I recently ran across a definition of “the perfect customer experience” in probably the perfect place to find it: The Perfect Customer Experience blog. Dale Wolf, the author, does a really nice job on the blog — you should check it out. His definition of the perfect experience was:


“The perfect customer experience is one which results in customers becoming advocates for the company, creating referral, retention and profitable growth.”


But, I felt like the definition was not quite right. So I posted the following comment on his blog:


“The perfect customer experience is a set of interactions that consistently exceed the needs and expectations of a customer. While the outcome of delivering great customer experiences will hopefully turn many customers into advocates, I don’t think an experience is any less great if a customer keeps her satisfaction to herself.”


Interestingly, Wolf’s response to my comment describes the differences between our definitions in terms of Net Promoter scores (NPS). Hmmm. I’m not sure that’s the way I would have summed up the differences. The whole point of my comment was to get people to recognize three unique things:

  1. The actual experience (the reality of what happened)
  2. The customer’s perception of the experience (how the customer views it relative to her needs and expectations)
  3. The customer’s reaction to the experience (what the customer does based on the experience)

The perfect customer experience relates to #2, the customer’s perception of the experience. The experience is no less perfect if the customer does not end up becoming an advocate (which is a part of #3 above).

I don’t think that it’s valuable to define the world of customer experience in terms of NPS. It’s not that I dislike NPS, I just want companies to think about it in the context of an overall voice of the customer program.

The bottom line: In terms of figuring out the perfect definition of perfection, I think Yogi Berra said it best: “If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

This blog post was originally published by Temkin Group prior to its acquisition by Qualtrics in October 2018.