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It’s Not Just Moments-Of-Truth: It’s the End-To-End Experience

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The findings of a powerful research study emerged in the Harvard Business Review last year and it’s clear from the behavior of some companies I’ve visited recently that word has not been disseminated widely.  The article was titled “The Truth About Customer Experience” and in it the authors Alex Rawson, Ewan Duncan, and Conor Jones noted that customer satisfaction at transactional touch points with your brand may positively distort how customers truly feel and more importantly how they behave toward your company.  Here is the lynchpin conclusion of their work:

“In our research and consulting on customer journeys, we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction. They also discover more-effective ways to collaborate across functions and levels, a process that delivers gains throughout the company.”

The power of those two sentences is so profound I need to unpack their content.  Customer experience is not about winning a few battles it is about winning the entire war.  A victory with a cut-over in one silo of the business may result in transactional satisfaction that has little to do with repeat business with that customer; particularly, if the customer is dissatisfied in another silo or is neglected in between what a company views as “moments-of-truth.”    Success at touch points does not necessarily translate to roll-up measures of emotional engagement or loyalty.  Doing well at key moments in a badly designed process or customer journey may get you a few positive satisfaction scores but also a customer ripe to churn to a competitor.

The big message here is measure both the overall experience with roll-up metrics and satisfaction at touch points.  Work to design, refine, and execute the end-to-end customer journey.  Don’t be content with transactional success…your customer’s aren’t.

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