The Three Phases of Designing Customer Experiences

By James Grieve posted 08-30-2017 13:12


3_phases1.pngIn our experience with working on Customer Experience strategy with organizations in a variety of industries, one common theme emerges that separates the successful ones from the rest; having a deliberate approach.  Successful organizations do this because they think about the people at the end of their decisions. The intent of their work is to improve the lives of the people providing and receiving their services, and they do so consistently and purposefully. 

We often encounter clients that are trying to “boil the ocean”, a term used to describe organizations that go overboard by unnecessarily undertaking an impossible task or making projects difficult. As a result, we have developed a simple, yet transformative three-phase Customer Experience framework.  

Phase 1: Understanding 

The objective of this phase is to help organizations develop the right strategy to serve their customers effectively and consistently. This is where we learn about our client’s organization, it’s people, suppliers, distributors, operations, organizational structure, processes, strategy, and customers. From listening to key stakeholders from inside and outside of the organization we learn what they do, how they work and why they do what they do. 

Phase 2: Exploring 

The objective of this phase is to develop best practices and products that will improve the overall Customer Experience. Armed with an acute understanding of our client’s capabilities, capacities, competencies, and their customers’ expectations, we test innovative and sustainable ways to make them stand out from the competition. Constantly testing assumptions and iterating new ways of doing things with the customer in mind reveals new business opportunities and guides decision making. 

Phase 3: Materializing 

The objective of this phase is to help our clients execute successfully, every time. Unlike other tactical approaches that improve departmental silos of functional areas of business like marketing, operations, or customer service, Customer Experience takes a holistic view of the operation and executes strategy based on the findings of the Understanding and Exploring Stages. Applying a well-researched, thoroughly tested strategy and complementing it with a disciplined emphasis on execution saves clients valuable time and money, and most importantly, consistently delights their customers. 

Following this three-phase approach enables organizations to design and deliver Customer Experiences from their customers’ perspective. The benefits are vast because it consistently guides the direction for organizations’ Customer Experience efforts, improves decision making, and drives accountability.

About the Author

James Grieve is a Certified Management Consultant and partner in Nucleus Strategies, a Kelowna-based consulting firm that specializes in working with businesses in a variety of industries to design great service experiences that delight customers and improve business performance. He can be reached at 778.214.6010, or