Unlike brick and mortar interactions that happen in person, the business of software is plagued by a tyranny of distance. The use of the software almost always occurs physically apart from the business that supports it. This has led customer success organizations to adopt an entirely reactive approach — problems are reported by users after they are encountered, and the loudest voice usually garners the most attention.
Customer Experience Engineering bridges this distance by reimagining customer experience as a confluence of factors, each measurable and integrated into the software itself. CXE integrates elements of process modeling, business activity measurement, value stream mapping, and user-centered design to create a reliable and proactive approach for planning customer experience, and ultimately, customer success.
This enables software businesses to better serve customers by exposing the data collected in real time, as customers follow a journey through the software. Now, even quiet users who are encountering difficulties will generate a real-time signal back to the company that developed the software, causing either an automated or human response.
Many User Experience tools tend to instrument the activity in a user interface (or “front end”) of a system. This shows which buttons were clicked, which menus navigated, the timing of activities taken, etc. These tools appear to give some insight into customer behavior by looking at their activity, but fail to take into consideration the final outcomes or impact each customers’ activity has made on progress towards their goal.
CXE is a revolutionary rejection of these practices. We believe experiences can and should be deliberately engineered as a holistic, ongoing, and rigorous approach to delivering value and measuring key performance indicators that characterize the process. Activity and sentiment alone are generally poor indicators of success.
“This is exactly what we need.”
– Lauren Dodge, Director of Operations at CodaKid
Furthermore, by applying a lean approach to designing the experience from the outset, we believe that substantial improvements can be made to the reliability and repeatability of customer success. Borrowing from software development methodologies, quality customer experience must be built into each process and all customer touch points throughout an organization in order for it to have substantial impact.
This is perhaps why CXE is only now coming into wide acceptance. It is simply easier to measure activity then it is to proactively and rigorously define customer facing interaction throughout the development process. However, so many customer success projects ultimately fail to make a meaningful difference to customer outcomes, and the typical reaction to that failure is to double down and hire more support staff. Instead of only knowing which customers to call and staffing up to do so is not nearly as effective as interceding before customers face difficulties or delays in the first place.
With proper execution of CXE, you will personalize the experience for each customer, harmonize departments within the company to jointly focus on that individual, and maximize the opportunities for that customer to be successful (and therefore loyal).
So, where to from here?
It’s important to understand that CXE embraces a process. It embraces an engineering analysis of the customer journey. To learn about this process, we recommend reading “The 4M Process for Executing CXE”. And, of course, contact us with any questions you may have.