Can you predict customer experience success?

by Jeannie Walters

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tarot card readingA few weeks ago, I attended the SOBCon Conference here in Chicago. Full of inspiration, motivation and ideas, I plunged into considering plans for my own business.

One of the speakers who stood out to me was Les McKeown, who wrote Predictable Success, and most recently, The Synergist. He described the way companies grow and fail in 7 distinct phases.

  1. Early Struggle
  2. Fun
  3. White Water
  4. Predictable Success
  5. Treadmill
  6. The Big Rut
  7. Death Rattle

I could relate to this on a bunch of levels, including watching the company I helped grow reach a pinnacle and then go through that incredibly bumpy period of adding process and people.

The thoughts that have bounced around since then, however, have been about the experience.

Can we predict how the experience will be successful?

I’d argue yes. And no.

If we really looked at the experiences we offer our customers, we could predict some things.


Will putting them through an endless series of automated prompts when they proactively call in to our “customer service” number make them feel valued and respected? (No)

Will sending them invoices that never mention appreciation for their business help them feel valued as customers? (No)

Will being nice help them relate to our company as a group of people, rather than a faceless corporation? (Yes)

Will understanding our data help us provide the right things to our customers? (Yes…and No)


Can data be the answer? (No)

Can asking the questions be enough? (No)

Can we totally predict what will happen in the marketplace? (No)

Can we always predict how each individual customer will react to each individual situation? (No, we’re irrational, emotional humans!)

But there are strategies we can use to predict how successful our experience design will be. It’s something I’m thinking about a lot lately. What do you think?

Photo Credit: Ian Crowther via Creative Commons license



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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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