Delivering an Extraordinary Customer Experience

Awhile ago I read an interesting article with Scott Griffith , CEO of in an Adaptive Path newsletter.

The most interesting part was about Zipcars’ approach to user experience being ingrained in the brand ideals of the organisation. These ideals start at the website and then they are interwoven into the lifetime experience of the customer.

From interview

Question: In terms of the design of that service — you’ve got a lot of components — a web site, mobile (I don’t know if it’s SMS), you’ve got the cars themselves, and a call center. How explicit is the design of the service? How planned is it? What does Zipcar’s blueprint look like? Is it really refined and detailed, or is it a bit more organic?

Answer: Well, we have one. We have a culture that we’ve tried to develop that, we hope, matches the brand that we deliver; and that’s all around self-service. The design is meant to be simple in nature, elegant, and self-service focused. It starts in the company’s culture and in the DNA of our brand. We’re very serious about keeping all of our user systems very simple, but we have a group internally that we call our product group.

They focus on the lifetime experience that a member has with our service, from the first time they go to our web site through the last time they ever use one of our cars and decide not to be a member any more. They map that cycle and follow it; we’re constantly trying to refine and improve that map, that architecture. That timeline, by the way, lasts for typically four or five years, our members stay with us for multiple years.

We think about that whole experience as they use the cars for the first time or review their online billing for the first time. They might have a problem on the side of the road, to refuel the car, get into an accident; these are all experiences that we have to deal with, because we’re treating these cars very much like car ownership, but you’re just buying it one hour at a time.”

I love the idea that to truly deliver an extraordinary customer experience, it needs to start with a careful definition of what that is; then ingrain the solution into the companies brand and culture. Give the customer a full experience that starts with marketing/sales material and then seamlessly embed it into every interaction that the customer has with the company over time.

Leave a comment


  1. Very interesting. Do you think the brand ideals start with the organisational culture and the website is (one) channel for communicating the culture and ideals which are inextricably linked and a product of each other?

  2. Good Layout and design. I like your blog. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. .

    Jason Rakowski

  3. I suppose it’s a chicken and an egg question, what first comes first- company culture or company brand?

    I think the type of brand, culture and customer experience that you wish to deliver need come out of your larger business strategy and be aligned with where you see yourself in the market.

    Once defined it should be consistent across all channels- website, offline marketing, phone support etc..

  4. Thanks Jason, I appreciate the feedback.

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