Not So Fast – The Cart Doesn’t Go in Front of the Horse

By Blaine Millet


When organizations decide to improve their customer experience, they are usually losing more customers, feeling the threat of competition (usually because they are in a commodity position), wanting to expand their customer base, move into new markets, or possibly some other reason. Unfortunately, their first instinct is to throw some TACTICS at the solution… trying to apply some short term fixes to solve some longer term issues. Most usually say, “What are we going to do to improve our customer experience starting tomorrow?

CAUTION: THIS DOESN’T WORK… at least not for very long!!

There are many consultants in the market that love to prey on companies asking these questions and who want immediate action and fixes… usually luring them into the trap of thinking this is a “quick fix” solution. Try this, now try that, then put this in place next week and you’ll see instant results. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t get the results you want and they won’t be sustainable… they don’t have a “long tail” to last throughout the entire CUSTOMER JOURNEY.


Customers are on a JOURNEY… every customer.

Regardless of where the customer starts, they are on a journey to Discover, Explore, Learn, Validate, Purchase, Evaluate, Assess, and then decide if this was a positive, neutral, or negative experience. This Journey can be fairly quick or extend over a long period of time, depending on your business. But every customer goes through a Journey of some kind.


Imagine you want to go on a trip across the country… that would be a Journey. You have two choices. The first choice is to jump in the car with a bag packed (warm and cold clothes) and just start driving. You have no idea where you are going at any given moment but you “tactically” keep driving, eating, sleeping, and going to new places. But there’s no plan on where you want to end up or by when. It’s just a bunch of tactics put together to get you “somewhere”… but without a destination.

Your second choice is take a trip across the country that is a JOURNEY. You decide where you want to end up and by when… you build a vision of your destination. Then you develop a very specific STRATEGY for how you want to get there… where you want to go along the way, how long it will take you, and what you would like to experience. After you have all this identified, THEN you plan out the tactics to make your Strategy a reality and you will achieve your Vision by a certain date. All the pieces need to be in alignment for this to happen… but when they happen, you end up where you wanted to go and when you wanted to get there and you get to see what you planned on seeing and you have an awesome experience.


A CUSTOMER JOURNEY is similar to your second choice.

You plan out what you want your Customer Experience to look like… the ideal state for what you want your customers to say after having an experience with your company. Then you create Customer Experience Maps to define each interaction with the customer so you know specifically what you want to achieve and how you want to get there. Now you can execute the maps and provide the training of your personnel… you are providing the “tactics” and details so they can deliver a “consistent and repeatable” customer experience.

A Customer Journey goes well beyond just putting some “stop gap” tactics in place to try and please the customer. When companies focus on the tactics without a well-defined Strategy and Journey, they end up with “Random Acts of Excellence and Chaos“… which causes customers to be confused… and confused customers leave. Customers love predictability and consistency in their experience.

To become a CUSTOMER OBSESSED Company, you have to start with a CUSTOMER JOURNEY STRATEGY… which ends up with lots of TACTICS. But now these tactics are focused in a common direction with a specific vision and strategy in place. This is what the very best companies do to provide a consistently incredible customer experience. It’s what sets them apart from their competition. Any company can do it… but few will take on the challenge and see the opportunity because it is strategic, takes planning, takes time, requires commitment, and doesn’t happen overnight. Those who want a list of “quick fix” tactics never get there.

Understanding your Strategic Customer Journey and building Customer Experience Maps to execute the tactics of the Journey is what gives companies the foundation upon which they can build and grow many years into the future. It’s what creates the “long tail” of Customer Loyalty and Retention… not to mention massive Word-of-Mouth. It’s a core piece of the overall Vision, Strategy, and Journey. I would love to talk to you if you are on a path to Customer Obsession… it would be a great conversation!



If you found this helpful, please share it with your friends so they can also learn from the material. And if this resonated with you, please visit my site and read more posts like this one. Today, if you aren’t on a path to move your company from being GREAT to being REMARKABLE and MEMORABLE, you don’t get talked about.

My PASSION and MISSION is to help INSPIRE, GUIDE, and HELP you move your company from being GREAT to being REMARKABLE… and create Word-of-Mouth on STEROIDS so you get talked about… a lot.

I have a model that helps get you to REMARKABLE. In the core of the model is creating unbelievably incredible amazing and awesome Customer Experiences… you can learn about it in my book, “Creating and Delivering Totally Awesome Customer Experiences.” With this as a foundation, you are well on your way to being REMARKABLE.

There are four key components to help get you to being REMARKABLE… getting talked about in the market… and ultimately letting your CUSTOMERS DO YOUR MARKETING FOR YOU.

Are you ready to become REMARKABLE? Shoot me a message… we’ll have an awesome conversation!