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Design Your Customer Experience To Lose The Right Customers!

by David Brock on November 24th, 2014

I received an interesting email.  A person had read a post I had written about Customer Experience.  As a result, he was motivated to sign up for my newsletter.  There the difficulties began.  Apparently the “widget” I use doesn’t allow for keyboard short-cuts.  That was a problem with this individual’s customer experience of my site.  It didn’t stop there, apparently there is the same problem with the confirmation email, which further annoyed this individual.  He implied there are other things about the process that annoyed him–but the only other thing he would receive is a thank you email.  So, I’m not sure what was wrong.

This individual wrote, commenting on the irony of writing about customer experience, yet creating a terrible customer experience in the newsletter sign up.  I appreciate his feedback.  While 10’s of thousands of people have subscribed to the newsletter, I’ve never gotten this feedback.

So, with this as preamble, I’ve created a bad customer experience for one person (that’s reported it).  What am I going to do about it?  To be honest, not a whole lot, probably nothing.

I can’t create a great customer experience for everyone.  To be honest, I don’t want to create a great customer experience for everyone.   No one possibly can or should–but too often we get distracted by trying to do so.  We try to create a great customer experience for everyone–ending up creating a mediocre customer experience for everyone.  This is where we go wrong in our customer experience design.

Spending time on customer experience for customers and prospects outside our sweet spots is a waste of resource and money.  It dilutes the customer experience of those who are most important to us.

Customers and prospects outside our target markets are a distraction.  They aren’t likely to buy (except if they’ve made a mistake)–that’s why they are outside our sweet spot.  They are unlikely to be profitable (some customers in our sweet spot shouldn’t be because they are likely to be unprofitable.

Crassly speaking, why should we invest any time or money in creating a great customer experience for them?  We don’t want to attract them, we don’t want to be distracted by them, we may want to lose them.

Customer experience must focus on creating profitable, loyal customers who not only continue to buy, but also provide referrals and recommendations.  We want to serve those customers and prospects well, we want to design our customer experiences to maximize their retention, growth, and profitability.

We don’t care about those organizations and people that fall outside this space.  We don’t want to create bad customer experiences for anyone, but we don’t want to invest in anything that’s outside our target customers/sweet spot.  If people outside the sweet spot are unhappy,  we should be appreciative for what we learn from them.  We should consider, “Are our target/sweet spot customers having similar difficulties?”  If they are, we need to reassess our strategies and customer experience programs.  If they aren’t, then we shouldn’t do anything.

So while I’m very appreciative this individual took the time to write–and point out the irony.  He is very far outside my sweet spot, I’ve checked with people and organizations in my sweet spot and they haven’t had difficulty.

So, I probably won’t do anything.  Responding to this issue distracts me from better serving my target customers.

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6 Comments
  1. David- what I timely post! I’ve been trying to work through a similar experience today. Your note gave me the courage to close the chapter, so to speak!

    • Thanks Barbara, you can’t keep everyone happy–only those that are most important to you. Glad the post was helpful.

  2. As so often, you’ve hit a rusty old nail squarely on the head with this article, Dave. We can’t hope to satisfy everybody – so we need to concentrate our energies on satisfying the people who really matter.

    Of course, that depends on having developed a clear sense of what an ideal customer actually looks like and what *really* matters to them – and then embedding that understanding into everything we do.

    • Thanks Bob, you hit the nail on the head, as well. The tough work is figuring out our sweet spot–too often we don’t take the time to do so. Done well, it makes a huge difference in focus, working with your best customers, and results. Thanks for the great comment.

  3. Nick Thomas permalink

    Thanks for reminding us all of a very important (and often forgotten) principle of marketing……and for further expounding on finding the sweet spot in order to make the distinction.

    As a sales/marketing professional between jobs, I (and my next employer) will benefit from this renewed insight.

    Thank you!

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