How to tell your customer experience story

I’ve been working on building out a 4-year vision on what our customers should expect from us – notice that I didn’t say what we will deliver to our customer, or what products our customers can buy from us.  The most engaging customer experiences are built around the customer’s perspective, and writing it as a story is a great way to achieve this.

A customer experience starts by defining what injustice  you are going to address.

This was how every Virgin business was born.  If there was no injustice to fix, there was no Virgin business venture.  Whether it was the lack of fair pricing for trans-Atlantic flights, a high quality gym with a fair contract, or the ability to have a mobile phone service without a contract, Virgin businesses had a clear purpose to deliver exceptional service and delight to customers, and it all started from that customer injustice.

Don’t settle on a half-baked experience, think it through from start to finish.

When my mother bakes the family Christmas cake, she follows the same traditional method set out by her great-grandfather.  She doesn’t cut corners, she doesn’t open the oven whilst the cake is baking.  She understands the the end result is worth waiting for.  Likewise, when you create your customer experience, some bits will be hard to imagine, they will take more time and effort to define.  Stick with it, see it through, and make sure all the key touch points are properly define.  It’s worth the effort!

Consult your colleagues, solicit feedback, but know your own mind.

You can’t build you customer experience story all alone.  To the previous point, sometimes you need another mind to help fill in the gaps.  But even more importantly, your vision alone might not result in the best possible experience.  So engaging colleagues in creating your story is helpful.  By seeking opinions, you are already getting their buy in.  But feel confident in your foundations – it’s your customer experience story, so don’t get swayed on points that really matter.  There are some aspects that you KNOW are right, so stick with them!

Don’t compromise, stay true to your customer experience vision.

When we were setting up Virgin Mobile in South Africa, we created a document called the Ivory Tree.  It symbolised a sacred and precious object, and thus was something to be respected and valued.  As we built the business, the Ivory Tree document was our reference point, making sure that we stayed true to what we defined.  It helped us avoid distractions that would detract from the core experience.  It’s important to have the definition of your clearly defined.  And when you can recount your customer experience as a story, it’s engaging and allows you to bring to life the customer experience.

Story telling is an age old tradition, a way of sharing information in an interesting way.  Because a customer experience is an evolving and changing journey with many possible outcomes, it’s works well to be shared as a story.  When you recount your customer experience story passionately, you will inspire others to re-tell the same story, helping to align every colleague around your vision of that amazing customer experience.





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