Question for you: When someone tells you that they need to save 3 million dollars, how are they so sure? Do they really need 3 million dollars or is it an artificial number, a number that for whatever personal reason represents something to them?
Client experience is a method. It’s something you design. It’s what you create. It is not, however, your goal.
Your goal is the OUTCOME of the experience. The outcome is what happens to your clients when you are finished with them. It isn’t about completing tasks, it’s about who your client is after or along the way to those tasks being completed.
To make this really simple, let’s use the example of advising a client who is along the way to saving 3 million dollars. The financial planning is all tasks. That’s it. The amount of money is a step along the way, but it isn’t it’s the goal. The 3 million dollars is just a tool. Who the client believes they can become after the tasks are completed – that inspiring idea of him or herself – that is the goal.
Creating an experiential path for your client is the means to an end, and the end is the outcome for your client. It’s the WHY of what you are doing.
Experience alone is nice and essential to your business, but experiences are also commoditized in that they compete on price. However outcomes – transformations and personal achievement – is worth a lot more. For some of us, it’s priceless.
From a business perspective in 2021, we’re well down the road of the Experience Economy. Companies have learned that there is a direct correlation between providing customer experiences and revenue growth. There are studies that show that 88% of companies consider themselves as somewhat-to-very involved in providing customer experience. They have learned that products, pricing and services have quickly become commoditized. As we head out of the covid pandemic, companies that fail to stage better customer experiences for their clients simply won’t recover.
To get your experience design to fulfill the promise you make to a client – that promise being the outcome – I’m going to lift from Jake Sorofman, who wrote a great article about outcome-based success. “Outcome-based success,” he wrote, “is a journey. Every ambition needs a plan, and every plan needs a step-wise path for making progress.”
So let’s look at these 5 steps from Jake.
Step 1: You need to be aligned with your client regarding the outcomes you both share. Both parties need to be on the same page pursuing the same goal. Get your client to articulate how they will feel when they have achieved these objectives. Document this and share it with them and consider how you can make this shared and understood goal a part of your customer experience.
What might you send along to your client that would represent this shared goal? The opportunities here are endless! Experience staging is so fun!
Step 2: Make sure everyone on your team knows about step number 1. Make sure everyone’s efforts are organized towards meeting this outcome, and that each step of the experience design that you and your team create for your client leads towards it.
Step 3 is having your client adopt or absorb the steps along the way that reinforce their outcome. If they don’t use what you create for them, or if you they are not reminded continually, they can lose sight of your value.
Step 4 is about measurement. How can you know that the experience you provide is having a positive impact on your business, on the one hand, and on your client, on the other? What is the frequency of their inbound to you? Your outbound to them? The referrals they make? Their increase in investments? Their steps towards achieving the outcome you agreed to in Step 1? Track it all because this naturally leads to Step 5, which is how they perceive their return on having invested their money, their time, their energy and their trust with you. Very successful CX companies which realize more than 100M annually make client feedback the core of their strategy and decision-making, and they continually tweak their client experience based on this feedback.
Step 5 is what Sorofman calls performance but what I call what’s coming out of the wash. In general terms, what matters to your clients is that they feel known and understood, have seen their revenues increase, that costs are reasonable and that you’ve taken measures to lessen their risk. Basically, these are the same things that matter to you. Let them know you’re not only paying attention to their progress towards their goals, but that you’re taking real pleasure in it. Continually tweak – they need to know you are paying personalized attention and that their outcome is yours as well.
This blog was inspired by the article: Experience Is the Method, Outcomes Are the Goal