Customer experience is a mindset – develop an interest in creating out-of-world experiences contextually


The concept of who a customer is has more to do with life than the common reference within a business context. Simply put a customer is someone with whom we exchange value. Therefore, in a business sense, we will exchange money for a product or service. A retail store will sell products to its customers and offer some unique services to entice and retain them in exchange for value. Within a business context, we exchange our services for wages and salaries. These transactions take place in the business domain. Consider the waakye seller’s situation, it mirrors the business scenario as we go to them and purchase a meal to serve our needs.

When I offer my services as an employee, when I serve in the church, or do my chores at home I am serving a customer. I need the right thinking-frame to deliver what will be a unique experience, one that will be remembered for as long as it stays in the mind. Naturally, the kind of encounter determines how long the experience remains top of mind. Customer experience is your customers’ perceptions (both conscious and subconscious) of their relationship with your brand resulting from all their interactions with your brand during the customer life cycle. If we understand this philosophy it will feed into how we engage others regardless of context.

When our motivation is to react to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, ensure customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy we are poised for a great customer experience. Therefore, if I serve in church, at work, or home my interaction with the “customer” must generate positive responses from those who are beneficiaries of my service. My loyalty at work or in whatever setting if it touches the heart of the beneficiary then chances are that they are going to feel satisfied from the interaction. The point I am making today is that customer experience is applicable in any context. Being intentional about it can be helpful.

The average customer comes to you with an expectation and in the encounter compares what happens to the desired service and the level of service they consider adequate. Unfortunately, the conclusion may not necessarily be based on rational judgment. This is why empathizing with the customer is so important. A friend of mine buys waakye from a popular joint and always gets served first because of the relationship. The seller would quickly respond to my friend’s banter and serve the waakye while others waited. I can wager that the waakye seller has other favourites besides my friend, who naturally receives a similar treat.

Putting the customer’s needs first and going a step further to think above and beyond what can be done to improve the customer experience is what is needed here. Here are a few pointers to set the tone. First, turn strategy into everyday habits that feed into the customer experience narrative. Second, align your customer experience agenda with your company’s goals. Third, start the journey by asking the questions needed to design the right fit customer experience. Fourth, set up mechanisms to measure success to keep you focused on delivering value. Fifth, identify and focus on improvements to sustain momentum.

Strategy in Action

Many companies today will proudly flaunt their vision to the rest of the world. Translating this into real work and making it relevant to what happens at the workplace daily can be a tough act. This suggests that it is not enough to have a vision and a strategy, you need more than just the plans to bring it to fruition. The real effect kicks in when those plans are turned into behaviours, best practices, and business discipline to realize what was birthed in the vision. You must aim to create a customer experience habit by ensuring that leaders know and understand their regular responsibilities around CX. In other words, it is not just a project, it is a way of doing business.

The average Joe must understand the mission in both words and actions across the organization. They must be aligned with how success is measured always asking the question “What will success look like?” All the planning must revolve around the customer therefore developing an intuitive understanding of the customer’s preferences is key to achieving this. Start your planning with the customer, from designing new products to sending invoices and everything else along the journey. Next, galvanize teams around a shared understanding of the customer and the experiences your organization is committed to delivering.

Empower your employees and align them to a clear brand purpose. These are key drivers of exceptional CX. Your goal is to establish brand consistency and deliver a positive employee experience (EX)? When we emphasize human behaviour insights, we bring out the best in people and truly optimize our business performance through talent. Two things to do to achieve this are; first, assign employees to roles where they have the natural talent. It is an experience that boosts confidence. Second, ensure your employees understand their contribution to your mission, this way they work with a purpose.

Ultimately it becomes an experience that supports their engagement over time. Ensure that employees have great managers who care for them and know how to coach them. This kind of experience enhances productivity and passion.

Align CX with Company Goals

Creating a unique experience implies an understanding of what success looks like in terms of what to offer to keep the customer satisfied and wanting to come for more. This responsibility cuts across the whole organization and not just the leadership. The customer experience investment needs to provide a return for the organization. Financial outcomes are certainly part of this, but it could include other goals. CX leaders must understand what metrics matter at their company.  Ensure that the metrics are driven by the desire to attend to the needs of the customer intuitively.

A salesman was given an annual goal to project his company’s brand as the most preferred brand in the industry. This was measured by what share of the market they earned. It was a well-communicated, aspirational goal. The customer experience strategy was tied to this by aiming for goals that would support this overall brand goal. This meant the strategy included ways to increase referrals, improve retention rates, and more. The claim of being nice to customers is not very “sweet” in the ears of C-Suite leaders. What sounds nice to them is “Let’s build the right vision, strategy, and outcomes around customer experience to meet our overall goals.”

