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  • Writer's pictureDerek Bildfell

Mastering Customer Understanding: Enhancing Design and Delivery of Customer Experience

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

What could be easier than understanding our customers - that’s who we talk to and serve every day! Unfortunately, we do this so often that we generate a filter through which we look at our customers. This filter is more likely what your company does TO your customers, rather than FOR the customers. The discipline of customer understanding is largely the practices of market and customer research used to support the continuous improvement of the proactive design.

With Customer experience understanding, there are six practices that you want to assess and define in your programs. You may not use all of these, but it behooves you to understand and select the methods that you want to apply at various points in the customer experience lifecycle. All of this great understanding will lead to better design and delivery of the customer experience.

We start with a discussion of Story Telling. Story telling is important as human understanding requires that you relate to the people you are trying to understand. If you can tell stories and ask customers to share their stories, you are generating an understanding based on empathy. Humans are visual learners much more than they are analytical types, yet we communicate largely through text and numeric presentations. Try turning your next business presentation into a story with related visuals (that’s Pictures!) to improve your ability to connect with your audience. Remind yourself of that old adage “A picture tells a thousand stories”.

We focus mostly on the following six customer understanding disciplines. Please take the time to become familiar with each - ideally, be able to tell a story that illuminates each practice.

1. Structured customer feedback from many listening posts (Voice of Customer programs)

2. Unstructured perceptions from data mining such as email, social media listening, call center analysis, and any other source.

3. Leveraging the employees to provide real-time and considered feedback that they hear from customers. What is the onboarding experience, what are the customers saying to front-line staff?

4. Testing and observing the customer experience in the natural environment of the customers, we call this ethnographic research.

5. Deeper leverage of available transaction, social, and customer data to create Artificial Intelligence insights.

6. Understanding the customer’s journey with your company or processes based on the emotional and functional needs leads to cross-company alignment on customer experience.

Please contact us on for more information on our CX Leadership & Implementation Program

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