What is the customer experience?
A new digital empowered society is emerging and marketers need to shift to a customer-centric mindset to meet the evolving needs of their customers. This has pushed understanding and improving the customer experience to the forefront.
Customer experience is the new battleground
Digitally empowered customers interact with your brand when and how they want. This 'on-demand' mentality has created a customer that has increasingly high expectations. As a result, the customer experience is paramount and has to be the number one focus for your marketing strategy.
"In an age of exceptionally high consumer expectations,
customer experience has emerged as the new competitive battlefield"
Jake Sorofman, Gartner
No longer can the customer experience be an afterthought. To succeed, it has to be at the epicenter of a brand's DNA.
What are the key characteristics
of the customer experience?
The customer experience is often used as an all-encompassing term. Bruce Temkin, co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, defines it as the perception that customers have of their interactions with an organization.
Annette Frantz, the Principal of CX Journeys and a Customer Experience Professionals Association board member, defines the customer experience as (a) the sum of all the interactions that a customer has with a company over the course of the relationship lifecycle and (b) the customer's feelings, emotions, and perceptions of the brand over the course of those interactions. At the end of the day, customer experience is any interaction an individual has with a brand.
Customer experience is an all-encompassing term due to the range of interactions a brand can have with their customers. This can span from the in-store experience to the call center to contact center to digital interactions which can include in-app, mobile, desktop and tablet experiences.
Why is the customer experience important?
The customer experience is your key differentiator. And below are the main reasons you can't ignore it:
Harris Interactive found 86 percent of consumers stop interacting with and buying from businesses if they have a bad customer experience.
Gartner identified that 64 percent of people think that customer experience is more important than price in their choice of a brand.
Forbes found that 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. Yet only 1 percent of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations.
According to Econsultancy 89 percent of consumers said a great customer experience is a key factor in brand loyalty.
Oracle reported that multichannel integration - a key component of a great customer experience - has the ability to increase profitability by 25 percent.
According to Gartner 89 percent of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience by 2016.
Whether you are looking for a competitive advantage, a reduced churn rate, an increase in loyalty or revenue, focusing on the customer experience will pave the road to achieving those goals.
Customer Experience Management
Customer Experience Management is when organizations are tasked with strategically planning and managing how customers interact with their brand. This practice is a discipline that must be mastered and then leveraged to ensure that consumers have exposure to the company, enjoy optimal experiences and ultimately should be led to engage in a transaction.
"The practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”
Customer experience management is the practice of closing the gap between the expected customer experience and the actual customer experience. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through a Voice of the Customer solution which collects customer intentions, needs and expectations to understand and ultimately improve the customer experience.
Voice of the Customer and the customer experience
Today customers know more about your products, services and pricing than you do and their expectations are higher than ever. CMOs are recognizing that the customer experience is the new marketing and are turning to Voice of Customer analytics to help them gain insight into their customers. By leveraging Voice of Customer analytics marketers can now better measure and manage the customer journey. According to Harvard Business Review, 80 percent of organizations use customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, one of the main Voice of Customer metrics, as their primary metric to measure the customer experience.
This makes the voice of your customers essential in moving the needle and improving the customer experience. By collecting information on your customer’s intent, needs, and experiences across digital platforms you better understand strengths and weaknesses from a customer’s perspective.
Marketing technologies and the customer experience
From the rapid adoption of mobile technology to programmatic advertising to the promise of big data, the marketing industry is undergoing a seismic shift driven primarily by technology. As the marketing technology landscape grows so does its impact on the customer experience. Every interaction that a customer has with your brand impacts their experience. Retargeting visitors that have previously visited your website to live chat interactions, all leave an impression on your customers. This places immense importance on how well your marketing technologies adapt to different customer's needs and expectations to provide relevant and effective interactions that will generate a positive customer experience.
Gartner - Customer Experience Management (CEM)
RightNow - 2010 Customer Experience Impact Report
Forbes - Customer Experience: Is it The Chicken or Egg?
Forrester - Forrester Perspective CX2
Harvard Business Review - Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers
Customer Experience Matters - What is Customer Experience?
Oracle - Experiences that engage convert
Econsultancy - Customer Lifetime Value: Building Loyalty and Driving Revenue in the Digital Age
Gartner - Gartner Survey Finds Importance of Customer Experience on the Rise - Marketing is on the Hook
Harvard Business Review - Understanding Customer Experience
CX Journey - Customer Experience isn't Just About Customer Service
Econsultancy - What is customer experience management (CEM) and why should you be focusing on it?
THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
This free 35+ page definitive guide to CX includes everything you need to know about building a successful customer experience program.