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, particularly when their experience is not enough.
It can be the set of all interactions between a customer and a supplier, though this is more commonly called the Customer Journey. The good thing about Journeys is the recognition that other parties can influence our customer experience.
Customer Experience is a lever to sustainable business growth. It is not a goal.
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. A good customer experience delivers the value and emotions your customers want. Don’t design adrenaline into a supermarket experience!
External influences mean Customer Experience 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, the way you behave towards your customer (to their face and behind their back), it the promises you make and how you deliver them and whether you help the customer to make their life easier.
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 can manage what we do by designing experiences that meet customers’ functional and emotional needs.
Managing 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 manage customer experience (well) you will engage your teams, create a vision, enable the vision through your actions, processes, systems, decisions and priorities, breakdown silos to create smooth experiences, reward customer centricity and teach those who lack empathy, 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.
What does a good customer experience look like?
While it varies there are some basics
- Meet customer needs throughout the journey.
- Make it easy to buy from you and use your products and services.
- Recognise your customers as people.
- Respond to changes in your market, economy and customer expectations.
Customers continue with good experiences (so a good experience has low drop outs), they come back (if you deliver a good experience you will have low churn) and they tell people (free marketing is a sign of a good experience).
If your experience is good, existing customers will be the first to try your new products, services and touchpoints. They will even give you ideas for innovation and disruption.
From the inside a good customer experience is simultaneously calm – with fewer issues to firefight – and challenging – change is more common in organisations that manage customer experience.