Grow Business Thru Customer Experience

“Outside In” author explains how the six disciplines of customer experience can help businesses succeed

Editor’s Note: This article concludes a two-part series.

In our new book, “Outside In,” my co-author and I introduce the six disciplines that result in a great customer experience: strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance and culture. My previous article discussed the first three disciplines, which together help companies create innovative customer experiences. This article dives into the second three disciplines, which help companies manage customer experience consistently over time.


How can you measure something that seems as soft and squishy as customer experience? You piece together three kinds of insight that collectively tell you: what happened, what the customer thought happened and what the customer did (or intends to do) as a result of what happened.

Take JetBlue. A few years ago they didn’t have a customer experience measurement program. Today their program is state of the art. After a flight the airline emails a survey that asks passengers to grade each part of their end-to-end process, starting with making a reservation and continuing on through the end of a flight. In the same survey the company asks customers whether they’ll recommend the airline to a friend or colleague. When JetBlue gets the responses back, it attaches data about what channel the customer booked through (e.g., Web or phone), how much they paid for their ticket, whether their flight left on time and whether there were any problems with the flight (e.g., a broken seatback TV). Stringing this information together tells JetBlue what was done right (or wrong), and provides an estimate of value (or cost) to the business.

You can do something similar. Get in the habit of surveying your customers after each interaction, whether those interactions involve sales, product use or service. Some online survey tools like SurveyMonkey and Google Forms are free, so you can try out a measurement program without breaking the bank.

Start by asking your customers to tell you how satisfied they were on a fixed scale that you determine – for instance, from very dissatisfied (1) to very satisfied (5). That level of consistency will let you track your progress over time. In the same survey, ask them a question relating to a business benefit that’s important to you, such as how likely they are to consider you for another purchase. Be sure to once again use a fixed scale like (1) very unlikely to (5) very likely.

When you get the responses back, attach a short description of what happened – like what the customer bought, from which employee and when. That will let you assemble your own end-to-end picture of what types of experiences satisfy your customers and how much their satisfaction is worth to you.


The customer experience governance discipline helps organizations manage customer experience in a proactive and disciplined way. If your customer experience strategy is your game plan, then the governance discipline supplies your referees and your rule book.

Harley Manning
Harley Manning
Harley Manning, is Vice President & Research Director, Customer Experience Practice, Forrester Research. Harley is the co-author of Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business. He founded Forrester's customer experience research practice when he joined the firm in 1998. Today he leads a team of analysts that cover enterprise-level customer experience topics ranging from strategy to metrics. At Forrester, Harley has authored many top-read reports. His first report, Why Most Websites Fail, launched the firm's Website Review methodology, which has now been used to evaluate more than 1,500 sites. In subsequent reports, he created Forrester's methodologies for evaluating website brand experience and for modeling the ROI from customer experience improvement projects.Harley is the founder of Forrester's annual Customer Experience Forum, which he hosts and moderates. In 2011 it became the firm's largest event. Website

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