Customer experience? Companies are missing the point


I’ve just finished reading this thought-provoking piece about customer experience, and how the phrase is starting to creep into organizations’ marketing and advertising.

Andrew McInnes makes the point that everyday customers don’t use the term ‘customer experience’ and even when it’s explained to them they don’t really understand it beyond ‘customer service’.

I agree, they don’t – and why should they? Moreover, in my own field of customer communications – arguably, a hugely important aspect of customer experience – they also don’t classify themselves by the silos organizations are keen to keep them in.

On more than one occasion, and in all seriousness, I’ve heard marketing folk describe an individual or group as ‘email customers’, or ‘SMS customers’.

That’s not how customers see themselves, if they see themselves in any kind of relationship with a brand at all. Customers can be loyal or fickle, depending on circumstance (Andrew only went to the Firestone service station because it was a Sunday, and his usual place was closed).

And they can change their minds about their channel preferences at the drop of a hat, as the exponential growth of smartphones and other mobile technologies shows.

Woe betide the marketer who assumes that ‘customer experience’ is a fixed state; or that a customer, once classified, will never alter his or her behavior.

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Rod Hirsch is Global Director Brand and Content at Thunderhead. Joining the Thunderhead team in 2010, Rod has spearheaded the development of the Thunderhead voice, building the company’s brand strategy and content and bringing alive its vision and expertise in multi-channel customer engagement. With over 30 years in the business of building brands for B2B clients, Rod has combined strategic thinking and tactical implementation to deliver award-winning programmes for starts-ups and multinationals alike.