There are many definitions of customer experience, but I have settled on this one: Customer Experience is how customers feel about every single interaction with a brand.
What can we glean from this definition?
How customers feel is an important piece of the puzzle, because not everyone feels the same way about the same thing. As the old saying goes, “perception is reality,” so it’s critical that brands truly understand how their customers are interacting with them and what it’s actually like to be a customer.
If your customers feel that your mobile app is difficult to navigate, then it’s difficult to navigate, regardless of whether your designers or IT department say it’s simple. So understanding how your products or services make customers feel will go a long way toward ensuring that your customers end up happy. Too often brands build experiences that serve their own purposes but neglect to consider how a customer will feel in the middle of it. To alleviate this blind spot, brands should involve their customers in the creation of experiences – both online and offline – to ensure the customer’s point of view is understood.
The other important part of this definition is that customer experience includes every single interaction that a customer has with a brand. Because so many companies operate in silos, this is something that many brands miss. Here is a fictional example that could be familiar to any business:
Chief marketing officers and other C-suite executives are unclear who should be in charge of the customer experience.
This confusion is a key challenge for 30% of the UK and US marketers, CEOs and chief customer officers surveyed by software company Calabrio, which is having a significant impact on the experiences these businesses deliver.
In the UK, for example, less than a third (30%) believe customer experience across all their channels is anything more than ‘satisfactory’.
This data reflects the latest KPMG Nunwood US Customer Experience Excellence report, which finds UK brands are lagging 6% behind their US counterparts in the customer experience stakes.
A compelling customer experience has evolved from a nice-to-have to a necessity in many industries. Winners use standout experiences to attract and retain business while reducing servicing costs and complaints. The rewards can be substantial, but execution is complex, requiring a complete reinvention of customer journeys and supporting processes.