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Customer Experience: The Science of the Art

Many centuries ago in Southern India, a classical art form was taking root that would be characterized by its dramatic makeup, vibrant costume and extremely mathematical percussion beat and tempo. That art form as we know it now is called Kathakali. What could this art form possibly have to do with modern day customer experience one may ask?

At the very base level customer experience is all about cultural alignment - Am I living the ethos that is relevant to my customer? Am I being able to communicate and connect to my customer at the deepest level? Am I able to leave an indelible mark on someone who I may have never met?

Customer experiences is no longer a long sequence of consistent interactions but is changing to instant gratification around how his /her last experience was. Ted Rubin makes a very interesting hypothesis around “Return on Relationships” in his latest book which is also testimony to how great brands are truly built with great relationships as its core mission. However marketers must realize that to manage experiences effectively and enhance the relationship quotient with every interaction calls for changes to be made to address silo driven cultures across R&D, Logistics, Supply Chain, Sales & Retail functions etc.

Improving and revamping customer experience can’t be accomplished through a one-off effort. Like marketing, effective customer experience strategies evolve constantly. So the management process needs steady and ongoing re-assessment and refinement to deliver against changing expectations and technological advancements.

One of the key drivers for these evolving expectations is digital. It not only creates new channels and touch points, it also helps us manage the customer experience better. Embrace digital tools to work across internal silos to manage key performance indicators, and use dashboards to quickly uncover and address shortcomings that need attention along the customer journey.

A shared vision of what your business or brand should stand for can guarantee a consistent experience.

Creating a culture of experience innovation should be priority. I can think of many organizations who have truly changed the way they respond to customers and do so continuously – Cisco, Walmart, Unilever, and they continue to do so by anticipating experiences, creating the right channels of communication and consistently communicating the right message. You could almost call it an artistic science.

The artiste also changes according the vibes from the audience, constantly looks for messages from the audience to fine tune the performance, experiments with pieces to gauge audience reaction and use the reactions to perfect the art better. Customer Experience in the corporate world is pretty much the same thing. The science of technology and data come together with the art of the personality, attitude and professionalism of the person delivering the customer experience.

While science is all about tools, processes, policies, data etc. Art is humane and touches the heart.

It is the coming together of the two forms that completes the experience. After all every experience is personal. It is the experience that sustains long after to create the experience brandization. Something which I should like to talk about next time.

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