In my speech at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum, I discussed what it takes for companies to be good at customer experience. Customer experience excellence is not about creating magical moments with charming characters or providing Internet access and couches.
Costco, for instance, was tied for 3rd in Forrester’s 2008 Customer Experience Index (CxPI) and took the #1 spot in the 2007 CxPi. And they achieved these results without attempting to be anything like Disney or Starbucks.
There’s no one-size fits all approach to designing customer experience. So what should companies do? Look to your brand! The reason that Costco and other firms can excel at customer experience is because they:
Consistently deliver on brand promises that resonate with customers
That statement represents what I feel is the essence of customer experience. To better understand what it means, here’s a deeper dive into the components of the statement:
- Consistently delivering. Great customer experience is not about periodic heroic efforts. You need to design for and institutionalize repeatability, dependability, and consistency.
- Brand promises. I write a lot in this blog about brands. Brands are more than color palettes and logos; they represent the essence of who you are as a company. Unfortunately, many firms have lost site of their brands. To deliver great experiences, organizations need to thoroughly understand the promises that their brand is making to customers.
- Resonate with customers. At the end of the day, you need to deliver value to customers. If they aren’t interested in the promises that you’re making, then your customer experience efforts will go to waste.
The bottom line: Great customer experience is brand-specific.