Your quest to align your CX with company goals starts with the customer journey. Start with an overview outlook by developing the company’s balanced scorecard made popular by business consultants Robert Kaplan and David Norton. The areas outlined here are, learning and growth of employees, outlining knowledge, skills, and systems the organization needs to deliver the intended value. Next is internal processes reflecting the capabilities and efficiencies of the organization as a whole. You then go on to assess what customers perceive as value. The final strand is the value created by the business in terms of financial gains.

Determine Right Fit

There is no one one-size-fits-all to develop a CX strategy, just as there is no perfect way to build a business. Therefore, your initial step would be to start asking questions that will shed some light on what you need to prioritize. A few suggested questions include; Do we know who our customers are? Have we identified personas and/or customer segments? What metrics are used to measure customer experience? How often are we gathering customer feedback? Is it consistent? Are there customer journey maps, empathy maps, stakeholder maps, etc.? How are we prioritizing customer experience improvement initiatives?

The final question on the list is, “Do our employees understand how their efforts are tied directly to the customer experience?” These search questions will enable us to achieve a very good level of understanding of who our customers are and what their needs are. Trying to understand the customer holistically will lead us to also look at who our employees are and how they align with our customer-centric mindset. How accurate are our personas and how diligently are we leveraging our insights to deliver great experiences to our customers? What cannot be measured cannot be managed, this enjoins us to measure the right metrics.

The goal is to develop a fit for the business. We could all be in the same industry but it won’t guarantee the use of the same strategy for us. Two retail outlets will deploy unique strategies based on their make-up encompassing the organization’s infrastructure, ownership, values, vision and mission, and so on. These are all determinants that need to be addressed. The culture in both businesses will differ depending on the background of the ownership and more importantly the leadership. It is all about customization and is best achieved by thoroughly examining your context.

Measure Success

You have birthed your strategy, you have aligned your CX with your company’s goals, and you have determined what would be the best fit for your business you now need to assess the impact of your interventions by listening to the customer and anyone else who is a stakeholder within your framework. To know if your journey map is successful you need to create a way to measure success for each part of your journey. Tie the outcome to business goals. Note this example, success might be measured for a retail brand by “completing one customer journey map for the Afua-in-a-Hurry persona.”

You can take that one step further to add clarity and focus. The goal of that customer understanding might be “To improve Net Promoter Score (NPS) results for Afua within the next 12 months.” Note that it is about how you started with the overall company goals. If the overall signal to you that improving NPS results will lead to higher revenue overall, this is a clear indicator of success for the organization. Take the time to painstakingly understand and communicate how success will be measured for each part of your Customer Experience strategy. Develop an actionable way to measure your experience.

By Improving customer experience measurement, you position your business to be effective and efficient in listening and learning from your customers to enable you to deliver the experiences they demand. The emergence of new technologies presents new opportunities for discovering and delivering bespoke services for your customers. The recommended approach is to prioritize your customers and their goals first, then align your department and business KPIs and success metrics to those goals. By measuring activities taking place on your journey, you enhance your ability to identify and improve pain points for every customer.

Focus on Improvements

Customer Experience focuses on customer needs, expectations, understanding, and product improvement. To keep moving in that direction we must build capabilities for capturing feedback and acting on insights to enable us to keep a keen eye on our customer’s needs, to enable us to create better products and attract and retain customers. This is an important requirement for the success of any CX initiative. Primarily, as a business, we need a solid customer experience strategy to enhance client experience across all the touchpoints. The reason is that consumers expect a positive experience, not just a transactional relationship, with the brand.

The rewards for improved services are immense. According to research customers who had previous best experience spent 140% more compared to those who had a bad experience. Having a satisfying brand experience results in higher customer lifetime value (CLTV). CLTV is a business metric for measuring and improving the customer experience. Businesses use it to understand how valuable a customer is to their company; this is not measured from purchase to purchase, rather, CLV measures the average customer’s value over the entire duration of their relationship with the business. Delivering prompt service boosts customer satisfaction and encourages them to maintain their preference for your business.

There is no limit to the interventions that will drive your CX upwards and keep customers coming back. An omnichannel strategy enables you to develop multiple channels for sales, customer support, and marketing. An omnichannel experience delivers seamless service between communication methods.  Ensure that your customer-facing teams are well-resourced to address customer issues. They are the first people customers will interact with. They act as a lasting first impression of your brand or business. Customers feel valued and honoured when you include them as your team and give them credit for your success.

Service teams must operate with a customer service mindset, this way they are not only solving customer needs and issues but also thinking about what can make the overall customer experience better. When your teams understand the customer they will approach every interaction with empathy, patience, and a kind heart.


The Writer is Head of Training Development & Research

Service Excellence Foundation, and Management Consultant (Change and Customer Experience). He can be reached on 059 175 7205,

[email protected],


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