Tim Munson Home  

Key Principles in Designing World-Class Customer Experiences

AS NEW TECHNOLOGIES DRIVE THE HYPER-EVOLUTION OF ENTIRE SECTORS – from communications and media, to travel and leisure – success belongs to those organizations committed to distilling this accelerating change and complexity into simple, delightful customer experiences. As brand touch points multiply across digital and traditional media and global markets, both the imperative and the challenge of designing cohesive, compelling brand experiences only increase.

We know that customer experiences, and marketers’ methods of planning and producing these experiences, have undergone seismic shifts in recent years. The time-tested tools for planning and producing brand experiences and customer relationships have forever changed. The trusted metaphor of the marketing funnel has collapsed. In its place has appeared a far more sophisticated and nuanced vision of how today’s consumers navigate a myriad of new media and marketplace decision points throughout the “Customer Experience Journey” (see HBR, 12/2010).

We also know that just one bad customer experience in today’s networked world can be amplified exponentially through many of these same new media with serious consequences for brand equity and the bottom line.

It is in this context that organizations today face a unique opportunity to generate tremendous new value for customers, powerful differentiators for prospective custmers, and a significant new revenue source for themselves with a dedicated focus on customer experience management services, innovation, and thought leadership.

With existing and prospective customers, there is clear added value in this focus on enhanced customer experience insights and oversight throughout any organization. A 2010 study by Forrester Research identified and quantified revenue benefits from improved customer experiences for a range of industries driven by continued purchases, churn reduction, and positive word of mouth. Revenue benefits for telecom carriers and the travel industry topped the list, with total annual impacts of $1.71 billion and $1.27 billion respectively.

A customer experience focus drives efforts to improve client customer experiences, close the gap and/or surpass clients’ marketplace competitors, and works to embed a customer excellence orientation internally throughout the organization. Cross-role collaboration is always critical to this effort. A primary role of a customer experience lead is, therefore, to synthesize across the organization, emphasize the big picture, and ensure that all brand interactions and touch points form a cohesive and value-based customer experience.

Specifically, this work generally includes ...

  • Establishing strategies and supporting business analytics to measure
  • Tracking and guiding clients’ customer experience (CE) transformation
  • Driving efforts to develop a deep customer understanding across all touch points
  • Defining CE priorities
  • Establish strategies/tactics with supporting business cases
  • Overseeing implementation and measurig results.

In many cases, this dedicated focus on customer experience entails directing large-scale process change and culture transformation that enhance customer satisfaction and drive sustainable business results. 

Social Media & The Arab Spring

IT HAS ALREADY BECOME a truism hat social media have played a key role in the popular revolutions that continue to topple regimes throughout the Middle East and North Africa. However, it seem that thoughtful analyses of the complex interplay of communications, culture, and technologies have been all but nonexistent in the American media.

In this balanced and textured account of these unfolding events, Simon Cottle of Cardiff University explains how ICTs such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, along with online bloggers and mobile telephony, have all contributed to communicating, coordinating and channeling the rising tide of opposition and managed to bypass state controlled national media as new media have propelled images and ideas of resistance and mass defiance.

» Media & the Arab Uprisings of 2011. Simon Cottle, Cardiff University. Sage Publications. (217K PDF)

Experience Design

IN A MOVING AND MADLY VIRAL VIDEO last year (2 million+ YouTube views and counting), classical composer Eric Whitacre led a virtual choir of singers from around the world. In his recent TED talk, he described the genesis of the project, spoke of the creative challenges of making music powered by social media, and unveiled the first two minutes of his new work, 'Sleep,' with a virtual choir of 2,052 (the full version of which premiered recently on YouTube). Below is his original virtual choral piece, entitled 'Lux Aurumque.' Each time I listen to this, I'm struck again by this inspiring new use of our emerging ICTs and the promise of "Experience Design."


Personal Research & Writings

WHEN I BEGAN researching and writing this book, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In attempting to better understand my experiences designing communications media and messages internationally, I found myself drawn into the ancient Eastern and Western epistemologies which give shape to current notions of value and meaning, art, science and technology.

I was fortunate to be studying at Georgetown's Communication, Culture and Technology program, where the scope of the curriculum accomodated the unexpected range of times, places and disciplines into which I was drawn. My advisor was wonderful. The depth and breadth of Professor Dowdy's understanding of communication, cognition and culture made my head spin. He encouraged and enabled me to discover connections and possibilities far, far beyond my early imaginings.

I'm now in the process of writing case studies for Technologies of Sin and Salvation, and am also working to translate these ideas into a prototype media model, which I call COR.

Travel & Portrait Photography

I REMEMBER the Kodak Instamatic my mother and father gave me for my 10th birthday. I remember how that camera seemed to bring the world into focus. And I've been studying, apprenticing, and taking pictures ever since. I think all those years of picture-taking and training, have helped me see more than I would have otherwise. There is still something about making pictures of new and familiar faces and places that makes me short of breath. The way it condenses the senses into a click and compells me to focus on this moment.

I don't know what it is about taking portraits. Maybe it's the look on a person's face when they see a photo that captures something they hadn't seen before in themselves. That response can be tremendously gratifying. Much of the pleasure is also simply in spending time with a subject to create something beautiful together. It's a unique sort of collaboration.



Current Enthusiasms

It's just an extraordinary experience to watch each day as my daughter becomes who she’s meant to become.

Pulse News
I seem to be a few months late to the party, but the Android version of this gorgeous, interactive RSS reader has already transformed my experience of gathering and processing news and information.

Pandora Radio
Algorithm meets art. This is the best thing to happen to music since frequency modulation.

Esperanza Spalding
She's won a Grammy for best new artist, but I still feel as though I've stumbled into a secret jazz dive each time I listen to her.

David Mitchell
If there were one word that might best describe author David Mitchell, it would have to be "eclectic." So many brilliantly varied voices and styles. My favorite work to date, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

Kate Rusby
I'm generally a fan of jazz and classical, but I can't get enough of the pure, unadulterated voice of the Barnsley Nightingale.

Emily Dickinson
"Unique, gemlike lyrics ... distillations of profound feeling and original intellect."