The customer experience. Is it just everything the customer experiences with your business or is it something more? I’m going to go with something more.
Most businesses, at least the ones who are enlightened enough to understand and recognize it, see the customer experience only as the customer’s experience with their company. However, as customer experience expert James Dodkins notes in his writing, that is a very limited, business-centric view. It fails to see things from the broader view of what customers have to endure in their experience of reaching their objective, whatever that objective might be.
Take, for example, a vacation trip to New York City and a hotel’s view of the experience. Many traditional thoughts would see the experience as arriving at the hotel, checking in, the room, the restaurant, pool, bar and check out. All would be the view from inside the hotel so to speak. However, think about it from the customer perspective, there are many other things they have to contend with that fall outside of just the hotel. They must plan for the weather in New York, pack, decide on all of the things they want to see and do, plan their travel, get from home to the airport or train station, go through travel hell and try to do it as efficiently and effortlessly as possible, get ground transport into the city, etc. All of that is part of their New York City vacation experience.
So what is the hotel to do, how can they possibly account for so much especially since the vast majority is out of their control? Well, they might not be able to control a lot of what the customer experiences but they can influence things and try to make it better. For example, the hotel could, on their website, have weather updates and a link to see typical weather for the time the customer is traveling. They could have helpful travel tips like packing ideas, best ground transport from airports and train stations, how to best get through airport security, the list goes on. Perhaps they could offer a service to ship luggage so customers don’t have to worry about it. Imagine a van coming to the customer’s home, picking up their luggage, and upon arrival at the hotel, the luggage is in the customer’s room.
While these are just ideas that might be causing many hoteliers to snort, laugh and make “that’ll never happen” remarks, they illustrate the possibilities for companies everywhere to consider the larger view of what customers must endure in reaching their objectives and what a little creativity might do to make things better and make your business a stand-out leader that customers want to work with.
So I have to ask, has your business looked at the entirety of the journey your customers must travel to reach success or are you still stuck in looking at just what they experience once they touch your company? How can you extend that view and begin innovating ways to make the extended journey easier and more enjoyable?