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So, you think you know what your customers want?

30 June 2021

Brett Gumbley, Director, Antenna shares his insights into creating great customer experiences

To create great customer experience, it’s essential to identify the moments of service dissonance – those points in the customer experience where organisations mistakenly believe they know what customers want.


As consumers, I think most of us can relate to walking away from a service interaction thinking “what the hell was that all about? That experience just didn’t make any sense”. And while we can chalk this up to being something accidental, as consultants, we often see these interactions being driven by an organisation’s standard processes.


In the traditional organisation model, there’s a natural tendency to look at the organisation from an internal point of view – considering the organisation and its service delivery from a perspective of product creation and service process, rather than from a customer’s perspective.  This can lead to missed opportunities - in only seeing the organisation’ processes, an organisation can miss the broader customer experience.


Organisations can identify and fix issues with the customer experience by undertaking a regular customer journey mapping process to see their service deliver through the lens of the customer, delivering a truly customer-centric perspective of:

  • The customer experience before engaging with  an organisation… seeing the customer journey in the context of their broader lifestyle and needs

  • Understanding the customer journey through the organisations process...

  • What are the steps in their experience?

  • Where are the wins in this... what is the organisation excelling in?

  • What are the pain points and failure moments in this journey?

  • What are the untapped opportunities to wow within this?

  • Understanding the outcomes... where does the service experience leave the customer?

  • What are the next steps?

  • How does it leave them feeling about the organisation?


The approach generally works best in a workshop environment – mapping out the customer experience of engaging as a series of stages from the beginning to the end. Generally, the process is mapped out as several layers:

  1. Defining the current customer journey… plotting the process as a series of steps, from the moment they decide they need a product or service, through to completion

  2. Mapping the emotion and expectations at each stage… what are they needing? What are they feeling?

  3. Pinpointing the customer touchpoints for an organisation… where does the organisation engage with the customer both directly and indirectly (i.e., through influencers)?

  4. Identifying the pain points and gaps in the process… what’s missing? What doesn’t work?

  5. Articulating the ideal… what would the perfect experience be like?

  6. Generating solutions… what would an organisation need to do to deliver this perfect experience?


While we’d generally recommend using an external facilitator for these, journey mapping workshops also represent an empowering experience for organisations in bringing key stakeholders into the room with your customers... framing the workshop as a collaborative exercise and giving stakeholders an opportunity to see and talk to customers face to face. If it’s challenging to talk to customers directly, workshops can also equally be run with a group of frontline staff –those team members with a clear understanding of the current customer experience but who can also talk to the backend processes that deliver to this.


From this clear blueprint for the customer experience, the organisation can then work backwards in mapping the internal processes that deliver to this. Similarly, we see journey mapping sessions being used as a starting point for co-creation workshops, where organisations come together with their customers to collaboratively redesign customer service delivery.


 So next time one of your team members says, “I know what the customer wants” ask them “do you?”


 Brett Gumbley is a former CSIA assessor and currently Director at Antenna, a market research agency specialising in customer experience measurement and strategy


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