Without customers, your business doesn’t exist. As business owners, managers, and developers, it’s our business to obtain & retain customers. Our ability to sign new accounts & subscriptions, or to sell more products, is what determines the profitability of the business and assures us long-term success.

The industry is buzzing with digital transformation, service design, and experience design. They all have one thing in common; all these things revolve around people. Those very people are your potential and current customers.

It’s no secret that having happy customers is critical to business success. So, what is your customers’ experience? Anytime a person interacts with your brand, your product, your service, your advertisements, etc., a human is having an experience with your company. Everything in business relies upon the quality of our customers’ experience throughout the lifetime of a customer’s relationship with a brand.

SINGAPORE – JANUARY 13, 2019: Hasbro Transformers toys at Changi Airport, Singapore

As any marketer knows, prospective customers have multiple experiences with a company’s brand, communication, and marketing efforts during their purchase journey. And that’s just the beginning of the end-to-end customer experience. As business is won, deals are closed, and purchases are made, the promises made during the purchase process are finally put to the test.

Many people commonly believe successful businesses can spring into existence by merely creating the next “it” product. Take a product like My Little Pony for example. It stands the test of time and produces millions and millions of sales generated from multiple generations of children. All you need is the right idea and BOOM; you’ve struck it rich. So how did Hasbro hit the jackpot with little plastic fantasy pony figurines?

In a pinch for a new product for an impending product release cycle, Hasbro’s advanced R&D department went back through their logs of failed product pitches. They found and resurrected an idea of a toy pony that little girls could play with like a doll. They adjusted the pitch and redesigned the concept for preschool-aged children by increasing the scale and making it more durable. They dubbed it, “My Pretty Pony,” and gained approval to move it into production.

But wait, isn’t the product called My Little Pony? That’s right, the My Pretty Pony design was clunky, and children didn’t end up favoring the toy. It only lasted two years on the market, released in 1981 and discontinued in 1983.

The product wasn’t a winner, but it also wasn’t a total loser. Hasbro set out to optimize the concept. An executive took the toy home to his wife and asked her opinion. She suggested the toy needed to be smaller and softer for little girls to like it better. Genius, right?

Well, here’s the thing… Wouldn’t you know it, one of the original (female) product designers on the Hasbro team had been suggesting the very same thing all along? By better listening to their female product designer and/or seeking out customer feedback earlier in the design phase, Hasbro could have hit the jackpot with their cult classic My Little Pony toy design two years earlier.

Well, here’s the thing… Wouldn’t you know it, one of the original (female) product designers on the Hasbro team had been suggesting the very same thing all along? By better listening to their female product designer and/or seeking out customer feedback earlier in the design phase, Hasbro could have hit the jackpot with their cult classic My Little Pony toy design two years earlier.

So, where does the customer experience start and stop? After all the internal churn and conflict over the pony design, their highly skilled and talented product designer left the company. Her ideas weren’t being heard, and she didn’t feel valued. It took an executive’s wife to mimic her opinion before it was taken seriously. In order to deliver exceptional customer experiences, the employee experience must also be carefully crafted. Suddenly the definition of customer experience just expanded, and now very much includes employees and partners.

Experience is everything. Good customer experience leaves people feeling appreciated. It minimizes friction, maximizes efficiency, and maintains a human element. Consumers don’t just want to purchase something; they want a great customer experience that accompanies the product or service.

This is why it’s crucial to deliver a level of customer experience that delights customers and builds an everlasting relationship with customers. And the people driving that customer experience are your employees. The lesson that the early development of “My Little Pony” teaches is that employee experience is vital to customer experience. They go hand in hand.