Assessing the quality of raw materials, products or services is relatively easy.
We can recognise a well put together product, for example, or spot when we’re receiving great service.
And as a brand, its easy to predict and control how the quality of your products and services are rated by your customers.
But what drives experience quality?
Experiences are far more personal. They are perceived rather than measured by an individual customer.
So you need to look at more personal and more emotional aspects to understand whether you are staging a high quality, low quality, or indifferent experience.
Here are three aspects you can think about.
For any aspect of customer experience to be perceived as high quality it needs to be relevant to the individual customer.
One of my favourite mobile apps is Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation app. They do a great job of providing a highly relevant experience by combining information about my intended destination, my current location, and crowd-sourced traffic data.
In the screenshot here we can see how Waze pops up a red vertical progress bar as I enter a jam, with an estimate of the time I’m going to spend in traffic.
This is highly relevant — traffic jams cause anxiety and I care how long I’m going to spend idling in traffic.
Also contributing to the quality of your customers’ experience is the level of personalization employed by your brand.
Again, using Waze as an example, the data I see — such as my ETA of 20:31 in this example — is highly personal to me, based on my current location, speed, and the traffic on my chosen route.
Personalization in this context makes the data useful, contributing to the overall experience quality.
For any aspect of a customer experience to be perceived as of a good enough quality it needs to be delivered in a timely fashion.
Timeliness in this context doesn’t mean quickly, but at a time that makes sense to the customer.
Looking again at the experience within the Waze application, the notification of a speed camera 0.2-miles from my current location is timely as I have enough time to adjust my speed if I need to do so.
(Although it should be noted that the speed camera notification in this example scores poorly for another measure of quality, relevance, as I am crawling in traffic way below the posted speed limit!)
Providing the user with a reward, however small, is key to staging a memorable experience.
In the case of Waze, they have gamification built right in rewarding drivers for reporting the traffic issues and road traffic accidents used to provide relevant relevant and timely route information to other users.
There’s also the overarching knowledge that the user is on the fastest route, the reward being the earliest possible arrival time.
Brands that build reward into the customer experience will find customers rewarding them with loyalty and referrals.
Apply this to customer outcomes, not brand outputs
We live in an experience economy. Great products at low prices are no longer enough — the difference you make to your customer’s lives is key.
By moving beyond measuring the things that you, as a brand, create — the “what” — and on to the reasons your customers are interacting with you — the “why” — you will create far more value for your customers.
Instead of measuring the quality of the products, services, phone calls, social media responses, etc… themselves and in isolation, focus instead on the quality of those interactions relative to the outcomes our customer are trying to achieve.