Defining the Customer Experience

Friday 08th, April 2016

4095175043_45e133d60c_b_happyEveryone talks about it these days. It is one of those key differentiators that can make or break a business. Great brands strive to create wonderful experiences for each of its customer – and therein lies a lot of their greatness!

What is a customer experience?

It has been defined as the customers’ perception of his or her relationship with your brand. This perception, which can be conscious or sub-conscious, is a result of all their many interactions with your brand.

A customer-focused brand will seek to engineer and react to each of a customer’s interactions with an aim to meet his expectations or better it.

This will increase satisfaction on the customer’s part which will lead to loyalty and then advocacy. It is about knowing a customer so well – not just about what he buys or where he buys it from – that a brand can offer a totally personalized experience for hum – an experience that he would love! And how do you know a customer? You collect all the data from all the many touchpoints that he uses, and derive meaningful insights from this.

By offering all your customers, great customer experiences, you can achieve many things –

  • You create a loyal customer
  • You strengthen his preference for your brand
  • A loyal customer also advocates your brand to others
  • You get new customers based on that
  • You get increased sales from existing and new customers
  • You prevent churn

But creating a great customer experience is easier said than done.

Why is that?

It is tough to maintain the same consistent experience across channels – there are so many channels and today’s evolved customer expects the same experience regardless of the touchpoint that he uses. Customers might be willing to accept varying service levels from various channels – but they expect a consistent brand value proposition across channels. And this might not be easy. This is because of old legacy systems and processes that have to keep up with the new demands – but are not quite able to.

Central to being able to offer a great customer experience to each of your customers is the ability to have a single customer view of each of them. What this entails is consolidating data from all touchpoints – every single interaction across channels, products and time frames is tracked and collected together to be sifted and analyzed. This is also not something easy to achieve. The data may be fragmented. Departments may function as independent units. It could be anything that can prevent getting a single view of a customer. And unless this is done, you can’t really know each customer. And unless you really know a customer, you cannot give him a great personalized customer experience.

Sometimes it may not have anything to do with touchpoints – but a part of the process itself. A new customer who buys a washing machine and waits for it to be installed may face any amount of glitches that have nothing to do with the store front, or the phone executive or the technician. Maybe the process itself is convoluted and frustrating to someone who is new to the business!

And to set all this right is a daunting task – it could involve a complete revamp of the culture, the mind set and processes of an organization.  And this could take years! But the exercise is completely worth the effort – as the rewards that will be reaped are great!

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