It is probably best to start out with a definition for customer experience. Customer experience (according to Wikipedia) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with your goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with you. Initially there is awareness and discovery your services even exists, then attraction to your services and interaction with your organization, followed hopefully by purchase and use of your services, and finally cultivation and advocacy. Customer experience can also be used to mean an individual experience over one interaction with your organization.
An example of a company we are all familiar with and provides what most think is a great customer experience is Disney. My family recently visited the Magic Kingdom (in Orlando Florida) and I quickly realized why Disney is second to none when it comes to customer experience. They have a user friendly website with pricing packages to meet a variety of budgets. When you call to speak with their customer service agents they are friendly and most importantly they seem to always have the answer you need. Even their phone system is infused with features to make you smile like pixy dust sounds and swooshes when you are waiting or make menu selections. Staying at any of the resorts within the park you can expect every amenity at your finger tips.
I mistakenly did not see the coffee packets for the in room coffee maker and called the front desk to ask how to get them. They didn’t argue with me or ask me to look harder, they simply sent a runner to deliver 20 (I only wanted one) to our room as fast as he could get there. A great example of a great customer experience. Last but not least is the Disney park. It is a well oiled experience machine. Every detail, trash cans every 30 feet, food and drinks a plenty, detailed maps and signs, fast-pass line service so you can return to rides with long lines at a later scheduled time and move to the front, it goes on and on. There is even a book written by Fred Lee called “If Disney Ran your Hospital” that takes an incredible look at the Disney customer service philosophy as it could relate to health care.
The continued success of Disney, Zappos.com, and other companies is closely linked to the incredible customer experience they deliver. This has ushered in a new era where the management focus is more on the customers lifetime experience with a company rather than a single contact or transaction point. Next we will look at the importance of customer customer experience as it relates to the business strategy, operations and ultimately increased same client sales, loyalty and in some cases advocacy and evangelism. Stay tuned …