Katrina Cuthell: Firing Up the Customer Experience Factory

Bain Partner Katrina Cuthell explains how transforming customer episodes can yield significant results in the long term.


Katrina Cuthell: Firing Up the Customer Experience Factory

Companies have improved the customer experience by focusing on end-to-end episodes. Katrina Cuthell, a partner with Bain's Customer Strategy & Marketing practice, explains how to design and implement a customer experience “factory” that can increase customer satisfaction and decrease costs.

Read the Bain Brief: Firing Up the Customer Experience Factory

Read the transcript below.

KATRINA CUTHELL: Many companies embark on a digital transformation to radically improve their customer experience or to reduce costs, or sometimes both. And the common questions that are raised are how to get started or how to orchestrate the transformation and then how to organize to deliver it.

The companies that are most successful in doing this typically see this through the eyes of the customer. They focus on end-to-end customer episodes. What is a customer episode? Well it's simply when a customer has a need that they wish to have fulfilled or something that they want to get done. It has a clear start and end, and it's only completed when the customer has achieved what they set out to do.

Transforming customer episodes requires some sort of repeatable process to maximize the efficient use of an organization's resources. Think of it as a customer experience factory that designs, delivers, and then manages end-to-end customer episodes.

The best place to start is with the episodes that are causing the greatest pain, either to customers or to the company, because they're driving a lot of cost or they're driving a lot of pain for frontline employees. The customer episodes can be allocated to cross-functional teams who use Agile methods to reimagine and deliver transformed episodes. The results can be significant. We often see companies achieve a 30- to 50-point increase in NPS, or even a 30% decrease in operating costs for individual episodes.

The companies that achieve these results typically do a few things well. First, they achieve a high level of coordination within their customer experience factory. They know where their dependencies are, and they achieve alignment in the customer experience across the episodes. And this is particularly important when they're transforming many episodes at once. They also simplify their customer products and propositions. And they radically reduce process complexity while they're transforming their episodes. And then perhaps most importantly, their experience design goes far beyond the digital experience to include the people, the capabilities, and the systems that are required to deliver transformed episodes.

Read the Bain Brief

Firing Up the Customer Experience Factory

How to create experiences that are simple, digital and tuned to what customers value.


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