Designing customer experience through an Experience Framework (Part 1)

4 min read

Customers are the source of business growth and success. No one will argue with it. But how companies design customer experience and success will determine how fair and valid that statement is. 

Is the proverbial answer often based on (1) Integrating customer insights or (2) Determining success based on their challenges and needs (or how it can thrive throughout the journey)?If this is the traditional way of improving or designing the customer experience, I would argue that the design experience is the problem.

Seth Godin reminds us: Don’t find customers for your products; find products for your customers. In other words, build an experience that makes sense to customers, not just because it makes sense to us. 

The need for an experience framework requires alignment on four business drivers (Focus, Perspective, Metrics, and Strategy). Without the right experience strategy, it makes no sense to measure the value of customer experience.

Experience framework consists of Focus, Perspective, Metrics, and Strategy. These work together to building a Customer Experience framework. 

  1. Focus  - customers, not what our business is capable of doing.
  2. Perspective - users point of view (between product and service experience)
  3. Metrics - the guiding principles of achieving success (user stories)
  4. Strategy - process, steps, and ideas to achieve success (our stories)

Consider a leading research company that uses a technique (see below) that embodies this experience framework. Their methods are somewhat different, but the concept is the same. They categorize behaviors (focus), challenges (perspectives), strengths (metrics), and needs (strategies) at a specific time. 

Based on their methodology, companies can be one of the following:

  • Leaders: Execute well against their current vision and are well-positioned for tomorrow.
  • Visionaries: Understand where the market is going or vision for changing market rules but do not yet execute well.
  • Niche Players: Focus successfully on a small segment or are unfocused and do not out-innovate or outperform others.
  • Challengers: Execute well today but do not demonstrate an understanding of market direction.

This method is known as Gartner Magic Quadrant. It helps customers to: 

  • Get quickly educated about competing for technology providers and their ability to deliver on what end-users require today and in the future.
  • Understand how technology marketers position themselves competitively and the strategies they use to compete for the end-user business.
  • Compare technology strengths and challenges with specific needs.

There are many ways for a business to stand out and deliver the experience customers want. How does the Gartner Magic Quadrant fit into the customer experience fold or strategy? This method allows businesses to:

  • Focus on two critical things: (1) How well are they executing their vision? (2) How do they stack up against their competitors who are doing so?
  • Examine their current approach and strategy. Example: If they're not the leader in the market they serve/engage in, how do they plan to achieve (or maintain it)?
  • Provides clarity and improves the process that needs improving.
  • Measure customer experience beyond NPS, CSAT, or VOC (I prefer CLTV or Customer Lifetime Value).
  • Position the brand value, service, and outcomes toward a customer-driven perspective, not a product-driven.  

Now that we know its impact and how it helps the organization assess its current process and strategy, let us look at the framework comprehensively. First, let us understand why experience strategy is required? Mckinsey explains a successful customer experience strategy starts with an aspiration centered on what matters to customers and empowering frontline (employees) workers to deliver. Why? It does three things: (1) Create a strong basis for action (level of desired change). (2) A strong understanding of what matters to customers. (3) A shared aspiration and framework for change.

What does the experience framework do for the business to operationalize and measure the value promised to customers? In our experience, it can serve as a powerful foundation for channeling problem solving and innovation to unite team members at all levels, Mckinsey notes. This framework allows the business to identify issues and opportunities, drive tangible results and help customers focused on their top priorities. We can do that if our experience strategy equips customers to succeed and achieve their desired business goals and shared ideas as necessary components in improving their experience. 

Without a doubt, other companies orchestrate customer experience differently. It makes sense to integrate customer feedback but designing a winning customer experience starts with this simple iota: What is limiting or hindering your CX efforts? In the next article, I will discuss the four attributes and why they are the most critical driver to reinforce CX overall quality.