“It’s all the touch points, all the interactions that they’ve had, and most importantly, how they feel about it.”
Jason Friedman is the CEO of CXFormula, LLC. CXFormula partners with businesses, brands and institutions to create experiences – building and enhancing deep, lifelong relationships. Jason breaks down exactly what the customer experience is and what steps businesses can take to ensure that this journey is unique.
What is the Customer Journey?
Jason: “A customer experience is the feelings that a customer has about the interactions with your brand or your business. The journey that they go on are all these touch points, all the various interactions that they have with your brand. Pre-customer all the way through to hopefully a raving fan if they’ve purchased, and that post-purchase part of the experience. So that customer journey is what they’ve gone on. It’s all the touch points, all the interactions that they’ve had, and most importantly, how they feel about it. It’s not always what you’ve done.”
Jason: “All the things that you do impact that experience. If you can understand it from that other person’s perspective, how are they feeling about it? Do they feel cared for? Do they feel understood? Do they feel like you’re supporting them? Then you’ll win. If you design that journey and you really think about it strategically, it’s hard to lose.”
Design The Experience.
Jason: “As you look at other businesses out there, one of the things we love to have people do is to go out there as a consumer and shop experiences. For example, go to Disney and see what elements of that experience you feel really good about. What do you like? What do you not like? I tell people, create an experience journal. Write down the things that happened, how it makes you feel, dig deeper, and see why did it made you feel that way. A lot of times you’ll find that it’s an internal thing. I have a memory from the past that it triggered that made me feel warm and great.”
Jason: “Learn from all these experiences. You don’t have to copy someone else’s experience. You don’t have to do it the same. The thing that’s really true, a service is actually commoditized these days. It used to be where a product was the commodity and a service was the benefit. Services are commoditized now. The only thing that’s really not commoditized that can be really, truly unique is the experience you create.”
Jason: “That’s what we believe. That’s what we teach. That’s how we help people think about it. So you need to create your own unique brand experience. So look at the other things that are out there, pull ideas from all these other people, and then put it together in your own way. In your own journey for your customers.”
SAQs and Setting Expectations
Jason: “Once you get through those FAQs, the Frequently Asked Questions, then the next level is the Should Ask Questions, SAQs. What are the questions that these customers should be asking about your brand and about the service? As you start to think these through, from that customer’s perspective, you end up with this huge arsenal of opportunities that you can start to build and stitch into that journey.”
Jason: “Every business can do this. The thing that’s most important to remember, and I talk about this in our program, is people don’t want everything to be a 10 out of 10. If there is no light, is there dark? If there is no skinny, is there fat? You need the contrast. So if everything’s a 10, it’s just average. It’s not a 10 anymore. So if you baseline at setting expectations of a 7, then you could add an 8, which exceeds expectations. You can add a 9. You can add a 10 strategically, and they’ll start to appreciate the 10 because there’s a contrast to 7.”
Jason: They can see the jump and how much better that is. If you take them on that rollercoaster, never getting too low, but ups and downs, people love that. Strategically over-deliver. Find the moments that will have the most impact from the customer’s perspective through their lens, and pick those as the key moments to go above and beyond. They will appreciate those above and beyond moments when they can differentiate them from the regular moments.”
Mission Vision Values
Jason: “One of the most important things I find in businesses is to really get their employees and their teams to understand what customer experience is all about. Start to actually share stories, real case studies of excellent customer experience in action in your business. Mission vision values I think is one of the most important things in a business.”
Jason: “Mission vision values to me is almost everything. When you start looking at the core values of your business, like integrity, honesty, respect, start to put stories behind those. How has that showed up between employees? How has that showed up with our customers? What are some of the best ways that customers have experienced positive results? Start to incentivize your employees, whether it be through recognition, through monetary means, through performance-based compensation, through bonuses, through whatever that is. Start to align customer experience outcomes with the behaviors that our employees are doing on a daily basis that beget those results.”
Jason: “When you start creating incentives and education for employees on how to do things that are going to get those results, again, you win almost every time. It starts this really awesome flywheel spinning of momentum. Culture in your business is everything in my opinion. You can’t have a great customer experience if you don’t have a great employee experience.”