5 Key Principles for Creating a Positive Customer Experience

Enjoyable and effective customer experiences don't just happen. They must be intentionally and deliberately designed across every touchpoint. This requires a deep understanding of your customers and an unwavering focus on their perspective. There are 5 key principles that help guide the creation of great experiences:

1. Participant-Centered - Only the people participating in the delivery and consumption of the experience know if the experience was enjoyable, effective and differentiated. Great experiences  are designed from their point of view. This requires you spend time with your customers to learn about their behavior and attitudes throughout their interactions with your company.

Example: How often have you been on the phone with a company only to have to repeat the same information multiple times as they pass you from one department to the other? Did you feel they really understand your perspective? Most companies create organizational structures and processes from the perspective of optimizing their business. Not from their customer's perspective.

2. Holistic - Time, space, culture, social environment and brand promise are just a few of the factors that impact experience. Experiences should be designed taking as many of these factors into consideration as possible.

Example: A restaurant providing a view of the kitchen area so diners can see their food being prepared is stimulating the senses of sight and sound as well as taste, touch and smell. While this creates an experience appropriate for a luxury brand the same back office access delivered by a fast food chain or a tax accountant doesn’t match with the company's brand promise and won't improve the experience.

3. Co-creative - All stakeholders involved in the delivery or consumption of an experience, including the back office staff and outside influencers, have an impact. As many stakeholders as possible should be involved in the design process.

Example: Digital products designed to help older adults remember their medication must meet the needs of a diverse group of stakeholders:

  • Medical staff caring for the older adult
  • The family members of the older adult
  • The older adult using the product

Each of these groups have different needs and value experiences differently. They also have unique insights that could drive the design of a better experience for all involved. 

4. Sequencing - Experiences occur over time. What is necessary to create a great experience early on is different from what is required later. Great experiences take the sequence and pace of interactions into consideration. 

Example: Experiences play out over time. If the pace is too fast it can feel frenetic, too slow and it can be frustrating for the participants. Think of your favorite restaurant sporting or entertainment event. The pace changes as the experience progresses, moving quickly through some stages yet slowing and allowing anticipation to build in others.

5. Evidencing - Many of the products, services we consume are intangible. Providing evidence of value delivered in the form of a tangible item can alert the customer to a service that they were previously unaware of and provide an emotional connection to the experience.

Example: A mechanic leaving seat and floor covers in the car after the service is sending a message. The covers provide physical evidence of the care taken with the customers car even though the customer may never see the work done under the hood.

Keeping these principles in mind when designing your customers experiences will ensure the experiences you deliver are enjoyable, effective and differentiated.