What is Customer Experience?
Customer experience is the term used to describe the relationship a customer has with a business. Customer experience (CX) refers to the total accumulated experiences the customer has with the business, based on all interactions and thoughts about the business.
From the above description, there are clearly two basic elements that make up the customer experience: perception and interaction.
- Customer Perception: A customer’s overall perception about a business can be a result of single or multiple interactions with it while seeking any information or support at different phases of the customer lifecycle.
- Interactions with the business: A customer’s interaction with a business refers to the various touch points like talking to customer support agent on call, self-service options or live chat, etc. across the buyer’s journey.
Considering these two basic elements, customer experience is simply how a customer perceives the business (or brand) through all the interactions across the customer lifecycle.
How to improve Customer Experience?
Businesses that know their customers well are able to create exceptional customer experiences. To achieve this, businesses need to know their customers on a deeper level; as individuals, not generic customers. Organizations need to pay more attention to customer data to get insights about their needs and preferences for delivering personalized experiences.
Delivering such experiences, however, is not about just gathering data. It is how the data is used that makes the difference. Businesses need strategies and processes that utilize existing and external data sources to be able to automatically personalize the customer experience.
There are many tools available on the market that can help with gathering and managing customer data, such as in-store analytics. Once the buyer persona is identified, it is important to define the customer experience strategy, mapping all the relevant touch points throughout the customer journey, to better plan and organize how to improve the customer experience at each touchpoint.
Why is Customer Experience important?
Today, customers have more power than ever before. This is because customers have more options, greater ease of switching between brands, and more power to influence business than ever before (using social media and online reviews).
Since competing brands or companies offer product parity on the quality and pricing front, the key differentiator for customers is a great customer experience; one that is constantly delivered to them.
Customers are real, unique, and they want to be valued as individuals. Meeting this wish requires that business provide multiple methods of interaction to suit their experience expectations (web, mobile, app, and in-store) and timely recommendations based on their browsing and previous purchases. All of this has to be in line with their vision of themselves. In other words, context is key. This can make promotions much more impactful and help customers connect with the business.