Getting beyond fixing pain points to focus on differentiating CX

This is the first blog in a series called Amplify Innovation. It focuses on one of the problem statements in the exhibit shown here. You can also check out my earlier blog here that sets up each of these series and addresses the problem statements holistically. Read on to dive deeper into the series for Amplify Innovation!

While addressing pain points along the customer journey for your personas is valuable as a way to improve the customer experience, it’s more important to focus on differentiating your brand through unique and memorable experiences that drive customer engagement and brand advocacy. To achieve this, be more proactive in your approach to experience design, developing a continuous improvement cycle to apply quality management practices to your CX.  I often refer to this as addressing the “brilliant basics”, building a well oiled machine to drive continuous improvement across a backlog of prioritized CX opportunities.  In parallel to addressing the brilliant basics,  you can also prioritize a set of “bold bets” to focus on for a truly differentiated customer experience.

In the past, identifying customer pain points along their journey meant asking customers to complete a post-experience survey, potentially in combination with transactional surveys triggered at specific moments that matter. The problem was (and still is), that those that respond are more likely to skew to the extremes. Continuous improvement cycles that tap into unstructured data (such as social media, ratings/reviews, call center voice-to-text transcriptions, live chat, or messaging) provide a much clearer picture of how your customers feel as they provide a less biased sample and are closer to real-time feedback. Using this approach, you can constantly gauge the emotions surrounding your brand and leverage those insights to amplify existing peaks on the customer journey, or create new ones. To see more about this topic, check out my video interview with Farzad Aref founder of Farlinium, here. We partner with Farlinium to help clients modernize their CX listening approaches using Qualtrics XM Discover, helping them create continuous improvement cycles to drive greater value from their CX investments  I also recommend checking out this blog here from my AI & CX series about getting beyond surveys and delivering a better experience for your “Moveable Middle,” a powerful framework developed by MMA Global, where I’m acting as a CX subject matter expert.

To get beyond the brilliant basics and drive a step change in CX value, you also need to pursue a number of bold bets, which entails reimagining the way you deliver CX for peaks on the customer journey or creating new peaks.  These peaks provide an opportunity to deepen your emotional connection with your customers and reinforce a CX that is coherent with your brand strategy. This requires a robust understanding of the “deep metaphors” that customers rely on unconsciously to categorize their experiences with you, and the “emotional motif” you develop to prioritize your experience design efforts in line with your insights into the deep metaphors that guide customer beliefs and behaviors along their journey.  For more on the concepts of deep metaphors and emotional motifs, see my blog series with Lou Carbone about Reimagining Insights here. I also highly recommend reading my book review of The Art of Ideas.  As the book lays out in a fun and engaging graphic design format, driving innovation is about combining existing ideas in new ways.  Reimagining your approach to insights will get you part of the way there.  To get all the way there you will need to engage your teams more effectively in a process to apply these insights to spark innovative new ways to solve customer needs along the journey. 

Up Next

Next week, we’ll be writing about shifting from buying volume and loyalty to building emotionally engaging relationships with your brand.  We hope this blog sparked some new ideas on how you can get beyond customer pain points and build customer experiences that differentiate your brand. If you want to learn more about what we discussed here, please DM me on LinkedIn to start a conversation or reach out to