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The art and science of the customer experience

The art and science of the customer experience

Nick Terry


TMARC - An AKQA company


Everyone all in

You have mapped out your brand experience, but your customer determines if it connects or not. Still, most companies are just not investing enough in CX – and they are going to lose their category war unless they adjust.

As Keith Weed, the one-time Unilever CMO said “Marketing has become too important to be left just to marketers. All employees, from store clerks to IT specialists, must be engaged in it”.

At a basic level, loyalty means consistent purchasing and engagement over time. Loyalty is achieved through delivering on the brand promise: a valuable experience and memorable touchpoints at critical moments in the customer journey.

A recent Harvard Business Review article show just how important this is. It found that Emotionally engaged customers are:

  • At least three times more likely to recommend a product or service
  • Three times more likely to repurchase
  • Less likely to shop around (44 percent said they rarely or never shop around)
  • Much less price sensitive (33 percent said they would need a discount of over 20 percent before they would defect)

To dig a little deeper, let’s review the major consumer touchpoints for the airline industry:

  1. Inspiration/Discovery
  2. Shop/Book
  3. Prepare to travel
  4. In the airport
  5. In-flight
  6. Transfer
  7. At Destination
  8. Back Home

Obviously, a lot of touchpoints to manage. And to succeed, you need everyone in your organization engaged and focused on delivering a memorable experience at every touch point.

The only thing that matters is the experience! You can measure the experience KPI’s and let everything else come second. The better the experience, the more you build trust; the better the experience, the more your consumers want to purchase again; the better the experience, the more they will tell others about it; the better the experience, the more loyal they will be.

A brand must meet identify needs and wants while delivering benefits, but you can do almost all of that and still not succeed if you deliver a less than ideal experience. You need to get the brand experience right every time you connect with the customer, whether they are online, offline, or physically using the product.

The transformation to true CX is the application of both art and science

Customers become loyal because they are emotionally attached, and they remember how they feel when they use a product or service. A recent study by the Journal of Consumer Research found that a business that optimizes for an emotional connection outperforms its competitors by 85 percent in sales growth. You must research every step of the experience journey to uncover learnings and adjust for improved delivery.

So, what’s the secret to delivering a world-class customer experience? The answer lies in asking a few simple questions:

  • Have you identified the moments of experience?
  • Have you trained every person on the touchpoint journey?
  • Have you identified the emotional connections in the journey?
  • Are you working off data-driven insights?
  • Are you using customer complaints to fine tune and optimize the journey?
  • How are you being useful beyond your product?
  • Are you using marketing automation to track all touchpoints in multiple channels?

Taking it to the next level for an effective CX strategy


The use of technology and insights to create an emotionally satisfying consumer journey requires the art of creativity and the science of data. You need to employ a new looking glass. According to Chad Hudson of Platform 5, the following six elements need to be considered before any implementation can take place:

  • Digital transformation. Are you committed to driving transformational change in marketing for your organization?
  • User experience. Consumer-centric planning needs to be at the heart of everything. Do you have the right partners enabling this?
  • Technology. CX is not possible without software enablement. Are you clear on who the right technology partners are and what they can help you achieve?
  • Performance focused. All marketing activity needs to be measurable in order to understand the value it adds to your CX ecosystem. Have you set clear KPIs?
  • Data driven. Without data CX implementation is impossible. Is your customer and marketing data easily accessible and can you take action against insights in real time?
  • The Funnel. Do you have your customer’s buying journey mapped to key stages of the buying and customer engagement process?

Through the new looking glass

As we live in a world of constant change, you always have to view your brand through a new looking glass. Constantly be in review mode, reaching out and contacting your customers for insights, while reviewing the data for trends or emotional triggers that can keep your brand front and center for your customers. It’s a never-ending journey! Be brave, be bold, be radical, but most of all be in touch!