Some companies seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to determining what their customers are thinking and feeling, and then optimizing the experience accordingly. Amazon, Apple, and Toyota were among the leaders in the Temkin Group’s 2013 Experience Ratings. Southwest Airlines, Marriott, and American Express have also earned high marks in catering to customers’ needs and emotions. Unfortunately, not all companies are so well-attuned to their audiences.

If you’ve invested resources in creating a customer experience strategy but haven’t seen the results you were hoping for, it may be time to step back, reassess, and determine whether you’re making any of these critical mistakes.

  1. Not paying attention to the data. It’s impossible to deliver a relevant, personalized customer experience if you’re not consistently evaluating performance. Using tools like Adobe Target, you can monitor real-time data to determine where customers are getting stuck during checkout, what pages have the highest bounce rates or longest visits, the relevance and thoroughness of search results, and more. This key information will give you the power to better optimize the customer experience.
  2. Treating all customers the same. In our diverse and competitive market, one size does not fit all. Today’s customers expect a highly relevant and engaging experience. Maximize your results by identifying distinct customer segments, getting to know them, and then tailoring experiences to match their preferences and behaviors. A tool like Adobe Target makes it easy to provide a personalized media experience through automated targeting.
  3. Assuming a quiet customer is a happy customer. According to Lee Resources, for every customer complaint, there are 26 unhappy customers who have remained silent. Look to the data to gauge the effectiveness of the customer experience. If a customer is coming back to your site or store, making repeat purchases, and/or interacting with your content, you’re doing something right. If not, some aspect of the experience has left your customer cold. Consider testing out various surveys to elicit honest, valuable feedback.
  4. Neglecting existing customers. Many companies make the mistake of spending too much time and resources trying to attract new prospects, while neglecting people who have previously purchased. According to Marketing Metrics, there’s a 60 to 70 percent probability of selling to an existing buyer, and only a 5 to 20 percent chance of converting a new one. Returning customers represent a key segment; for maximum results, focus on providing them with a highly personalized experience.
  5. Overlooking the social component. Your customers should be your biggest cheerleaders. If you’re not giving them an easy way to spread the word and evangelize your brand, you’re missing out on a highly effective way to establish credibility and attract quality leads. Every piece of marketing collateral—from your website to email newsletters to direct mail pieces—should invite customers to share their experiences with people in their network.
  6. Not reaching out. Gathering customer information won’t provide any benefit if you don’t put it to use. Once you’ve collected enough data about your visitors, craft a solid communications strategy. Carefully consider what content will be most relevant, and be sure to personalize each message to match your customers’ preferences and purchasing behaviors. Personalized emails have been shown to have higher clickthrough rates than general messages.
  7. Trying to be a carbon copy. There’s nothing wrong with drawing ideas and inspiration from competitors, but imitating them too closely can make you seem inauthentic. When a customer visits your site or store, they’re not expecting to have the same experience your competitor is offering—they’re looking for what makes your business unique. Anything you add to that experience—whether it’s a new logo, color scheme, or checkout sequence—must be aligned with what customers have come to expect from you, and should support your overall brand/identity.

You can have the best product or service on the market, but if there’s a snag somewhere in your customer experience, your target buyer is sure to get stuck. Avoid these costly mistakes and enjoy the benefits of happy customers who flow seamlessly from initial contact to final sale, and beyond.


In the new world of big data we are all looking for that way to aggregate our customers so we canserve them better. But sometimes we forget that on th eroad to efficiency every single person we meet is still every single person and our company performance is made out of all these individual interactions.

Gina, thank you. This is a great article. Makes the point in a very effective way without making me feel beat up.  :-)