A number of important ingredients have to be considered if your organisation is going to provide an excellent customer experience. One of those is the question of the experience that you actually want to give to your customers. Have you ever given that any thought? And? What’s the answer?


Customer experience on three levels

During my workshops I use the Forrester Pyramid as an aid to shape this experience. Airlines can be used as a metaphor to explain the model. Would you rather be like Ryanair, KLM or Emirates? Which one would you put in which place in this model?


Perhaps you already know the answer. Ryanair tends to focus on the base of the pyramid. They take you from A to B. Nothing more. Nothing less. And that might just be enough. It’s certainly clear, in the sense that you know what you’re getting. If your flight leaves on schedule, you’re going to be happy. Maybe you’re already expecting a delay or problems at the gate because of the size of your bag.


From that perspective, things can only get better. KLM generally focuses on ease of orientation and booking. Their on-line service is often praised to the heavens. Emirates tends to focus on the apex of the pyramid: everything hangs on a fantastic experience! But before that can happen, the conditions for the other two levels have to be met. You can read how they do that in this blog by my business partner Nienke Bloem.


What sort of customer experience do you want to provide?

Back to the topic of my workshops. If we look for the answer to that particular question, ‘What sort of experience do you actually want to provide?’, I let participants score each element. Where would you place yourself now, on a scale from 1 to 5? Which direction do you want to move in for each point? Time and again, it is a good starting point for discussion.


Meeting the customers’ needs is the basis. You always want to get a good score for that. Ease, too. Although one option might be to make it more complicated sometimes. Pleasure is something good to aim for, but it doesn’t have to be the guiding principle at every point of the customer journey, indeed that would be infeasible. Ultimately, you’re active on all levels. Choose when you want to be ‘fun’ and when, for instance, you’d rather not be. Sometimes, meeting people’s needs is good enough. But be sure you know what their needs are! And also at which moments you do believe it’s important to add fun to the experience. Before you know it, your customers will be on the phone to singing employees. Surely that’s not the aim?


Why do I say ‘Don’t be like Ryanair’?

I recently had to get to Toulouse, post haste, to pick up my 14-year old daughter. Unexpectedly. I’m not ashamed to admit that it caused a great deal of stress and hassle. The stress, and all the wood we can no longer see for the trees due to the Covid restrictions, contributed to me putting the wrong name on the ticket for the return leg of the journey. Babs is not the name in my passport.


Although I only realised what I’d done once I’d printed out the boarding passes. That’s when the problems  started. We got into a vicious circle. The chat bot referred me to the airline website, the website sent me back to customer service. And then customer service was unavailable. Not in the Netherlands, nor in Belgium. Before you’ve checked in you have the opportunity to alter your name (3 letters free of charge, then you have to pay). After the on-line check-in process you need one of their employees to do that. Impossible! Yet more stress.


Once I’d actually arrived at the airport, I checked this straight away. Fortunately, it seemed not to be a problem.


Deliver on your promises. Always.

You could choose just to meet your customer’s needs and leave it at that. But if things don’t go as planned, then the extra service is no luxury. Make sure that you’re available if customers need you, at all times. On the outward journey I wrote the rough version of this story. Suddenly I became aware of what they kept announcing in the aircraft: “Ryanair. Low fares, made simple”.


Hmm. I’m not sure I agree with that, entirely. And that goes for both statements. ‘Low fares’ is a relative concept, and it was anything but simple.


The moral of the this story: whatever you promise your customers, make sure that you deliver on that promise!


Our CX Game is an effective way of handling the process of delivering on promises creatively and constructively. Do you and your team want to bring customer experience to life and let it live on? Then contact Nienke or me to discuss the possibilities the CX Game has to offer.


Babs Asselbergs brings customer experience to life and activates teams to do this for the customer even better, and to make the process more fun for themselves. Alongside Nienke Bloem, she is the founder of the CX Game, one of the creative forms of work that Babs uses to get started with teams and CX.