Why do you need to design the customer experience? A whopping 89 percent of customers who have a bad experience with a company buy from a competitor the next time. If you can't afford to lose 89 percent of your customers, design their experience. Map their journey through every contact they might have, and make sure each contact adds what you want it to add to the brand experience.

Don't guess. Create an understanding of who your customers are, what they need and want, and how they perceive you. Make sure the understanding of your customers is widely disseminated and thoroughly understood throughout the company. Otherwise even well-intentioned efforts to create better experiences can backfire. 

Once you've developed a strategy for what you want your customers' experience to be when they interact with your company, design it. Test it. Invite your customers in to test it. Here's a great example: Marriott's testing ground, housed in the basement of their Bethesda, Maryland headquarters. It is here that the company designs the guest experience they want Millennials in particular to have with each of the company's brands. It's white box theater:

The future of hospitality, Marriott style. Led by a strategy, informed by a deep understanding of the customer, designed. And opened for feedback. 

Strategy. Customer Insight. Foresight. Design. Test. Launch. 

It's a great strategy for bridging the gap.