The peak-end rule leads to several specific bits of advice when it comes to managing customer experiences. The first is to finish well or at least less bad.
Using the peak-end rule
Since one of the two points in time that matter the most you want to make sure that the end is great or if you can anticipate that it will be an unpleasant experience for your customer say a call from your customer service center to report a problem for example do what you can to make sure the end of the experience is as good as you can reasonably make it.
So the end of and experience matters, make it as pleasant as possible and a related bit of advice is to get bad experiences out of the way early. This is rule number two. Get expert bad experiences out of the way. If there’s any part of the interaction with the customer you know will be unpleasant getting out of the way early reduces the likelihood that the worst part of the experience will come at the end.
The peak and rule gives us our third tool for managing customer experience focus on the peaks. If you’re considering two different ways of improving your customer experience one that will improve the average throughout the experience and one that will make the best part just a little bit better.
The fourth rule of customer experience is to consider the reference points. Remember that experiences are often evaluated relative to some reference point, some expectation of how the experience should go. So, exactly the same interaction with the firm could be evaluated as excellent by a customer who is not expecting things to go well, but is terrible by someone who is expecting something truly spectacular.
Your job as a marketer is to determine what reference points your customers have when evaluating your experience and if possible to influence your customers judgments by providing them with reference points. One reference point that marketers can control is the one established by the company’s own communications.
The resetting of reference points can also work to your advantage if you play it right this leads us to our next rule for managing customer experience: segment pleasures and combine pain. People tend to be more sensitive to changes that happened close to a reference point then it happened farther away from the reference point. It sounds complicated but you’ve experienced this lots of times.
This sixth and last rule for managing customer experiences is to motivate and empower those employees who will actually interact with your customers
on the incentives front make sure that employees are evaluated on and rewarded for providing good customer experiences. This may mean developing employee evaluation tools that incorporate customer feedback as a metric.
It may also mean tracking, praising and publishing internally examples of great customer service. Make providing great customer experiences a source of prestige within the organization. It’s important to remember that incentives come in more forms that just dollars and cents.
Six rules for managing customer experiences
To briefly summarize the six rules for managing customer experiences:
- the end of and experience matters, make it as pleasant as possible;
- get bad experiences out of the way;
- focus on the peaks, improve the best part and make the worst parts less bad;
- remember the reference points;
- segment pleasures and combine pains and finally
- motivate and empower your employees
This gives you an approach for creating products and services that lead to great customer experiences.