The 3D customer experience


Any company can create a customer experience that sets it apart from the competition.

It involves a serious, long term commitment, but means getting just three things right. They are the “three Ds”:

Design, Delivery and DNA.

Design a better experience for your target customers than your competitors offer.

Start by identifying and studying your most profitable customer segments. Try to work out the value of those who rate you high for customer satisfaction against those who rate you as low. Look at how much they spend, how long they stay with you, how often they contact you with queries or complaints.

That will show you how much extra profit increasing customer satisfaction can bring. Next, you need to see what caused customers to rate you as poor.

Here’s a real life example:

The Dutch airline KLM put its customers into different segments. They divided them into high, medium and low value. Then they divided each section into low, medium and high customer satisfaction scores. It showed improving satisfaction for just 20% of  the high value customers was worth €100 million extra profit.

They researched high value satisfied customers. Speed was what they valued most. They designed an initiative called “Make It Speedy.” This included priority security lines, relocating gates and launching a mobile check-in application.

Over time, it included everything from faster booking to a car waiting on arrival. The result was a dramatic change in how target customers felt about their trip. And a large increase in profit for the airline.

Consistently deliver a great experience, with seamless integration across all touch points.

Next you need to make the changes. Put systems in place so that things work right every time and customers feel you care about them.

American Express, for example, found that customers who lost a card found it hard to replace it. Some couldn’t find the right number to call. Others had trouble with the automated menu system. They abandoned the call, or else reached an agent who couldn’t help them.

They realised they could delight their best customers by sending them a new card overnight. The new process reduced the number of calls, and customers began using their cards again faster. It was soon profitable.

Finally, build a customer focus into your company’s DNA.

Great businesses never lose focus on the customer. Their goals, values and operations all reflect that focus. Their employees know that creating a great experience is part of their job, and they have the power to do so.

They have a customer-focused culture based on using feedback for learning and improvement. Senior executives often talk about the customer experience. It’s a part of all ongoing business reviews and strategy discussions. Senior managers talk to customers every day and take quick action to address any issues. Most build the customer experience into their employee training programmes. They also reinforce the message through internal websites and other communications.


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