David Edelman recently shared a great article about the ongoing process of the customer experience.  Specifically, when prospective customers are considering your company’s product or service, Edelman purports today’s consumers take, “a much more complex iterative path thru and beyond purchase.”  The key steps in this cyclical dynamic are:

Consider.  (What brands or products is the consumer aware of prepurchase?)

Evaluate.  (Gathering information to make a decision.)

Buy.  (Stating the obvious.)

Postpurchase.  (Customer reflects on the entire experience, which will inform future decisions.)

Advocate.  (Customer becomes your unpaid salesperson.)

One of the major facets of Edelman’s model I appreciate is the focus on the customer experience.  The customer experience is the totality of that customer’s involvement with your company to purchase the product or the service.  Everything connected with your business and everything connected with what that customer had to navigate, all play into that customer experience.

The value of the customer-experience focus is its implicitly holistic approach.  When companies fail to consider the big picture of what affects that customer, they run the risk of losing that customer, or of never even making the first sale at all.

If a company focuses only on the point of purchase to the exclusion of all else, that company is likely doing serious damage to its overall business viability.  Edelman reminds us we must constantly be aware of the multiple, dynamic components to the, “customer decision journey

Another aspect of Edelman’s model I particularly like is the advocate step.  When your business markets your products and services, it is easy for a prospect to react, “Hey, I expect you to say all these great things about your product and your services—that is your job!”  But when run-of-the-mill consumers, your friends and my friends, begin telling us about how wonderful a particular product or service is, that is when we really listen.  People we know, trust, and care for are giving us valuable input.  How can we not begin to elevate that company and give deeper consideration to its products and services?  It’s all about that personal connection.

Of course, this dynamic has always been important.  But in today’s 24/7 online world of social media, it becomes exponentially more important.  The smart companies are doing everything in their power to engender positive chatter online about their customer experience.

Edelman’s model has great value because it continuously challenges us to be cognizant of all steps connected with the customer experience.  By so doing, our companies can maximize their success.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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