Customer relationship, customer insight, customer retention, customer proposition, customer experience, customer journey, customer-centric, customer analytics, customer loyalty, customer value, customer satisfaction, customer equity, customer intelligence, customer contact strategy……the poor customer they have been so slice-n-diced by so many people over so many years they must be a messy pile of little cubes on the floor. So finding something new about customers is always a pleasure.

Now I have been dabbling a little in the area of Customer Experience. I’m working on a project where we are modelling the behaviour of our customers over the last three-years and linking this to the interactions they have with us. A bit of research took me to material on Customer Journey so accordingly I got in contact with our in-house team. This resulted in me getting a copy of “Building Great Customer Experience” by Beyond Philosophy.

Start by imagining you’re a Lean Six Sigma practitioner and you invest considerable time on Voice of the Customer research to understand what your customers care about and gather their explicit & implicit needs. It is likely this would include focus groups, kano-analysis, affinity diagrams and moment of truth analysis to produce a clear and rational CTQ-Tree. You have your well defined targets e.g. deliver within 5 minutes of appointment time, include follow-up call to confirm customer satisfied, greet customer by name on arrival.

All this is great, we can define the physical things we need to deliver for a great customer experience. But what this book gave me was one of those ‘Aha!’ light-bulb moments. They take the customer experience one step forward. Take for example two scenarios of checking into a hotel:

Scenario 1: Arrive 6pm direct from busy day in office
Clerk very busy and have to wait 10 minutes (CTQ: – 5 min max). Telephone rings and clerk takes call while dealing with me (CTQ: – customer comes first). Room key doesn’t work and need to return for new key (CTQ: – right first time).

Am I bothered? Not really, stuff happens.

Scenario 2: Arrive 11:45pm after 7-hour dreadful journey
The situation is exactly the same as before.

Am I bothered? Light the blue touch paper and stand well back.

In a nutshell what they say is, “The physical CTQ’s are great and without them you will always struggle in business, but people’s emotions play a bigger part in the decision making process”. So obvious but its good to have it explained and gives my VoC a new dimension, variable CTQ’s. I believe this came from the original work of Daniel Goleman on Emotional Intelligence. Extremely useful to know about.

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