What Is Customer Experience? (And Why Is It So Important?)
It’s hard to imagine a brand being casual about Customer Experience (CX) these days. Few things have a more profound impact on brand perception than the feeling a customer is left with after interacting with your organization. One too many clicks on your website, a long queue, a non-intuitive interface…and suddenly you have a consumer who feels personally slighted—a situation traditional marketers never had to worry about.
Every interaction a customer has with your brand—browsing your website on their phone, a conversation at the point of sale, even unboxing your product or using your services for the first time, plus every other touchpoint along the way—counts as a “customer experience.” The aggregate impact all these micro-interactions have on a consumer’s perception of your brand is what CX is about.
But when it’s done well, CX can make evangelists and advocates of even the most jaded consumers. Great CX is no accident. It results when each touchpoint elicits a positive reaction from the consumer, a few key contributors being:
- Connection/human touch
Since the customer journey is never linear, your approach to CX shouldn’t be either. At D6, that means engaging cross-disciplinary teams and treating each touchpoint, no matter how seemingly trivial, as an opportunity to meaningfully connect with the consumer. Creating solutions that allow customers to meet their immediate needs in a way that is quick, easy, and painless is the holy grail of CX.
And the benefits are bigger than warm and fuzzy feelings. Customers who feel appreciated and enjoy the experience of buying a product or service aren’t just willing to sing a brand’s praises, they’re willing to pay a premium as well. Great CX allows brands to command an average of 16% more for products and services—Starbucks, anyone?*
There is also a direct correlation between CX and a consumer’s willingness to share personal data. A full 63% of respondents in a recent survey said they are willing to share more information with companies that offer a great customer experience.* On the flip side, one in three consumers say they will walk away from a brand they love after a single bad experience.* In a nutshell, great CX equals greater customer satisfaction, which leads to positive “word-of-mouth” marketing and, ultimately, increased customer loyalty.
But as powerful as great CX can be for a brand, bad CX can be equally disastrous. They say you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. When it comes to CX, the stakes are even higher than that. Every interaction, not just the first one, is a chance to leave a bad impression, so it’s essential to treat every touchpoint as if your reputation depends on it—because it does. Long wait times, employees who lack empathy, unresolved questions or unanswered issues, too much automation/not enough human interaction, lack of personalized service, rude/angry customer interactions—these are a few of the ways that bad CX tarnishes a reputation.
And while there is no silver bullet to excellent customer experience, there is one key strategic mindset that leads to better CX decisions—listen, observe, and think like your target audience. If you’re not already obsessed with the way your customer thinks, acts, buys, and behaves, you need to be! It’s essential.
And not just for your marketing team; every department of your company needs to feel a sense of responsibility for this critical relationship component. If the only team tasked with worrying about great CX is your marketing team, customer experience is doomed to fail. A few tips to consider:
- Listen to your customers, and make sure everyone in your organization hears what it is they’re saying.
- Solicit consumer feedback, and never assume you already have the answers.
- Implement a feedback loop so you can garner feedback consistently and in as close to real time as possible.
- Think of these interactions as conversations, not data points. Treat each issue with a sense of urgency and respect.
- And don’t be afraid to do the dirty work: Roll up your sleeves and problem-solve on behalf of your customers. Customers forgive mistakes. They never forget apathy.
Customer experience may seem subjective, but it is quantifiable. You should absolutely measure and analyze your CX at every step of the journey:
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer Retention Rate
- Customer Churn Rate
- First Contact Resolution (FCR)
- Average Resolution Time (ART)
- Customer Referral Rate
- Monthly Active Users (MAU)
- Trial-to-Paid Conversion Rate
These are the key metrics you should be tracking. Going in-depth on them falls outside the scope of this article but, lucky for you, we have an entire whitepaper dedicated to just this topic: https://definition6.com/whitepaper/the-roi-of-digital-customer-experience/
If you hadn’t already grasped it, we hope you now realize the critical role CX plays in branding. For those of you already doing it well, we say there’s always room to do it better. For those of you who might have neglected your customer experience, the time for change is now. It is amazing what an immediate and dramatic impact a disciplined approach to CX can have on your organization’s bottom line. And should you find yourself in need of a helping hand, D6 is here and ready to work with you.