The Core Concept of Customer Experience

April 04, 2012
Steve Deckert

While reading one of my favourite blogs, I had an amazingly simple, but profound, experience.

I was reading an article titled “Only One Half of Brands Can Identify Their Most Loyal Customers” on one of my favourite blogs, Marketing Profs. Just as I had finished scrolling to the bottom and finish up reading, something absolutely astounding happened: a pop out appeared. A small, white and blue pop out containing a link to another article showed itself in the lower right hand corner of the blog. Amazing, right?

Since most of you reading this won’t find a pop out, in itself, amazing, I should probably go into a more detailed explanation.

I had just finished reading another great article that I believed to be valuable. The article summarized the relevant findings from a much longer winded (but still great) report from Loyalty360. I didn’t have to enter in my contact information on Loyalty360’s blog to get the (free) report, I could simply read the most relevant content on this blog post instead. Not having to enter in my contact information was something that I found value in.

The pop out only appeared once I hit the bottom of the article, right before the comments. If it appeared earlier, it would surely interrupt my reading and I most likely would have bounced the website and valued the experience significantly lower.

The pop out’s colours matched the website. They weren’t distracting or over-the-top. They didn’t steal my attention so I could continue reading the article. Similarly, the size of the pop out was appropriate – not too big to steal the screen and interrupt my reading. If the pop out was anything close to modern call to action buttons, it would have stole my attention and reduced the value of my experience.

The article that the pop out was linking to was actually an article that I had previously read. In fact I had read it, thoroughly enjoyed the content, and decided it was worth tweeting to my followers, forwarded the article around the office and posted it on Facebook. The article was based on a Forrester report which claimed that new corporate roles dedicated to customer experience were gaining popularity. But back to the pop out; knowing what I’ve just read, the content suggestion was spot on – this was another article that I (coincidentally already had) found value in.

So what does all of this have to do with customer experience and loyalty?

You may have noticed a recurring word I used while recounting my experience: value. It is the core concept of customer experience and loyalty!

In order to create a loyal customer, we need to deliver an experience that they find valuable. That valuable experience can be brought about in many ways: making them feel special or appreciated, engaging them to make the process more interesting, giving them status based rewards such as VIP shopping events, giving them a reward just because it’s their birthday, or something as simple as giving them a small discount because they’re loyal customers.

When we are designing our loyalty program, we need to keep this value in mind. It isn’t enough to just give our customers the ability to interact with our store – we need to make sure we’re asking them to interact with us the right way, at the right time and for the right reason.

Try to view your loyalty program from your customers’ point of view. When designing your program, try to take into account where your customer has been, where they are and what they’re trying to do, and what an appropriate next step is. We can’t just throw points at customers and expect them to all respond - we need to be empathetic in loyalty design.

If you’re considering implementing a loyalty program keep this in mind when you’re initially designing your program. If you already have a program, take a second look at it – this time with your customers’ eyes. Consider the pop out, and the various ways it fit my experience perfectly in order to augment- and not interfere with – a valuable experience.