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Customer Experience Design




The profitability of a business increasingly depends on its ability to design and deploy effective customer experiences. A customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a brand, over the duration of their relationship with that brand. It is influenced by many factors, from the way a brand is perceived, to what happens when someone complains. It is the sum of all relationship-defining events.


A customer experience starts with the way a customer becomes aware of a brand’s existence, and continues through the cycle of comparison, purchase, implementation, use of the product/service, decision to renew or repurchase, and any word of mouth effects. The companies that win in the moments that matter are those that obsess about customers and the experience they design and deploy for them.


To understand effective customer experience design, this course considers how to design and deploy the most effective strategies and tactics at each stage of the customer experience, that is, in the pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase phases. We will look at each step and consider how to build, strengthen and maintain an effective customer experience.


Students will develop skills to manage the entire customer experience process, appreciate why and how to place customers at the core of the company’s strategic thinking, understand the critical moments that define a successful customer experience, and learn how to design and manage customer experiences with a view to creating customer satisfaction and financial value before, during and after the sale.





The course is divided into four main parts:


(1) Introduction to customer experience design

(2) the pre-purchase phase

(3) the purchase phase

(4) the post-purchase phase.


The teaching method is a blend of lectures, case studies, practical exercises & activities, and guest speakers.




Coursework (30%) and final exam (70%)





  • KPMG Customer Experience Excellence Centre (2017), ”B2B Customer Experience: Winning in the Moments that Matter”.
  • Merlo, O., How To Win Friends And Influence People! Your people!”, The Human Factor.
  • Merlo, O., Eisingerich, A.B. & Auh, S. (2014) “Why Customer Participation Matters”, MIT Sloan Management Review, 55, 81-88.
  • Merlo, O. Eisingerich A.B., Shin, H.K., and Britton, R. (2019) “Avoiding the Pitfalls of Customer Participation“, MIT Sloan Management Review, August.
  • Merlo, O., Eisingerich, A.B., Auh, S. & Levstek J. (2018) "The Benefits and Implementation of Performance Transparency: The Why and How of Letting your CUstomers ‘See Through’ Your Business", Business Horizons, 61, 73-84.
  • Berry, L, Carbone, L., & Haeckel, S,H. (2002) Managing the Total Customer Experience, MIT Sloan Management Review, April.
  • Boncheck, M. & Bapat, V. (2018) “The Most Successful Brands Focus on Users — Not Buyers” Harvard Business Review, February.
  • Keller, K.L. (1993) “Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity.” Journal of Marketing, 57(1): pp.1-22
  • Rust, R.T., Zeithaml, A. and Lemon, C.N. (2004) “Customer-Centered Brand Management”, Harvard Business Review, September, pp.2-10.
  • Merlo O. and Meier I. (2008) “Innovation in Market Research: The Ethnographic Method”, Strategic Innovators.
  • Kim, W. and Mauborgne, R. (2004) “Blue Ocean Strategy”, Harvard Business Review.
  • Kim, W. and Mauborgne, R. (2002) “Charting your Company’s Future”, Harvard Business Review.
  • Edelman, D. C (2010) «Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places», Harvard Business Review, December
  • Rawson, A., Duncan, E & Jones, C. (2013) «The Truth about Customer Experience», Harvard Business Review, September.



Merlo O.

Course director

Additional information

Academic year
Master of Science in Communication and Economics in Corporate Communication, Elective course, Customer Experience and Value, 2nd year
Master of Science in Communication and Economics in Marketing and Transformative Economy, Elective course, Customer Experience and Value, 2nd year
Master of Science in Communication in Media Management, Elective course, Customer Experience and Value, 2nd year