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We are all human beings, so why do companies treat us as unnecessary evils, like wayward debtors? Don’t they care about the money we give them?

Customers are people too.

The other day I was booking a flight with a travel agent when she took a private phone call while on her computer. I overheard her side of the conversation complaining about the bad service she had received at her post office. She didn’t see the irony of her complaining about bad service while giving me bad service. Needless to say I didn’t buy the ticket there and will not refer that company to anyone.

So why do companies promise the earth to us and when we do engage with them they do an about-face and treat us like debtors or worse?

Could it be because companies do not understand the difference between efficiency and effectiveness? Business processes are built to use customer resources as efficiently as possible, but they are not built to be effective, to satisfy us, their customers.

To give you a better understanding of efficiency versus effectiveness, a company building concrete life jackets can very efficiently, but they won’t be very effective – there is no market for concrete life jackets (other than in certain parts of Italy).

Likewise many company processes are not effective, they do not make the customer sit up and say “Wow!” Often customer experiences are dismal leaving us with a sour taste in our mouth or thinking “That was more effort than it was worth; I wonder what other companies offer this service?” An effective process should positively engage the customer emotionally and get the job done.

But are emotions important in a customer experience? Yes it is. According to research, it is vital. The graph below shows the different emotions customers feel after a memorable (positive or negative) experience. Customer experience Net Promoter Score emotions after memorable experience

When you couple this with what different researches have shown about the impact of emotion on buying decisions, very quickly you can see a customer experience that gives your customer a positive emotion becomes critical.

One survey shows 70% of a customer’s buying decision is based on how they feel they are being treated.

Another survey shows 69% of the customer say that emotions count for more than half of the total buying experience

A Danish survey asked if customers would change suppliers if they had a bad customer experience. 32% said they would, 67% said if it happened again and only 1% said they would not change.

Being the creatures we are, we share our emotions. If we have a bad experience we tell 22 others and if we have a good experience we tell 8 others. How often have you tried a new product or watched a movie based on what someone has told you? Or not tried something if you heard negative things about it? Now think what your customers are saying about your products and services based on what they experienced.

What we do after a positive customer experience is very important for a company’s bottom line as shown in the graph below.

Customer experience customer satisfaction Net Promoter Score actions after a memorable experience

People who have a positive customer experience will recommend you and buy more from you; all those good things you want them to do. However just as importantly if a customer has a negative experience they do all the things you do not want them to do – give you bad word of mouth advertising and purchase less or even worse defect to the competition, a definite ding to your bottom line.

From all of this it becomes very clear that companies must focus on being effective before being efficient. Effort at managing positive customer experience is money well spent when you think of all the free word of mouth advertising you get and increased sales and that is not counting the loss of sales and customers if you get the customer experience wrong.

More and more companies are focusing on customer experience management as a way of differentiating themselves from their competitors, in fact 90% think it is more important than it was 3 years ago and 95% see it as the next competitive arena.

If your company is concerned about customer experience you need a way to measure your customer experiences and that is where we can help with our secure web based Customer Experience Auditing tool. Only once you have identified the problem can you fix it. And if you can map your customer experiences you know where to focus on first.


  • CRM Guru – Customer Experience Management: The Value of Moments of Truth
  • Telefaction
  • Strativity Group 2008 Customer Experience Management Global Survey

Douglas MacGregor

Customer Relationship Auditing

“Building superior business relationships through client intelligence”

+27 (11) 805-3588 (direct)

+27 (82) 414-9394 (cell)