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 am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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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