Stop Neglecting Your Non-Customer Experience

Companies don’t typically understand the experiences of their customers, but that’s often not their biggest measurement problem. They know even less about the people who aren’t their customers.

In the report The State of CX Metrics, 2011, Temkin Group examined how large companies track the experiences of customers. Here’s some of the data from that report organized roughly in a customer lifecycle.

My take: As you can see, 60% of respondents think that they do a good job measuring customer service experiences. And that’s the most effective area of measurement. At the other end of the spectrum, only 15% think they do a good job examining prospects and 12% do a good job with defecting customers.

An overwhelming majority of companies have no idea about the experiences that cause people to not become customers or for customers to leave them, I call these your non-customers. This can be a serious blind spot.

It’s very possible for companies to listen to their existing customers very well, and continue to optimize around a smaller and smaller set of customers. In this case, they may have strong feedback data (e.g., good “satisfaction” or “NPS” scores), but experience poor business results. Scores are being buoyed because there’s no feedback from non-customers that may be leaving or staying away.

This can be a serious problem if non-customers represents a large or growing number of your target customers.

The bottom line: Non-customer experience matters.

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

One thought on “Stop Neglecting Your Non-Customer Experience”

  1. I know of a few organizations where customer satisfaction runs high but where business results don’t reflect that. I suspect these organizations have compensation plans structured where there’s more reward in securing a new customer than there is in retaining an existing one. As long as that “fill the funnel” mind-set prevails and as long as what’s going into the funnel exceeds what’s falling out, some organizations will continue along this path. We Customer Experience professionals know better and when it comes to understanding why a customer defected there’s no one better equipped to answer that question than the customer that defected. Non-customer experience matters indeed.

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