We’ve all heard the phrase “the customer is always right.” This statement is frequently argued, especially when a heated customer is treating an employee poorly. But, one thing is for sure, the customer is always right about how they feel.

This point crystallized for me as I attended Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum in New York City last month. To bring it home for you too, I thought I’d share three key takeaways that I gathered in the Big Apple.

1.    You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure

Brands win or lose by how well they wow customers­. In fact, customer experience leaders work hard to perfect that “moment of truth” experience that wins life long customers.

If this is true, then why do so many consumers come away with a less than stellar customer experience?  And when you think about the potential implications to the bottom line it’s even crazier, right? Reality is … very few brands get customer experience right.

Megan Burns, Principle Analyst at Forrester Research, highlighted this point at the event:

“While 47% of firms say they want to differentiate their business from industry competitors, the reality is grim — nearly half of firms don’t measure customer experience quality, and more than three quarters don’t train employees on how to deliver the target experience. True customer experience differentiation requires that companies reframe customer problems and rethink the entire customer experience ecosystem.”

It’s a big deal. Measurement is the first step to making real improvements that differentiate your brand from the rest.  It’s impossible to consistently create wow experiences if you don’t deploy customer satisfaction surveys to measure the process and then act on the insights. If you’re not effectively measuring your customer experiences—then get started. The success of your business depends on it.

 2.    Apply What You Measure to Customer Journey Maps

Once you’ve identified your key customer experience measures and implemented voice of the customer, customer satisfaction and website feedback programs, then it’s important to incorporate these insights into building and/or improving your customer journey maps.

Journey mapping, a key topic at the forum, is critical to understanding your customers’ unique experience with your company. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes so that the customer becomes the center of everything you do.

Effective journey maps are used to:

  • Identify and fix problems in existing customer interactions
  • Envision future customer experiences
  • Communicate with employees across the organization
  • Make the business case for change
  • Identify touch points that need listening posts
  • Align leadership on key customer interactions and processes

With journey mapping, you can align your organization’s activities to your customers’ needs and perceptions.  When you put the customer first, everyone wins.

3. Mobile Should Focus on Serving, Not Selling

Mobile is changing the game. Multi and omni-channel experiences are essential. Customers do research online, in-store, and on their mobile devices. To differentiate, organizations must shift their approach from isolated channels to a multi-channel approach. In fact, during his session at the event, Graham Atkinson, Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer at Walgreens, explained:

 “Our customers who shop in-store and online spend 3.5x more than those who shop in-store only.  And those who shop in store, online, and on their mobile devices spend 6x more than those who shop in-store only.”

Talk about wow! He went on to provide three tips to improve customer experience programs:

“1. Think touch points, not channels; 2. Simplify; 3. Measure the experience”

Consider this as well:

  • Are your mobile touch points tailored to what you want your customers to know or what your customers want to know?
  • Are you telling your customers everything under the sun or do you keep it simple?
  • Do you make gut based decisions or do you strategically measure each program and make decisions based on insights?

Applying each of the three points above will help your team better align with how your customers feel and will ultimately help you to understand what your customers really want. And as for making strategic business decisions, you’ll be right too. So start measuring and start wowing.