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For Amazing Customer Experience Insights, Kindly Step Outside

customer experience insights

Gathering and acting on customer experience insights from analytical data, surveys, and other resources inside your organization is one thing. But stepping into your customer’s shoes to understand what they need the most is another! Getting a different perspective on the true customer experience is harder than it sounds and much more challenging than most believe it should be.

Just looking at a few things from the outside in to better understand this perspective can help any organization improve their customer and employee experience.

Here are a few ways to get that outside-in perspective.

1. Forget what the ideal journey looks like.

We veteran digital folks know the common drills for observing and evaluating digital experiences. “How would you…” We ask customers to show us how they’d resolve an issue, conduct a specific transaction, or achieve some other goal. But we trip over our own feet when customers do things their own way and for reasons we’ve never heard of!

In the bestselling book, Why We Buy, Paco Underhill shared how his observers noted how women were shopping the men’s department to buy underwear for themselves. They were unaware of this problem because without observing the experience from the outside in, it’s too easy to assume customers are following the ideal customer journey.

2. Keep track of how customers express their emotions.

When customers use the same words to express their feelings at a similar part of the journey, you can learn a lot if you are really listening. Ask customer service reps to listen for emotional words, like “annoyed” or “happy.”

To help get the point across when it comes to how customers are actually feeling, try creating a word cloud and sharing it with everyone in the organization. Recognizing key emotional words goes a long way towards helping those on the “inside” start seeing things from the outside-in.

3. Rethink your choice of words.

Can anyone tell me what “SOON” means? 3 minutes? 1 day? 2 weeks? This is one of a zillion words we throw around without realizing they mean different things. How a customer interprets these words is situational and can change from moment to moment.

Test it out and ask a few customers “When we say we’ll get you set up as soon as possible, when do expect that to happen?” Brainstorming about all the nebulous words and phrases you use is a fun but eye-opening exercise. Here are a few to get you thinking:

  • Soon
  • Ready
  • Best
  • Highest-Quality

Your business or industry has its own lingo too. Don’t pass up the opportunity to consider what else is left open to interpretation!

Customers are depending on you to gather real-life customer experience insights.

Outside-in thinking is not defined through insights discovered from the inside. Instead, it’s about the valuable customer experience insights that are only visible from the outside. Customers need us to consider how we can reduce their effort. They need us to explain things in ways they understand, and maybe make it a little more fun. They need us to walk through their true journey without preconceived ideas or judgement.

What are some ways you can start seeing things from the outside-in?

This post was written for, and a version originally appeared in the Intradiem Real-time Frontline blog

About Jeannie Walters, CCXP, CSP

Jeannie Walters CCXP CSP small square photoJeannie is an award-winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker, and sought-after business coach who is trailblazing the movement from “Reactive Customer Service” to “Proactive Customer and Employee Experience.” More than 500,000 people have learned from her CX courses on LinkedIn Learning, and her insights have been featured in Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and NPR

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