Customer experience adds competitiveness – How to create memorable encounters?

Mikko Sjöblom // June 23 2021

Megatrends have swept the board with old principles and opened room for new competitive advantages. Today’s most successful companies have one thing in common: they have created a strong brand and a customer experience that go seamlessly together.

Getting the job done – that’s something every customer surely appreciates. However, the most relevant customer experiences are very brand-specific. In other words, they are also harder to copy.


Customer Experience is more than a neat user interface

Customer Experience (CX) is a topical term understood in various ways. It is often associated with user interface design or single interaction points. But when it comes to customer experience as a competitive advantage, it is wiser to glance at the entire customer path. Currently, only a few companies reach the top performance.

Let’s look at a new digital service:

    • A functional interface meets the basic needs, yet it is not a synonym for an excellent customer experience. The solution works technically, and no obvious errors occur. It still leaves your customers cold.
    • When the application is comfortable and intuitive to use, you will have some advantages in your hands. The product reaches the level where customers set their expectations.
    • Only emotional experiences will make a winner. When a brand leaves a pleasant memory, it draws the customer close again – and again. Moreover, customer loyalty will also radiate further as recommendations.

In an ever-changing world, brand and customer experience can even help the customers position themselves relative to their surroundings.

If you rely on mere technical know-how and leave brand reflection aside, you will create a usable service that won’t be particularly memorable. The higher you strive, and the deeper the impact you want to make, the more crucial the brand is.

Brand experience and customer experience are the two sides of the same coin

There are two remarkable themes related to customer experience and competitiveness:

  1. Customer understanding is the basis for building any quality customer experience. It means hands-on research based on customer involvement, measuring, and data. Did you know that Digitalist has a total of 20 experts in the Customer Insight team? Finnair and Spotify, among others, rely on them.
  2. A relevant brand is the other side of competitiveness and customer experience. If you want to address your customers and create experiences unique to your product, focusing on technical functionality is not enough. Volvo, H&M, and Absolut are examples of companies that work together with our strong Grow brand team.

The concept of brand value has crawled from marketing chambers to the top management agenda for some years now. The connection between brand and competitiveness has become more evident. The same is currently happening to customer experience – after all, it is an inseparable pair with brand experience.

Even in many large companies, customer experience has evolved organically. No one ever took a holistic view on all interaction points. When the picture is scattered, it is impossible to develop, automate, or even measure it.

Designing a brand and customer experience begins with vision and strategy. It continues to the implementation phase, all the way to the creation of a digital interface or concrete packaging.


How do you measure the value of customer experience?

Isn’t it quite hard to calculate the price tag for customer experience? It sure is. Still, the outcomes are in the spotlight when a company invests time and resources in customer experience development, all the way from the strategy creation level.

There are two ways to approach the business case:

  1. Tactical metrics reveal the immediate revenue. A case example: Our customer, London City Cruises, takes about 4.5 million tourists to admire the River Thames during an average year. If the crew members come to them and sell an extra ice cream cone on a warm day, the customers are delighted to bring in more pounds. On an annual basis, the company can calculate sales growth in millions.
  2. Customer satisfaction and loyalty bring long-term benefits. A positive emotional memory will bring the customer back again, and friends and acquaintances will follow.

Given these points, how can you create a competitive advantage from the customer experience? The solution is unique for each company, while there certainly is one rule: You can obtain the best results when you combine an overall holistic picture with deep methodological dives.

We can decompose each digital encounter or real-life interaction point to the atom level. As much as it reveals us, we only can build compelling experiences when detailed lessons are attached to strategy and all interaction points in the customer path.

If you went to business school back in the years when I did, too, you probably learned to build competitiveness on four P’s: product, price, place, and promotion. With globalization and digitalization, they all have lost their relevance at an accelerating pace.

In future lessons, the professors will describe this era as a period when brand and customer experience became the most critical factors in competitiveness.

Interested to learn more?

Contact us today: Esa Nettamo, Chief Design Officer