Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The 15 Senses of a Great Customer Experience

Image courtesy of Os Rupias
Have you ever considered which of the senses are most important to both the employee experience and the customer experience?

Nope. I'm not talking about THE five senses you automatically think about. Those are important to the experience, as well.

I'm thinking about some other senses that might not be top of mind when someone asks about senses needed for a great customer experience.

Check these out. Which of these does your organization have? Do your leaders encourage you to exercise these senses? Are you aware that you even have these to call on?

Sense of humor. Used appropriately, this is one of those senses that could really make for a great experience. Need an example? Think about your Southwest Airlines flight attendants.

Sense of ease. As in, are you able to put your customers at ease when they are feeling anxious or frustrated? Is there a level of comfort or assurance that you offer your customers that you are there for them, if they have a question or need an issue solved?

Sense of timing. Timing, as in, synchronization. The organization needs to be in sync, aligning what it knows about its customer - right data to the right people at the right time - to deliver a great experience.

Sense of balance. Knowing what to focus on and when. Knowing which levers to pull to make sure things on either side of the equation are in proportion. A great example is the balance between the employee experience and the customer experience. If these are out of balance, business results will reflect that.

Sense of direction. This is critical. If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?

Sense of responsibility. Everyone within the organization must understand or have a general awareness of its obligations to its customers.

Sense of right and wrong. I think this one goes without explanation.

Sense of urgency.  Is the customer in front of you your top priority? If there's a critical issue, do you attack it like you mean it?

Sense of purpose. Do your employees and customers know your purpose? Do you operate as if that's your guiding light? Your focus?

Sense of place. Often defined or referred to as a sense of belonging or attachment. What characteristics make your brand or your workplace special or unique? What makes customers or employees want to be there?

Sense of community. Being part of something where others are in alignment, linked by a common purpose, goals, or interests. Apple is a great example.

Sense of wonder. This is one that you must never forget about. I believe that a sense of wonder keeps the organization fresh and cutting edge and drives innovation.

Sense of happiness
. When employees and customers share this sense, the world goes round and round.

Sixth sense. It doesn't hurt to be able to perceive those things that are not seen or immediately apparent. That intuition is something that will allow you to delight your customers.

And finally, and this by no means is the last sense an organization must have/use, I do think this is an important one: common sense. I've written about this one a couple of times. Common sense is what helps you to know why the other senses are important and when to call them into play.

I know there are more. What have I missed? Which is your favorite?

Common sense is seeing things as they are and doing things as they ought to be. -Harriet Beecher Stowe


  1. According to the urban dictionary the traditional entity known as "common sense" is conspicuously absent of our current society. Therefore, what is generally thought of as "common sense" shall now be known as "uncommon sense".

    Maybe it should also be first on your list

    1. James, one of my favorite sayings about common sense is that it is so rare that it's a super power. Since I've written about it several times, I put it at the bottom of the list - definitely not discounting it. :-)

      Annette :-)

  2. This makes a lot of sense Annette! First of all, I love James' comment. Also this is just a fantastic compilation.

  3. As author of 'Common Sense Service' I would echo the sentiment previous comments that common sense is unfortunately often lacking today.

  4. Thank you, Annette. This is a brilliant way to link and explain the customer experience collection of factors!

  5. Nice work, Annette. Great list of 'senses'.

    Here's a quote that you might like that goes with your list: “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” ― Thomas A. Edison


    1. Thanks, Adrian. I love that quote! Definitely goes with the list.

      Annette :-)