Case study

The 5 Dimensions of Customer Experience


the challenge

Developing a customer experience framework is challenging due to the subjective and multifaceted nature of customer interactions, requiring a balance of emotional, cultural, and individual factors. Any useful framework must be able to continuously adapt to changing customer preferences and technological advancements, and be robust yet flexible enough to cater to diverse customer segments and guide consistent service delivery.
Defining customer experience in a meaningful way is challenging due to the complex nature of customer interactions and the inherently subjective nature of experience.
Each customer brings unique expectations and perceptions which can vary widely based on personal preferences, past experiences, and cultural backgrounds.
Customer experience encompasses a broad range of elements, from emotional responses and practical usability to overall satisfaction with the service outcome. One-size-fits all approaches to measurement or improvement do not accurately reflect the complexity and nuance of the wide-ranging flavours of experience, for both customers and employees.
Organisations need to adopt a flexible, multi-faceted approach to describing and evaluating the customer experience that highlights key attributes common to all types of experience so they can accurately and confidently evaluate their current experience and uncover opportunities for improvement in ways that make sense to their customers.
"Good design fits our needs so well that it is practically invisible."

solving the right problem

Accurately identifying and framing the problem to be solved prevents wasting time and resources on solving the wrong problems, enhances the effectiveness of the design solutions, and increases the likelihood of meeting or exceeding user expectations.

Guiding Questions

  1. What attributes are common to all types of experience?
  2. Do these attributes signal some underlying themes?
  3. Can we turn these themes into guiding principles/dimensions?

Dimension #1 - Touchpoints

Touchpoints are direct interactions between customers and a business, encompassing both obvious and subtle elements. These touchpoints are critical as they often form lasting impressions that can be either positive or negative.


  • websites
  • ads
  • customer service centers
  • third party online resources
  • search engine profiles.

Organisations frequently overlook subtle touchpoints or don't appreciate the impact of poorly designed ones remaining blissfully unaware of the impact on the perception of their customers, leading to confusion or frustration when erroneous expectations are set and then unmet. Another tension point happens when organisations manage touchpoints separately by department, leading to a disjointed customer experience as they are developed and delivered inconsistently to the customer.

To properly support a positive customer experience, businesses need to view touchpoints as interconnected components of a holistic journey that are only as good as their weakest link.


Dimension #2 - Pathways

Effective touchpoints require seamless transitions called “Pathways”. ”. They are crucial for smoothly guiding customers from one touchpoint to the next, much like a relay race's hand-off maintains momentum.


  • next steps
  • directions
  • wayfinding signage
  • app navigation

Pathways are often overlooked, with organisations focusing more on individual touchpoints rather than on connecting them effectively. Poorly designed pathways disrupt the customer journey, complicating transactions and leading to lost and frustrated customers.

Dimension #3 - Orientation

Ensuring customers and employees feel well-oriented in their experience is crucial to reducing frustration and confusion as they navigate a service experience to accomplish their goals, both as a service user or as a service provider.


  • visual overviews
  • progress bars
  • consistent visual & verbal cues to maintain predictability
  • readily available assistance like customer service or easily accessible help options
  • incorporating cultural and contextual sensitivity to cater to diverse users
  • clearly defined roles, responsibilities, & expectations
  • employee onboarding & training

Orientation is crucial to an individual's ability to quickly and effectively orient themselves to achieve their objectives, even in unfamiliar and/or stressful circumstances.


Dimension #4 - choreography

Choreography is the internal cooperation among departments, suppliers, and distributors, and is critical in executing memorable customer interactions.


  • internal processes like sales & operations
  • technology integration
  • supply chain management
  • partnerships

It is crucial to ensure internal processes and process changes align with customer value to avoid negatively impacting the customer experience. Successful organisations transform traditional silos into unified teams focused on delivering exceptional value through their customer experience.


Dimension #5 - Systemic

Internal and external systemic influences significantly shape customer experiences. Internal influences dictate the efficiency and quality of service delivery. External influences shape consumer expectations and satisfaction.

Internal Examples:

  • organisational structure & purpose
  • corporate culture
  • technological infrastructure

External Examples:

  • market dynamics
  • technological advancements
  • cultural & social factors

These systemic challenges represent a different type of problem. They don't have a single "solution." Instead, organisations must approach them through a systemic lens to understand the key leverage points in these systems where they can intervene to push the system towards more desirable outcomes.


Key Insight

Customer experience is nuanced, subjective, and personal. However, there are 5 underlying principles that apply to all types of experience that we can leverage to evaluate and guide improvements to any organisation’s customer experience.

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