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The Elegant Architecture of the Customer Experience

By Seema Acharya CRM Buyer ECT News Network
May 24, 2010 5:00 AM PT

Smarter organizations today realize that attending to the quality of customer experience could just be the differentiator that they were on the lookout for.

The Elegant Architecture of the Customer Experience

When Patricia Seybold introduced "Quality of Customer Experience (QCE)," the entire world sat up and noticed.

Why QCE? There area several reasons. QCE

  • contributes towards building your brand: Your customers are the proponents of your services/products;
  • expands your customer base: It stretches your circle;
  • improves customer satisfaction: Your happy customers turn into loyal customers;
  • increases customer retention: Your best customers remain your best customers; and it
  • enhances promotion/marketing/advertising of your services/products: Your customers will become your brand advocates.

Architecting the Experience

Over the last few years, enterprises belonging to the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry have been recruiting large numbers of engineering graduates in India in order to meet their business growth goals. These engineers are typically from multifarious engineering disciplines. Such enterprises have put into practice mandatory training programs with the aim to align the fresh talent to their business requirements. These training programs are set apart by their arguably fast pace of knowledge transfer, hands-on application of concepts, work-in-team concept, large class size and multiple, simultaneous batches.

Preparation to receive and slickly induct a batch of fresh recruits begins far in advance. Nothing is left to chance -- everything is dexterously architected. Whether it is the guided check-ins; the seamless orientation into the enterprise's culture, ethics and value system; the carefully premeditated training schedule; the setting up of the online laboratories for training; the alignment of training programs to business requirements (after all what good is all the experience, if it cannot help you with your job!); the consistency in executing the training program (the arduous task not helped by the diversity in learning styles); the method of assessment (not too many and not too few); the prompt announcement of performance results; the easy and speedy release to the production environs; the much-required handholding for their smooth transition into the professional environment -- everything is by DESIGN and not by DEFAULT.

The aforesaid activities are the moments of truth, and delivering at these touchpoints will create an awesomely rich experience.

The point here is that the focus should be on creating, on an average, a good experience over the entire cycle rather than creating a roller-coaster ride of positive and negative experiences.

By Design, Not by Default

Creating such an enriching experience for several parallel batches is no fluke. It is a marvelous synergy of people, processes and systems inextricably intertwined.

People. In a knowledge economy, people are the most vital asset. What is required is an assemblage of the right set of people. Leaders skilled in people management with emphasis on customer focus and a clear comprehension of people, processes and system are briefed by the senior management on the design and crafting of the unique customer experience. They are ably supported in their endeavors by the administrative staff for training coordination and data management, support staff for management of technical and physical infrastructure, and support staff for human relations management.

Processes. Disciplined execution requires a robust set of processes to ensure efficiency and uniformity and keep pace with the burgeoning scalability requirements of the enterprise. Below is a brief list of the core business processes and their key focus areas:

Core Business Processes

Key Focus Areas

Training delivery

Modes of knowledge transfer and learning

Evaluation and assessment

Modes and tools for assessment

Course artifacts development

Design and develop artifacts

Operations management

Planning and scheduling

Quality management

Data analysis -- retrospective and prospective, corrective measures

Customer relationship management

Customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy

Systems. Automated systems are vital to augment productivity of operations and to fulfill accuracy, efficiency, effectiveness, reliability and scalability needs.

The core systems and their key focus areas are depicted in the table below:

Core Systems

Key Focus Areas

Planning, forecasting & scheduling

Preparedness & optimum resource usage

Evaluation / assessment

Performance management

Performance tracking and analysis

Activity tracking, analysis and performance reporting

Publications media

Publishing course artifacts

Communication portal

Information dissemination

Knowledge management

Assimilation, consolidation and dissemination of knowledge

Final Thoughts

In Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey states that imagination is the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint.

As with architecting a brilliant education experience, other experiences can also be architected, in every sphere. The case study previously discussed serves to reiterate the point that the vision of providing a unique and quality experience to fresh recruits was envisioned first, and then proactive muscles were flexed in the right direction to convert imagination into reality.


Seema Acharya is a Principal with the education and research group at Infosys Technologies Limited.


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