Establishing the Customer Experience: What Does an Experience Entail?

Establishing the Customer Experience: What Does an Experience Entail?

Establishing the Customer Experience: What Does an Experience Entail? 2400 1350 Lis Hubert

This is Part 2 in the Establishing the Customer Experience series. Part 1 discusses a holistic way to define Customer Experience, and Part 3 touches on what Establishing the Customer Experience means for your business.


What does it mean for a customer to have an experience?

In our first piece, we adopted the definition of customer experience as: “The perception customers have of their interactions with an organization.” [1].

But what, exactly, influences that perception? What are the atomic parts businesses can look at in order to empathize with customers, then unearth and fill gaps in their experience in order to shape that perception into an overall great customer experience?

The answer is simpler than you might think.

The Makings of a Customer’s Experience

Take a moment to consider an every day human experience: a walk to the park. In this thought experiment, what makes up the walker’s experience?

First, there is something they are clearly doing: walking. But, is that all that is happening? Of course not.

They are also probably thinking about something. They may be thinking how nice it is outside. Or, they might be wondering if the park will be busy. Maybe they’re trying to remember if they brought their face mask and hand sanitizer.

During all of this, they’re also probably feeling something. They might be feeling delighted at getting out into the fresh air. Or, maybe they’re feeling anxious that the park will be too busy for them to enjoy their time there.

Their experience going to the park, and the perceptions they’re creating while on that journey, are based on what they are Doing, Thinking, and Feeling.

It is these three simple elements that are the foundations of an experience.

A Business Example

These are the same elements that influence your customers’ perception when interacting with a touchpoint of your business.

Let’s say you’re a bank with robust commercial services.

Imagine a customer trying to open a new checking account through your website. What makes up their experience, influencing their perception of the interaction? The answers lie in assessing what else the customer may be Doing, Thinking, and Feeling.

For example, beyond using your site, they are probably also gathering materials to have handy to make the process smooth. They may be checking other accounts to understand how much money they can use to open the new account.

Next, we look at what they are feeling. Maybe they’re anxious because they need to get this all done in their one free hour a day after their kids are in bed. Or, they may be feeling hopeful that it’s an easy enough process so they don’t have to use tomorrow’s free hour.

Finally, there is what they are thinking. They may be wondering what type of account they should open or what type of fees they should be aware of.

As you can see, there is a lot going on that influences a customer’s perceptions of the interaction.

When you take the time to understand what these actions, thoughts, and feelings are, you can align your business tasks to meet your customer’s needs.

What To Do With Customer Actions, Thoughts, and Feelings

Now that you know the three main aspects that make up a Customer’s Experience, you can begin to understand your customer’s journey through customer research techniques. You can then use your research findings to map and improve your business’s interactions at each customer touchpoint.

We’ll talk about this more in our final piece in this series on Establishing the Customer Experience, but until then, consider what your customers may be Doing, Thinking, and Feeling every time they interact with your business.

And, of course, if you have any questions along the way reach out. We’re here to help.

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Lis Hubert

Lis is an acclaimed design and strategy thought leader, writer, and speaker with extensive expertise in Digital Strategy, Customer Experience, Information Architecture, and Design Thinking.

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