please its customers. Do you?

“BMW’s chief designer, Christopher Bangle, was walking me around BMW’s main development centre. We walked into an Eetiline olla on kasulik ka ärilistel põhjustelenormous room full of car doors. It went on for ever, like an aircraft hangar, door after door after door. ‘This is the door room,’ said Chris Bangle. ‘I thought it might be, Chris,’ I said. ‘But why do you have a door room?’  ‘Our engineers here work on the sound of the car door,’ he said. ‘Our customers tell us the door has to shut with a certain ‘Thunk’ – a particular BMW ‘Thunk’. We have a number of people here, including two submarine engineers, working on building the right sound into the doors.’

•“Then he took me into a laboratory. ‘And here,’ he said, ‘we work on the smell of the car. Our customers tell us that an essential part of owning a BMW is the smell inside the car. It makes them feel good. So we work here on getting the smell just right.’ “


SOURCE: Kjell Nordstrom, the Swedish economist, talking at European Conference on Customer Management  2005 on ‘The Power of Attraction’ – and how you have to design it into your product or experience in unexpected ways.