Where are you on the Customer Experience triangle?

customer experience customer service sales management Jul 02, 2021

Customer Experience, let me start by saying, isn’t the same as Customer Service.

Customer Experience is what builds brand loyalty, gains recommendations, and creates ambassadors for your company.  It is the whole journey from start to end (and beyond), taking into consideration each point they come into contact with your brand, how it makes them feel.

Customer Service is what you use when something has gone wrong to keep customers, or to help them with enquiries etc. I bristle a little at those companies that say they are rated highly on Customer Service. Shouldn’t they have got it right in the first place? Good customer service is important, but ensuring a great customer journey or experience is better. Good customer service is the safety net. I had a great customer service representative talk with me about my wifi, they were helpful and tried hard to fix it. However, they hadn’t met my basic need – they sold me broadband and it kept dropping the wifi connection. It was highly annoying and it shouldn’t have happened. It didn’t meet the basic need. It wasn’t easy to have fixed either, though it was easy to get through to them and talk it over. But I didn’t really want to spend precious time talking with a lovely person about something that should have just worked.

Maybe you need a example where I’m not still clearly holding onto a grudge? Say you buy a car, and it gets you from A to B. Something goes wrong with it, you contact the garage and they sort it out efficiently, politely etc. That’s customer service.

Now let’s say you have a superb car. You bought it from a wonderful showroom with a pleasant and helpful salesperson. The paperwork was easy to understand and complete. They gave you a drink while you waited in a comfy chair. It was delivered with spare keys, clean and tidy and a thank you note from the salesperson on the seat. It gets you from A to B of course, but its luxurious, smooth, a quiet drive, has a sat nav, heated seats, aircon, and amazing sound system etc. The garage reminds you when it’s due a free service and while it’s there they valet it.

You get the idea.

We have – very basically – three levels of customer experience. Think of them in a triangle, from bottom to top.


Meets needs.

At the base of our triangle we have Meets Needs. It does what it is supposed to do. So a car that works. A broadband that doesn’t drop out. A course that delivers education. A hotel room with a bed.

This is the bottom level and don’t get me wrong – it’s important! You do have to deliver the basic needs of your customer, you have to deliver what they have bought from you. Depending on your service or product, this can be as much as you can do right now – some services and products are trickier to deliver/produce than others. It is vital to get this part right, this is the foundation of great customer experience.


The second tier is Ease. How easy it is to buy or use your product/service? Those iPhone users amongst us have opened up the simple box (easily – not your standard shrink-wrap here), turned on the iPhone and been guided through the set up steps for what is a very complicated piece of equipment. It is already charged, too. It’s easy.

A lower scale example would be my heating engineer gave me a form to fill in for their monthly payment plan. He’d done a great job (met needs) and explained the benefits to me simply. The form was one sided, good sized fonts (no bad small print), and was easy to fill in. He also filled some of it in for me beforehand with my address etc which saved me time. He made it easy for me to buy. Not only that, but when I had a problem I got through to them, they already had my details up and came out straight away. It was easy.

Have a look at your own forms and contracts – have a look at your pricing structure, your choices for clients. Is it EASY? Can you make it easier? Who, in your company, can help?



This is the top of the triangle. So this is where you get the competitive advantage. This is where you can SHINE! Do your clients enjoy working with you or buying your products? Is it a great experience? How can you improve it? Are you doing it better than your competitors?

I’ve got to say that having my boiler fixed wasn’t enjoyable as such, but the fact that they came out quickly and did as promised was a bonus, and the engineer was polite and chatty and also fixed a leaky tap while he was there so overall, I did enjoy it. It overdelivered.

When we deliver No Fluff training, we do hammer home a lot of information, it meets the training needs, and we make it easy to understand. But we also aim for everyone to enjoy it. Training can be a serious arena, but we aim for it to also be FUN, challenging, inspiring, empowering.. We want our clients to be in that ‘enjoyment’ level of the triangle. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t stand in such a good position for the future, we’d be the same as all other trainers. And my heating engineer would be much like all other heating engineers. But now when someone asks for a recommendation I put them forward with pleasure – I’m a fan of their service – and I tell people.

So have a think about how you can
a) ensure you are fulfilling the base of the triangle – meets need.
b) look at making it easy – every step (not just the one you deal with)
c) how can you make their experience more enjoyable? What will set you apart? What will turn clients into super-fans?

Good luck!

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