3 Secrets to Demystifying the Customer Experience

Here's what works--and what doesn't.

By Raquel Guarino

If you're running a legitimate business, one of your goals is high customer satisfaction. In general, most businesses ask for feedback after a transaction has finished. Yet according to Thales Teixeira and Renato Mendes of Harvard Business Review, this might not be in your best interest. How can businesses clear up the fog to understand customers better? The experts offer their suggestions.

Don't Wait

In general, customers have varying opinions during each step of a consumption experience. According to the experts, 'conflating all of the customer's experiences into one summary judgment leads to lost opportunities.' Finding out someone's opinions in the moment is the easiest way to pinpoint positive and negative parts of the customer experience.

Classify Your Feedback

Experiences are not monolithic. Teixeira and Mendes say each aspect of the customer experience should be analyzed by the value they bring to the customer. For example, a customer may derive value from speedy room service at a hotel and feel neutral about how the sheets on the bed were made. The authors advise businesses 'classify their customers' value chain into value-creating, value-charging (monetizing) and value-eroding activities.'


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Make the Most of Good Ratings

Positive feedback is always great, but that doesn't mean businesses should stop there. Letting good feedback go stale could lead to missed opportunities for future business. The authors suggest the best way to get customers to write positive reviews, refer you to others, sign up for your newsletter, or any other call to action, is to ask immediately after they experience something positive (another reason why it's imperative for businesses to understand their customers' value chain).  In a case study done for a fintech startup, asking customers to refer a friend to the startup after their most positive experience led to a 119% increase in referrals.

Customer feedback can feel mysterious, but it doesn't have to be. By prioritizing when you ask for feedback, classifying it through a customer value chain, and taking advantage of good ratings, you can demystify customer behaviors to improve their overall experience.