The customer experience cycle

October 29, 2009

An obvious point about the customer’s total experience with products or services is that it goes well beyond just the use experience of those products or services – i.e. it involves what we call the “customer experience cycle” below. [Note: this graphic has been liberally adapted/adopted from the excellent book The Entrepreneurial Mindset by Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian Macmillan, 2000. The authors use the term “consumption chain” for this flow. See pp 57 – 65 in their book for a detailed discussion.]

 Cust Exp Cycle 2

This generic flow clearly works conceptually for both product-based and service-based offerings although some of the terminology may need to be creatively defined or interpreted to fit the service offering side (e.g. what do you mean by “disposal” of your current IT-outsourcing supplier if you decide to change vendors or how do you define “assemble and install” for your engagement of a new accounting firm to manage your personal or business books). In fact we have found that this generic flow works best as a starting template for creation of a business or company specific customer experience cycle. It is this tailored flow that is then used as a tool in designing the full customer experience profile that the development team hopes will win in the marketplace.

The greatest value of this graphic, however is how it emphasizes the multiple opportunities that a company has to touch customers both well before and well after the customer’s direct use of their offering. By making these opportunities distinct, visible and by implication of potentially equal importance to the “use” experience (we purposely made all the bubbles the same size) it helps force development teams to expand their design thinking beyond just  the offering’s performance in use. It also helps ensure that company leadership includes resources from a wider range of functions on the offering development/design team.

I will talk more about how to use this tool in later posts.

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One Response to “The customer experience cycle”


  1. […] and issues in your product development efforts so you can improve their experience all along the customer experience cycle. The Fujitsu company (a $ 47B Japanese provider of IT hardware/software solutions to a very wide […]


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