Developing Your Customer Experience Intent Statement

By Roy Barnes, Bob Kelleher

Your customer experience intent team is charged with developing your organization’s customer experience intent statement. This statement — typically no more than a paragraph or two — should convey the experiential and emotional elements you want to deliver in a way that is inspiring, measurable, and easy to understand.

Your customer experience intent statement should be built to last. It should be part of your organization for a long time. You and your team must commit to it in a serious way!

The customer experience intent statement should have depth, character, and emotion. Vagueness is a no-go. Think of the intent statement as a set of engineering specifications. It’s a blueprint of the experience you want to create for your customers.

In addition to being clear, your customer experience intent statement should be aspirational. There’s enough mediocrity in the world; don’t add to the problem! Reach a little higher than you may normally think possible. Don’t merely strive for your customers to feel satisfied. If you want to stay in business, you need customers who are pleased, happy, delighted, or even thrilled!

Your customer experience intent statement should be a stretch. It should be something that seems just outside the arc of what’s reasonable. Take a risk with your customer experience intent statement! If you’re a little nervous about whether your statement is achievable, you’re probably right on target.

That being said, if your customer experience intent statement is completely at odds with the operating reality of your business — if the words in your statement are not true today and will never realistically be true in the future — then you need to step back and start over.

Otherwise, your organization’s employees will summarily dismiss it. They must see the customer experience intent statement as attainable. It can be difficult and challenging, sure, but it must ultimately be doable.

One resource you shouldn’t mine for guidance in developing your customer experience intent statement is your company’s mission or vision statement. Why? Because many of these statements are sweet-sounding gobbledygook that don’t reference the customer experience in the actual day-to-day operating reality.

Also, you must avoid developing a customer experience intent statement that focuses on your organization’s processes, goals, and so on. The customer experience intent statement isn’t about you; it’s about them. An effective customer experience intent statement focuses on the customer — on what she will experience at your various points of interaction, or touchpoints.

If a customer were to read your statement, would she think “Hey! This is about your internal stuff. It doesn’t really talk about me”? If so, you’ve missed the mark. The response you’re going for is, “Wow. If you guys really did this, I would be amazed!”