Posted in Customer Service, Management, People

Do you know your a#@se from your CXD?

Customer Experience is NOT what you think

There are three compelling reasons why (bricks & mortar) retailers should conquer the science and the art of delivering customer experiences.

ONE: Declining manufacturing as a % of GDP.

Even in Australia there has been the increasing reliance on services. According to Wikipedia, the 2010 estimates are as follows:

•           AU GDP by sector: agriculture (4%); industry (24.8%); services (71.2%)

TWO: Consumers will pay more for experiences than they will pay for stuff.

In 1970 spend on services exceeded spend on products for the first time – and in 2009 we spent 2x on services: (66%) of retail spend in the US is on services:

DIY has become DIFM (Do IT For Me).

The challenge you face is to add a service dimension to whatever you sell (product or service.

THREE: Delivering an experience is the single most important, sustainable differentiator.

Web-designers spend a lot of time on (UXD – user experience design) because they understand that if you lose the browser for a split-second it they are gone with a single click. Retailers have the opportunity and the ability to create an experience that counts (CXD) – but few do.

What is a ‘customer experience’?

  • It is NOT customer service.

A clean store, friendly and helpful staff and user-friendly return policies – for example – is customer service not customer experience.

The great unspoken assumption is that you have the base right: great products or services at the right price, presented well and great customer service that meets expectations. Customer service is not longer a differentiator, it is cost of entry.

  • It is NOT shoppertainment.

It is not singing and dancing, it is not plasma screens and things that fall out of the roof – that is shoppertainment, not customer experience.

Customer experience comprises all of the above, but above all customer experience has an emotional dimension.

How do you create the emotional connections?

This is of course quite complicated because human being are complicated – and their emotions especially so.

My favourite new consumer is NewNowLo and she is not Chinese: She is the person that moved from wanting new à demanding new, now at low prices.

The world is changing and people are moving from:

  • Needing stuff >>> Demanding experiences
  • Conformity >>> Customisation
  • Plutocracy >>> Democracy
  • Self >>> Community

Consider just two emotions and a few retailers that do a reasonably good job of delivering that emotional connection.



  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Starbucks




  • Zara
  • Daily Deals
  • Anthropologie


Delivering the customer experience is reliant on the H-Factor. That was the basis of the talk I delivered recently at the Melbourne Retail Expo and Conference.

I have publised the latest newsletter (ReadThinkLearnLaugh). SUBSCRIBE HERE and receive access to the latest issue which contains a series of screencasts exploring how you create and deliver a customer experience. (HINT: customer experience is NOT customer service.) I have based on the presentation menioned above – and there is a special offer for readers 😉


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