Customer Experience has been lingering for long as a unique mythical term that is almost semi-understood or sometimes perceived as customer support, or customer services, or customer care, yet it hasn’t had a definitive definition in people’s minds with a relative exception to customer experience professionals. The definition of customer experience is pivotal to the management of customer experience and is needed in a practical sense rather than a theoretical context. Practicality is a key matter when it comes to customer experience, since it emerged distinctively from customers.
Customer Experience is one key notion that enjoys this privilege of emergence from customers, whereas this gives it an un-paralleled power and additional powers has been gained by organising the important notion into a science. That being said, the definition of customer experience management covers two main aspects; the emotional dimension – obviously due to its emergence and origination from people – and the functional dimension of the customer relationship with his/her services provider(s).
This definition is meaningful in a sense, yet needs more clarity and dimensioning to enable a vivid four dimensional view of customer experience, here comes the four E dimensioning model as a defining and guiding frame for the customer experience excellence management model.
- Emotions: The one word that carries the magical power of describing customer experience in all meanings and from multiple angles, it is the summary of the customer experience; the resultant of all customer experience plans and actual work. Upon every customer interaction with his/her service provider, his/her emotions are the real product that the customer carries with him back home. Think of all the experiences that you have gone through, probe further, and try to remember the emotions that was associated with it, and if they are positive, then simply your customer’s experience is positive, and if negative, then the experience is a lose case! Simply again customer’s experience is the customer’s emotions
- Expectations: The second dimension of the four Es equation which act as the benchmark within the customer’s mind. The gauge that when properly adjusted will fix the customers’ experience. In the customer experience excellence world, managing customer expectations is connected to the topics of branding, marketing and advertising, since these are the sources of “Customer promises”, whereas customer experience science clearly advises delivering what is promised or in other instance promising what is deliverable, this includes lowering customer’s expectations in specific situations and particular cases. The expectations are an integral part of the customer emotions and when service providers exceed it, the experience/emotions shall be positive, meet expectations will guarantee the minimum satisfaction, yet under delivering on customer expectations will yield negative emotions/experience. The expectations management entails as well knowing the customer expectations and also working consistently on meeting or exceeding them.
3. Efforts: By adding the customer’s efforts, we get a 3D view on the equation. If you remember any service situation, when you had to go through lots of efforts in your way to attain your service, you will end up with a hesitant view to re-repeat such an experience. Every one of us as a customer is cautious about the amount of effort he is directed to exert. This is namely derived from the process design that is usually carried by the service provider seeking to attain key internal business objectives, yet forgetting the customer view point as a key input, accordingly processes need to reviewed and re-engineered moving from the old model of moving between desks with a focus of decreasing customer’s efforts. This third E acts as a key integral part of the customer experience excellence equation, whereas the more effort, the customer exerts, the more negative is the customer experience/emotions.
4. Execution: The fourth E that has completed the 4 D view of the scene, whereas every one of us as a customer is interacting with his service provider seeking a task execution and if done, this will have some sort of a non-definitive, yet a relative impact on the customer experience. Clearly, in situations, despite getting the task executed – which is of importance to the customer – the dimensions of efforts, emotions and expectations will function together to shape the equation. In cases, where the task will be executed, yet associated with negative emotions or high efforts or under delivery on expectations could still lead to a negative experience. Clearly, execution is an important customer objective and its attainment is part of the functional customer experience aspects, however it must work in harmony with the other three Es.
In conclusion, the four Es are important dimensioning aspects for the customer experience excellence management and they all work in integration and harmony. The four Es are to be counted for in the planning phase, to be continuously measured and seen on the dashboard and lastly, to be practically managed and driven pragmatically within the organisation in a continuous improvement model for multiple dimensions.
Hany Mokhtar carries strong commercial & business experience spanning more than 17 years in fields of telecom & IT. Hany is one of the renowned gurus and thought leaders in the areas of Customer Experience and Marketing, whereas he has worked with Multiple operators, Service providers, and renowned consultancy houses across the customer value chain, and as well comes with diversity of on the ground expertise and execution with noteable results in areas of; Customer Experience transformation, Strategy & Marketing planning and Market management, Propositions & Products development, Processes re-engineering, and Customer support. Hany is currently the Director of customer experience for Zain SA and has been heading both the commercial support & customer excellence function for Mobily leading the Customer experience, Loyalty &Retention and Business Development.