Sometimes, we get it backward.
We focus on our KPIs or on what we think the customers need or want. We deliver experiences based on our own expectations … and then the customer leaves. Because we missed their desired outcome.
How do we become masters of achieving the desired outcome? How do we assure an exceptional customer experience?
I didn’t have to go very far to find someone uniquely qualified to offer hard-won thoughts and opinions on this topic. I walked down the hall here at BombBomb to talk with Jonathan Bolton, our Senior Vice President of Operations.
A 7-year team member, Jonathan scaled our Customer Success organization from a solo act (yep, just him!) to a 30-person team (and counting!), working to create and deliver amazing customer experiences every step of the way.
We clicked “Record” for The Customer Experience Podcast and enjoyed an in-depth conversation about ensuring every customer experience is achieving the goals it should.
Among the topics we hit:
- The relationship between Customer Success and Customer Experience
- How and why to define an “appropriate experience”
- How employees are now like consumers
- The relationship between customer experience and employee experience
- Data strategy for CS and CX
- Creating alignment on desired outcomes
The Best Customer Experience Delivers an Appropriate Experience
Each podcast recording is embedded into its companion blog post … like this one!
Hear the entire conversation with Jonathan Bolton right here …
Q: “Is Customer Experience X, Y, or Z?”
A: It’s Likely a Bit of All of Those.
Often when people discuss product, they are really talking about customer experience. When others mention customer success, they likely mean customer experience. When they are talking about marketing … they still mean customer experience.
Notice the theme? Customer experience is the who, the what, the why, and the how. It’s the collective of thoughts, feelings, and stories that occur to people as they interact with any aspect of the company.
Jonathan likens customer experience to your entire relationship with someone. Your understanding of that person, and your perception of the relationship, encompasses everything you encounter attached to that individual.
- What setting did you meet them in?
- What is intriguing (or not) about them?
- What qualities are attractive or off-putting about them?
- How do they speak?
- What did you learn about them?
- Do you plan on meeting them again?
In this video clip, Jonathan shares some thoughts and observations on customer experience …
And here, he describes the implications of making customer success a company-wide initiative …
Different Expectations for Different Experiences
Consider the above example about relationships. Remember how many different relationships we have (spouse or significant other, friends, co-workers, family members, neighbors, etc.). Our expectations in each of those relationships vary.
This relates directly back to customer experience.
Because, frankly, some of our relationships are appropriately transactional. If you are going through the TSA security line, you aren’t necessarily trying to go deep about what’s going on in the officer’s personal life (and the converse is likely true). That relationship is transactional, and that’s acceptable and appropriate.
In other relationships, we crave personal connection.
The same is true in customer experience. Sometimes we need, want, or expect depth. Other times, we have immediate transactional needs – and nothing further.
Understanding Appropriate Experience
Your mission: Achieve a positive interaction at every touchpoint of the customer experience. To accomplish that mission, we must understand the appropriate experience for that interaction.
Here’s a very basic formula to determine appropriate experience:
+ Customer’s preferred experience to have that need fulfilled
= Appropriate experience
When you combine a customer’s need with their preferred experience to get there, you arrive at appropriate experience.
Here, Jonathan explains the principles behind the delivery of an appropriate experience …
Don’t Assume Your Customer’s Needs
Here’s a mistake that’s easy to make: We often impress our own desired outcomes onto our customers. Sales people (with no ill intent) do this often.
We tend to present a need based on an internal KPI or on what we think the customer likely wants. So the entire customer’s success gets tied to a false premise.
Let’s say we believe that a customer desires increased revenue from their current customers. So we sell them a product with that in mind. But maybe they were buying that exact product so they could increase top-of-funnel leads, but we missed that, because that’s not the typical use for the product offering.
Now, the entire relationship is built on a shaky foundation.
This happens more than any of us would like to admit, but there’s an easy way to resolve this problem:
- Ask why a few more times
- Document their desired outcome
If we can arrive at the customer’s true needs, and then document that need, anyone throughout the organization can go back later and ensure they are achieving those objectives.
In this clip, Jonathan talks more about this alignment on outcomes …
Are We Asking the Right Questions?
This whole idea of need is all about being proactive with our customers, in the hopes that we will have the opportunity to do business together again. This is true whether you work in real estate, a restaurant setting, or in SaaS. It’s all the same enchilada.
We’re all trying to drive at their true need – at the solution to their real problem. To get there, we’re going to need to ask questions. Lots of them. We will also have to understand what success really means to this individual client. Then, we will have to know how success will be measured for them. Lastly, we have to be flexible. Their needs (and desired outcomes) will change over time.
To catch up on past episodes and catch these conversations as they release, please subscribe to The Customer Experience Podcast.
Please leave a rating or review while you’re there!.
More Great People on The Customer Experience Podcast
- Customer success manager Nick Hart (Outreach)
- Sales process expert Jeremy Donovan (SalesLoft)
- Customer experience expert Joey Coleman (Never Lose a Customer Again)
- Cofounder and president Darin Dawson (BombBomb)
- See them all by clicking here
- Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap (Google)
- 5-time founder and 2-time CEO David Cancel (Drift)
- Founder, president, and CEO Paula Hayes (Hue Noir Cosmetics)
- Customer success leader Jordan Olivero (Swimlane)
- Product marketing expert Brian Gilman (Vonage)
With podcast questions or guest recommendations, email me at Ethan (at) BombBomb (dot) com
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