What Is Customer Experience?
There is lots to read on this page. So, I have added a menu to help you answer your questions. Or you may prefer to read it all, it takes around five minutes.
Customer Experience - multiple definitions
Customer Experience is the perception customers have of an organization. It forms from all interactions across all touchpoints, people, and technology. (CXPA)
The customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, systems, channels or products. (Gartner)
It is not customer service, which supports customers on their journey. Especially, when their experience is not good enough.
It can be the set of interactions between a customer and a supplier. Though this is more commonly called the Customer Journey. Journeys help us understand external influences on our customer experience.
Customer Experience is a lever to sustainable business growth. It is not a goal.
Sometimes ‘Customer Experience’ means an approach or way of working. It can be part of a job title. We, often, talk about Customer Experience when we mean Customer Experience Management.
The Scope of Customer Experience
It starts with awareness and changes until your customers stop using your product or service.
Customer experience delivers value and emotions. Good customer experience delivers the value and emotions your customers want. Don’t design adrenaline into a supermarket experience!
Customer context and external factors influence Customer Experience. So, it is different from customer to customer and is always changing.
Customer experience includes:
- the quality and reliability of products and services
- the way you motivate and support your teams
- how you behave towards your customer (to their face and behind their back)
- the promises you make and how you deliver them
- whether you help the customer to make their life easier
Customer experience cannot be superficial, it must permeate your business. We call this customer centricity. You and your people have to change how you think about customers and how you act.
Can we really manage customer experience?
The key to delivering a good customer experience is managing it. Not controlling it and not manipulating customers. We have to design experiences that meet customers’ functional and emotional needs.
Learning to manage Customer Experience is a journey. It takes intention and practice. I recommend starting with a tangible opportunity and building your skills and culture.
When you intentionally manage customer experience you can grow from reaction to response to prediction.
- Reactive – firefighting mode, customers are disruptive.
- Responsive – you learn from customers to improve your products, services and journeys.
- Predictive – you understand your customers and can anticipate their needs. Now you are innovating and even disrupting your market.
When you manage customer experience (well) you will engage your teams
- breakdown silos to create smooth experiences
- reward customer centricity
- teach those who lack empathy
You will create and enable a vision through your:
You will relinquish control and learn how to be vulnerable.
But you can start with a single project to understand what that all means for you.
You can learn more about managing Customer Experience here.
What does a great customer experience look like?
The external impact of great customer experience
While it varies there are some basics
- You meet your customers needs throughout their journey.
- You make it easy to buy from you and to use your products and services.
- You recognise your customers as people.
- You respond to changes in your market, economy and customer needs.
- You give opportunities to voice pain and pleasure at every touchpoint and in every channel.
Customers continue with good experiences (a good experience has low drop outs). They come back (a good experience has high retention). They tell people (free marketing is a sign of a good experience).
If your experience is good, customers will be the first to try your new products, services and journeys. They will even give you ideas for innovation and disruption.
The internal impact of great customer experience
Great Customer Experience is intentional. When we let our experiences happen by accident – in the weird space between each department’s goals – it won’t meet our customers’ needs. Therefore, great customer experience is a team sport, where everyone agrees how to meet customer needs and works together to deliver a great experience.
Great Customer Experience is intentional. Accidental CX is born in the weird space between each department’s goals. Accidental CX doesn’t meet our customers’ needs. Intentional customer experience is a team sport. Everyone agrees how to meet customer needs and works together to deliver a great experience.
A great customer experience is simultaneously calm and challenging. You have fewer issues to firefight, yet change is more common.
Your employees are engaged and empowered. You listen to them and give them space to meet your customers’ needs.
You manage your objectives, processes and systems to deliver customer and business needs. A great customer experience is easy to deliver consistently.
Customer Experience can be a difference engine. If you let it impact your business in fundamental ways, it confers a competitive advantage and cannot be copied. Be open to changes in your principles, purpose, values, infrastructure and leadership style.