What does customer experience mean?

It’s easy for people like me to say to business owners: ‘You need to focus on making sure your customer experience is really good’

But what does this mean, how do you actually do it and where do you start? That’s the REAL problem!

I’ve blogged, podcasted and written extensively on ‘how to do it’ using simple steps and 4 common sense principles (and will continue to do so), but today’s blog is all about: what actually does ‘customer experience’ mean?

And this is a good place to start …

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a business owner about this: they own a pub and we were discussing how to reopen after the lockdown in ways that are not only safe (that’s relatively easy), but also welcoming: much harder in these suspicious and controlled times!

They can put up screens and barriers, and insist that people don’t mix: that’ll comply with the law, but it’ll also remove much of the magic of the pub: the warmth, the camaraderie and the banter!

That’s why we were discussing ‘customer experience’ and how to make t ‘great’ after reopening.

And this of course prompted the question: ‘What does customer experience really mean?’

And, during this discussion, I talked about the idea:

‘Customers will forget what they ate or drank, or perhaps even who was with them … but they’ll never forget about how they felt emotionally’.

And his reply was: ‘Yes! That makes sense: it’s all about the memories! It’s about what will they remember when they’ve left! So we need to focus everything we do on making warm and welcoming memories!’


It’s all about the memory.

And, in this case, it’s about:

  • The outside of the pub: how ‘warm and welcoming’ does it look?
  • The Covid signage: how warmly and welcomingly is it worded and presented?
  • The new regulations: how warmly and welcomingly are they explained?
  • The personal welcome: how quick and warm is it?
  • The table service: how warm and welcoming is it?
  • Etc. etc.

And of course, the same would apply to your business. It’s all about the memory: what do you want customers to remember about the interaction they had with you, or your people, long after they’ve left you?

In fact, this idea was reinforced strongly by a recent experience I had visiting pubs, between lockdowns: in one pub (our local, unfortunately) I felt hassled, unwelcome and uncomfortable: in another (a few miles down the road) I felt genuinely welcomed and fantastically well looked after. Those are my memories, and those are what will determine where I go next time, and which pub I recommend to others.

You probably don’t run a pub, but the same principle applies whatever business you’re in.

If you deliver professional services, the memory might be of ‘peace of mind’, ‘confidence’ and ‘care’.

For a Hotel it’d probably be ‘feeling looked after and loved’.

For a retailer it may be ‘excitement’, ‘sexiness’ or ‘opportunity’.

For a B2B supplier it’s most likely ‘trust’, ‘knowing what I’m targeted to achieve’ and ‘over and above helpfulness’.

It can be anything … but it’s very important to consider what it is, and then you can use this as a filter for everything you do in your customer’s journey … from marketing all the way through to after sales.

What does customer experience mean: it means what emotions will people remember, and pass on to others, long after they’ve left you?

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Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders and managers in independent businesses.

Our systems deliver peace of mind and confidence to caring leaders and managers who have limited time and resources, and want to grow their business … all without sacrificing principles or profits.

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