The 7 Core Elements of a Great Customer Experience

By Roy Barnes, Bob Kelleher

A great customer experience does more than please your customers. It influences them to change their behaviors and do more business with your organization. (That means a great customer experience will ultimately make you more money!)

But how do you offer a great customer experience? Here are seven core elements:

  • Offering relevant solutions

    In dealing with customers, you must leverage your understanding of what your customers are really trying to accomplish — that is, the series of actions they seek to complete — and of how they think about and react to what happens to them along the way. You must also ferret out ways to solve problems that customers may not be able to articulate or even realize that they have.

  • Assuring and protecting trust

    If your organization violates a customer’s trust, it’s an experience killer; you can bet that customer will think twice before doing business with you again.

  • Eliminating the unjust

    Customers often have a surprisingly vehement reaction to things they perceive as unfair. Just because you can charge for something doesn’t mean you should.

  • Going above and beyond

    Customer experiences that deliver just a tiny bit more than the customer expects can go further in fostering engagement than you may expect. You don’t want to miss any opportunity to go beyond what’s expected to engage and delight your customers. Any communication you have with customers is an opportunity to delight them.

  • Balancing customer experience with business profitability

    You can buy happiness, just not for long. Creating a great customer experience is easy if you’re willing to throw a lot of money at the effort. But unfortunately, no business can sustain that for long.

    The best customer experiences create recognizable and obvious value for your customers, at no or little cost to your organization. To achieve this, you must ensure that your human assets — the people you’re already paying — are at the root of those experiences.

  • Engaging all human facets

    Your customers are human beings (even if they don’t always act that way). As such, they are complicated beings with complex lives. They’re not numbers, nor are they transactions. It’s imperative that you and your organization remember this, and treat them accordingly.

    Providing a great customer experience means addressing all facets of your fellow human beings’ physical, intellectual, and emotional needs. In other words, it means treating customers as the unique individuals they are.

  • Having a consistent and authentic brand

    Each and every year, organizations spend hundreds of millions of marketing dollars in branding efforts. That means creating positioning statements, developing logos, and poring over presentation decks, all in an attempt to establish in their customers’ minds an idea of who the organization really is.

    The reality is, any branding effort will result in a description of who the organization wants to be, not what it is. What an organization is — what its brand really means — is nothing other than the sum total of how its customers perceive it in their minute-by-minute, day-by-day touchpoint interactions.

    Often, customers experience a disconnect between marketing dreams and operational reality. Put another way, what’s on the box doesn’t match what’s inside. If the brand you put forth in your marketing efforts doesn’t jibe with what your customers experience in real life — if your story isn’t backed up by the facts — you’re not just wasting your marketing dollars, you’re alienating your customers.