Customer Experience is defined as the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship by Wikipedia. I like this definition which addresses the Cx as a product, and as similar to any other product, it has some defined stages which have a significant impact on its quality during the design phase.
Customer Experience (Cx) improvement became a buzzword during the last couple of years. Although Cx is not a new concept, due to rapid changes in market dynamics, and digital and economic situations, it is now being positioned as a new way of creating a strategic advantage and increasing revenues. And it is not only on the radar of commercial companies, many other types of organizations, like government agencies, non-profits, social organizations,… etc, are also focusing on this trend.
Cx has some components like Cx Journey Mapping, Touch Points, Pain Points, Emotional Curves,…etc, and I do not go into details about them in this article. But, the most crucial component of Cx improvement initiatives is to clearly answer “what is the experience that we want to improve ?“. And the biggest trap is also hidden in this question. If you focus on what your customer has been doing and try to improve it, in that case, your approach became “process improvement”, not a Cx improvement. Focusing on what your customers have been doing and trying to understand actually why they have been taking the actions you observe is the key to the success of Cx improvements and also bringing some innovation into that process.
For instance, during a surgery operation, if the surgeon is checking the monitors as one of the steps, this should be included as “checking the life conditions of the patient” within the experience journey created, not as “checking monitors”. (source Lance Bettencourt and Anthony W. Ulwick’s “The Customer-Centered Innovation Map” in HBR’s May 2008 issue). And, for such an example, assume that the surgeon is having some difficulties while checking the monitors, let's say, due to their locations. Now, here is the trap: if you focus on monitor device locations as a pain point and will bring a resolution like readjusting their locations, you’d be doing a process improvement, not a Cx improvement for such a case. But, if you take it as an issue while checking the life conditions of the patient, you may come up with some innovative changes to entirely redesign the current customer experience. For instance, you may consider providing special glasses (like Google Glass) to the surgeons, which display the real-time life conditions of the patient in front of their eyes without the need to look into a monitor. By approaching the problem like this and evaluating the pain points in such a way, beyond just addressing the pain point only, you are also redesigning the customer experience by bringing some innovation into the whole process.
Finally, there is no perfect solution for Cx improvement initiatives. Due to changes in technology and the behaviors of the customers, it is always good practice to measure the success of your Cx improvements over time and revisit the customer experience journey maps to identify new unmet needs of the customers.