In this blog we hear from Peter Donnelly, an undergraduate at Pearson Business School as he presents his view of Customer Experience. Peter learned more about customer experience in his first year in one of Sandra Thompson's lectures.....

" In 2016 (the year before I came to Pearson College London) the Digital Marketing Trends Report asked companies to indicate clearly the single most exciting opportunity for their organisation. Similar to the previous year’s answer ‘customer experience’ was the most exciting opportunity. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. In fact, companies who successfully implement a customer experience strategy achieve higher customer satisfaction rates. In turn, this reduces customer churn (business jargon for customers leaving your company over a period of time) and increased revenues.

So what’s my take on customer experience in 2018?
At the start of my studies I was introduced to the term customer experience, in my first year module – Professional Behaviours and Customer Management. During this time the key definition I learned was the most basic and yet most effective. ‘Customer experience is defined by interactions between a customer and an organisation throughout their business relationship.’ Yet, many businesses in 2018 are still not able to implement this into their customer interactions and experiences.

The interactions span from the point the customer becomes aware of the business right through to when they re-purchase. Customer experience should be the strategic influencer of Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Should a customer experience a high level of emotional satisfaction with a business they will be more likely to become a repeat and loyal customer.

During my time studying the Professional Behaviours and Customer Management module, I was introduced to a study by Oracle, which changed my views on its relevance in business development leading into 2018. In the study it found that 74% of senior level executives believe that customer experience impacts the willingness of a customer to be a loyal advocate. In 2018, most businesses are in agreement, that to keep customers loyal, you must invest in their experience. Not necessarily with money, but with time.

My approach to customer experience
At the conclusion of my first year, I differed a year of my studies to undertake a placement overseas at, a Pearson College industry partner. I wanted to gain experience over the course of the 2018/19 academic year in industry applying what I learned in my first year and putting it some of the theory taught into practice.

I'm working for an online graduate careers network and applying effective customer experience is something I am striving to create in my new role as the UK Growth Intern. In an industry that scored only 38% for positive customer experience in 2017 (according to The Temkin Group) this is an opportunity to apply a customer experience strategy that works. Here’s how I have gone about doing this;

Understanding who the customers are at – As an online graduate careers network, our target audience comprises students studying at university seeking internships, placements, graduate jobs and schemes during and/or after graduation. When creating brand awareness for students, all marketing activity is focused on adding value to students on campus, this means anything from distributing free snacks to handing out notebooks (in case you came unprepared to your first lecture), everything we do for our target audience has a 'supportive and nurturing' meaning.

Create an emotional connection with your customer – The famous phrase of “it’s not what you say; it's how you say it” can be applied here. The best customer experiences are achieved when you create an emotional connection with your customer. A good example of this comes in the form of Zappos (an American shoe company). A customer was late returning a pair of shoes due to her mother passing away. When Zappos learned what happened, they took care of the return shipping and had a courier pick up the shoes from the customers address (free of charge). The day after the customer returned home to a bouquet of flowers and note from Zappos sending their condolences.

This is an effective approach to customer management and enhancing a customer's experience with your brand. Most importantly, the customer is likely to become an advocate for the brand and remain loyal, whilst informing others of what happened and increasing the brands customer experience and awareness. At we're developing a range of ways to develop an emotional connection with students.

And of course, measure the ROI from the delivery of your customer experience – Your customer led efforts must be measured. To ensure the investment both in time and money is paying off. Measuring customer experience is one of the biggest challenges faced by organisations in 2018 and going into 2019. Asking customers to give feedback on their experience with your business is an example of how to do this. Also, asking a single straightforward question such as “Would you recommend this product/service to a friend?” could answer all you need to know regarding your existing customer experience. We are using a range of methods right now, just to work out which gives us the greatest insight."

Peter is a student of Pearson Business School - they are hosting the Applied Customer Experience course starting on 17th October. Find out more: or call 0203 441 1303