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Do you manage the whole customer experience?

Do you manage the whole customer experience?

Bathrooms have always been close to my heart. I once oversaw a project to improve bathrooms for customers at Tesco. Many of my CMO peers from other industries thought this was a little strange. After all, no one was going to visit a store just because of the quality of the bathroom. However, the project came from a simple customer insight: If you can't keep a bathroom clean and tidy, how can you be trusted to keep food safe?

It taught me something that Disney has always preached: Everything speaks. It was easy to think of the shopping trip in terms of price, assortment, stock levels, checkout service, etc. But less obvious details such as poorly managed parking lots, cluttered entrances, and lines at service desks undermined the shopping experience for customers, and made it less likely that they would return.

Today, the challenge of managing the whole experience is even greater. With omnichannel retailing, there are many more ways that customers can interact with a business, and all of them say something about the brand, while the overall opinion that a customer draws from them can now be shared at the touch of a button.

Many techniques can be used to help manage the customer experience, from constantly walking in customer’s shoes to sophisticated customer journey mapping and measurement. But there was another lesson I learned from the bathroom project. The best bathrooms weren't just the result of policy and procedures, or investments in quality materials. Rather, they were in stores where the manager had built a positive team environment, focused on serving the customer. To deliver a great experience in today's complicated omnichannel world, such a culture is surely needed across the whole business.

How do you manage the customer experience?

Simon Uwins is a former CMO of fresh&easy and Tesco UK, and author of Creating Loyal Brands (2014). Find him online at

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