The customer experience, often shortened to CX, includes the entirety of a customer’s encounters with a business and how they feel about it every step of the way.
The end goal of everything in product design and development is to provide the customer with the best possible engagement. From the moment they encounter the brand to the moment they first use the product—and also long after that—they should have positive interactions. That’s what it means to provide a good customer experience.
In this glossary article, we’ll discuss what the customer experience is, how it works in the digital age, why it’s important to brands, and also different ways you can improve it.
Table of contents
- What is the Customer Experience?
- The Importance of the Customer Experience
- Customer Experience vs. Customer Service vs. User Experience
- Customer Experience in the Digital Age
- What Makes Good Customer Experience?
- Improving the Customer Experience
- Create the Best CX for Your Customers
What is the Customer Experience?
Customer Experience (CX) refers to the entirety of a customer’s encounters, as well as interactions with a business and how those made them feel. It involves your customer’s impression of your brand throughout their customer journey.
Some aspects of CX include:
- Advertising and marketing
- In-store Engagement
- Website navigation
- Product purchase
- Product delivery
- Product usage
- Post-sales support
Each of these aspects is a “touchpoint” during which a customer interacts with a business. And as customers go through each of these touchpoints, they come together to create the whole customer experience.
The Importance of the Customer Experience
Delivering a good CX is crucial for any business. No brand will remain competitive if its customers consistently have bad experiences with its products and services.
Your consumers are the best resource for increasing brand awareness. In fact, 86% of customers consider reviews essential to their purchasing journey. By providing a reliably positive experience, your customers will, therefore, feel more engaged to leave positive reviews. That can further lead to a 270% increase in the likelihood of a purchase.
Besides increasing brand awareness, positive customer experiences also promote brand loyalty and decrease customer acquisition costs. Finally, it also leads to reduced customer churn and fewer overall complaints.
Customer Experience vs. Customer Service vs. User Experience
Customer experience, customer service, and user experience are not interchangeable. Both User Experience (UX) and Customer Service (CS) are specific touchpoints within a consumer’s journey—either when a customer uses a product (UX) or reaches out for support (CS).
|Customer Experience (CX)||The entire customer experience from initially learning about a product to buying it and every interaction after.|
|Customer Service (CS)||Refers to customer interactions when they need advice about a product or service. This is part of CX.|
|User Experience (UX)||Specific points where a customer uses a product as part of the CX. It’s also used to refer to specific, measurable metrics.|
Both UX and CS are part of the entire customer experience, while CX encompasses much broader.
Customer Experience in the Digital Age
Digital CX involves the customer’s interactions with your brand online and other digitally-mediated platforms. This is everything from your app to your social media—if your customers engage with your brand through the Internet, that’s digital CX.
With 63% of the world’s population using the Internet, digital CX is more important than ever. This is especially important as 82% of smartphone owners use their devices to aid their product decision—and what they find influences the purchase decision for better or worse.
A brand may view each online platform separately, but for the customer, each platform is simply one touchpoint on a seamless experience from awareness to purchase. Therefore, your brand needs to provide a consistently positive customer experience on all platforms to maximize your customer’s digital CX—developing an “omnichannel” experience.
What Makes Good Customer Experience?
There’s no universal formula for creating a good customer experience. Every consumer is different, as every brand is different, so experiences will vary across every touchpoint. But some key principles to providing good CX include:
- Prompt responses to customer feedback (especially negative feedback)
- Actionable insights from customer feedback for brand improvement
- Reliable solutions to customer issues
- Analyses of all touchpoints along a customer journey map to identify friction points
- Collaboration and transparency across departments
On the other hand, bad customer experiences can be defined by any number of issues. By identifying friction points across a customer’s journey, you can work to lessen or mitigate these issues. Some examples of bad CX are:
- Long waiting times for responses to queries
- Unresolved or poorly resolved issues
- Lack of personalization/humanness in service
- Non-intuitive website design
- Rude or improper customer service
Improving the Customer Experience
When working to improve the CX, it’s essential to approach things with the right strategy. This will help you foster loyalty with your customer base and grow brand awareness as a result.
1. Open multiple channels for feedback
You never have the best idea of what your customers need—they do. Therefore, let your customers provide the feedback to drive your CX strategy. Make sure you have several avenues for customers to engage with you, such as:
- On-page or email surveys
- On-site feedback widgets
- Customer interviews
- Support tickets and chat logs
2. Turn feedback into actionable insights
Once you’ve gathered the relevant data, turn it over to your customer experience management team so they can turn it into actionable insights. These insights can influence the next update or fix released in the next cycle for agile teams.
The feedback from your customers won’t mean anything if you don’t act on it. By making changes according to criticism or improving what works well, you show your customers that you’re listening—and, furthermore, that you value their input.
3. Monitor customer touchpoints
Keep an eye on every touchpoint along your customers’ journeys so you can watch for points of friction. Further, monitor the bounce rate on your webpage, engagement with social media, the click-through rate on ads, etc. Every touchpoint can provide you with data on why your customers continue forward on their journey—or move away from your brand.
4. Keep teams on the same page
All teams and departments within your business should be focused on creating the best possible CX for your user base. It can’t just be sales or marketing working towards this goal; all other departments must also be on the same page.
Additionally, these departments must collaborate with your customer success team to align their objectives. They can then work on initiatives geared towards delivering an excellent overall customer experience.
Create the Best CX for Your Customers
CX isn’t a one-stop journey. Delivering a good customer experience is an ongoing process that involves continuous feedback that leads to improvement. You can ensure the best CX possible by efficiently gathering feedback from multiple touchpoints and also turning it into actionable insights. This goes from your customer’s awareness of your brand to their purchase, and beyond.