Understanding the Customer Experience

I had the good fortune to be part of a BPM Forum discussion about the customer experience and what is more important, data or process. The perspectives presented by my colleagues are all valid in that in the end, it is what the customer perceives as a good or bad experience. One customer may feel their experience was good awhile the next customer expresses frustration. The question to answer is what causes one to feel good about their experience, and the other frustration.

To answer this, we have to understand the customers’ view and look at interactions as they would. (In days of old we would use “focus groups” to understand expectations, computer-stress1evaluate their experience, and refine the products and services accordingly.) In the case of data vs. process, the mindset should be they are mutually important and interdependent upon each other. Process without data serves no purpose while data without process remains static and goes nowhere.

An additional element to this is the solution-to-human interface and how all of this relates to the user. Is the interface simple and the process easy to navigate, or are there many steps to take before the end result is reached? Consider the changes made in banking and making a check deposit. Where once you had to physically go enter a bank and interact with the bank teller, today it is as simple as taking a picture of the check with your mobile phone, and uploading it through the bank’s mobile application. There isn’t even a requirement to use an ATM, which everyone thought was a major milestone.

In my view, we cannot create an effective customer experience by segregating data from process from human interaction. The approach should be a holistic view that includes these elements through the eyes of the target customer. Internal customers will view things differently than an external customer. While the goal may be to get the right data to the right person at the right time, securely and accurately, it should not be cumbersome and frustrating. If it is, they will avoid it or leave you. If it is simple, concise, and pleasant, they will stay with you and encourage others to join.

This is a big topic that can seem complex, and I know this causes one to ask more questions, but it is from these questions that we learn and become better in serving our customers.

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