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Customer experience extends beyond quality of service and usability

by Mark P. McDonald  |  February 28, 2012  |  3 Comments

The customer experience is one of the areas where technology is becoming more important than IT.  TECHNOLOGY > IT.

Traditionally the customer experience as been viewed as an issue of the quality of service customers receive and how an organization handles service failures and gaps.  That description, while true, reflects an operational view of customer service based on defining service attributes and then incorporates those attributes in service delivery.  IT applications are well suited to support an operational definition as service routines are scripted out, information pushed to the front line and all of it wrapped in usability.

IT professional see customer experience in terms of usability and user interface design.  Their goal is to make the interface as intuitive and easy to use as possible.   Having a usable interface, one that is simple to navigate and engage is contributes to a positive customer experience, but is not the same as the customer experience.

Too often usability involves making the information and interface work rather than questioning the need for the interface in the first place.   At the extreme its putting lipstick on a pig – as is the case in many ERP and eHR applications where there is either too much information on the screen or too many buttons to push to navigate among individually simple screens that constitute a complex conversation.

Technologies like mobile, analytics and social extend the customer experience in time, space, place and personality.   An effective customer experience requires a broader approach to encompass being easy to do business with.  This involves much more than concentrating on the user interface or execution of operational processes.  It goes to the heart of an extended definition of the customer experience that includes:

  • delivering on the customer’s definition and expectation of value,
  • encouraging their ability to express themselves throughout the experience ,
  • your recognition of them, their context and abilities in the delivery of products and services,
  • supporting a way of working in ways that make sense to them.

Meeting these requirements requires expanding a view of the customer experience that encompasses the following and other aspects:

  • making it simple in the sense that there is a natural connection between the customer’s goals and expectations and the realization of those expectations;
  • keeping the back office away from the customers who do not need or want to know about how you do business unless it directly relates to their value;
  • eliminating arbitrary rules, policies, deadlines and are not consistent with your brand, features, functions or promises;
  • matching pricing, payments and other financial requirements with the realization of value.

These factors are not new, but were less of priority when customers basically had to transact business via the company’s interface and on their terms.  TECHNOLOGY   like mobile, analytics and social media all break down the power of a prescriptive experience by giving customers two things:  Choice and Voice.   Two things that require thinking about how technology amplifies the enterprise and creates a new customer experience.

Related Posts:

The Customer Experience bridges the gap between revenue growth and cost cutting

Category: amplifying-the-enterprise  applications  innovation  

Tags: customer-centric  customer-experience  design  technology  

Mark P. McDonald
GVP EXP
8 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a former group vice president and head of research in Gartner Executive Programs. He is the co-author of The Social Organization with Anthony Bradley. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Customer experience extends beyond quality of service and usability


  1. […] co-worker shared an interesting blog with me from Gartner.com the other day. The blog, titled “Customer experience extends beyond quality of service and usability” by Mark McDonald, discusses the importance of looking at a new approach when understanding […]

  2. […] 3Exclude everything unnecessary Too often usability involves making the information and interface work rather than questioning the need for the interface in the first place.   At the extreme its putting lipstick on a pig – as is the case in many ERP and eHR applications where there is either too much information on the screen or too many buttons to push to navigate among individually simple screens that constitute a complex conversation. -Mark McDonald […]

  3. […] Customer experience extends beyond quality of service and usability […]



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