You could define customer experience as ‘the sum of the interactions a customer has with your organisation’. But that’s a lot of ‘hard’ words when simple ones will do.
A compelling customer experience motivates your customers. They will return to you and tell their family and friends how great you are.
If you understand the customer experience you deliver, you can:
- Learn how to improve, so you don’t dissatisfy others.
- Better know your customers. Then you can build new features and functions to meet their needs.
- Move the customer to the next step in the buyer’s cycle. Be careful, pretending to be helpful when all you want to do is sell has the opposite effect.
How to understand your customer experience
Have you ever been distracted when you met someone?
What could you say about the person later? Did you know if they were excited or angry? Could you introduce them to another person?
That mind gone blank moment happens with your customers. Immediate issues stop us listening, colouring our interpretation. Regardless of the strength of your relationship, unless you ask ‘how are we doing’ you are unlikely to know the answer. And even then their reluctance to sound negative or our perceptions get in the way.
Businesses that measure the success of their customer experience have happier customers and better business performance.
Customer experience (CX) measures
- Customer satisfaction
- – answers the question ‘how satisfied are you’.
- Net promoter score aka NPS
- – this popular measure asks ‘how likely are you to recommend us?’. Research shows that businesses with a higher NPS score enjoy greater business success.
- Customer Effort Score
- – while less commonly used this measure, asking ‘how easy was it to buy from us’, is a good predictor of churn. Change ‘buy’ to the action your customer takes.
- Customer performance measures
- – you can easily understand the impact of your customer experience, e.g. complaints, returns, reviews. If you align your CX and performance measures, you can build a business case for change.
- Business success metrics
- – when you manage your customer experience, you will quickly see improvements in customer churn followed by a reduction in cost of sales. Then revenues will grow and you can increase prices. Along the way you will find and address wasted money, time and talent.
- Business goals
- – focusing purely on bottom line measures can distort your business and drive it in the wrong direction. We all need to think about the purpose of our business and ask if our customer experience helps us achieve our purpose or mission.
Use these measures together to understand the customer journey and act on your new insights.
Here's how similar sounding activities relate to customer experience
Customer satisfaction vs customer experience (CX)
Customer satisfaction reflects how well your customers feel you meet their needs.
User experience vs customer experience (CX)
If any part of your customer experience uses technology, user experience (UX) is vital. While not the only factor, UX has the potential to make or break your CX. Unfortunately, UX is sometimes used to drive customers through a sales funnel and is more about sales goals than satisfaction.
Customer service vs customer experience (CX)
Customer service is how we manage something less than perfect in the customer experience. You may answer a question your website doesn’t cover, or resolve an issue with your product or service. Organisations intent on delivering a compelling customer experience invite customers to ask for support. They do this because most dissatisfied customers say nothing and move on.
I have heard people say that customer service is transactional excellence, and customer experience is relationship excellence. While you need good relationship skills to excel at transactions and a relationship alone can only take you so far, I think this is a useful differentiator.
Customer success vs customer experience (CX)
Customer success often sits with sales, preventing churn and maximising revenue. Done well customer success and customer experience are very similar.
Digital experience vs customer experience (CX)
Consumers and a growing number of B2B buyers want to choose how to interact with you. So, if you don’t have a phone line, email address and chat facility you could lose customers. Digital experience thinks about the devices and apps you use to serve your customers. When a customer uses several digital tools for the same conversation, they expect a seamless experience. This is called omni-channel.
Voice of the Customer (VOC) vs customer experience (CX)
VOC is the key to delivering a compelling customer experience. Without feedback no-one can truly know what their customers are thinking and feeling. VOC comes in all shapes and sizes. You might survey your customers, they could talk about you on social media, call centres overflow with insights, or you could run a panel.
But listening to customer feedback is a waste of time if you take no action.
Done well, VOC helps breakdown organisational silos and becomes an invaluable customer experience tool.
Total customer experience vs customer experience (CX)
What is Total Customer Experience? In the last few years this term has appeared to correct misunderstandings about customer experience.
Total Customer Experience emphasises two important points. The first is that customer experiences start with awareness and end only with the end of the relationship; therefore, everyone is accountable for delivering a compelling customer experience.
The second is that customer experience is more than the sum of all the touch points; those interactions have to be consistent and seamless.
Reputation management vs customer experience (CX)
If you have suffered from fake reviews or something went wrong and you have fixed it, reputation management can be invaluable.
However, if you use reputation management to give an overly positive impression of your customer experience, you are on a hiding to nothing.
Reputation management is reactive and smooths the implications of a miserable experience. But it does nothing to improve the way you interact with your customers. Overused, customers see it as manipulation. Building a compelling customer experience relies on more than reputation management.