According to Forrester, understanding the definition of customer experience is crucial in determining what your business should be focusing on, as well as showing you where your responsibilities intersect with those of other professionals in your organization (like marketers), helping you forecast results you can expect to produce for your business, and indicating how you should be measuring success.

The Customer Experience Defined

Forrester defines the customer experience as, “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” The first part of the definition is based on what Forrester refers to as the customer experience pyramid, a diagram which indicates that good customer experiences consist of three things from the customer’s perspective:

  1. Useful: Meets Needs and delivers value
  2. Easy: Intuitive and convenient
  3. Enjoyable: A delightful encounter

“Only your customers can tell you whether they found their experience useful, usable, and enjoyable,” says Forrester. “And that is totally a function of their perceptions…”

The second part of the definition focuses on interactions. An interaction refers to the two-way exchanges you have with your customers, including when customers navigate your website, call your contact center, visit your retail location, talk with your employees, buy or use your products, or respond to your emails.

Such customer interactions are the critical moments during which they’re making judgments based on whether or not you’re meeting their needs, are easy to work with, and enjoyable to do business with. These are the actual “customer experiences.”

Your Entire Company Is Part of the Marketing Department

Understanding how all the different departments of your business interact with customers is vital because, as Duck Tape Marketing warns:

“We lose customers and erode what could be a great customer experience when we fail to pay attention to every possible way that our business comes into contact with a customer, or for that matter, a prospect.”

Contrary to common belief, the marketing department is NOT the only place where brand reputations thrive, customer loyalty increases, and revenues soar.

Regardless of what department encounters a customer in your business’s name, that department is essentially “performing a marketing and overall customer experience function,” says Duck Tape Marketing. For example, Amber from Accounting is just as capable of creating—or ruining—an awesome customer experience as Tyler from Customer Service.

Duck Take Marketing suggests charting each and every way your business comes into contact (or should come into contact) with a customer, whether it’s through service, education, follow-up, or finance. After you’ve identified all possible touchpoints, you should then focus on designing each one to promote a better customer experience.

Improving The Customer Experience Increases Sales

An article by B2B Marketing Directions provides compelling evidence that “investing in better customer experiences can drive significant financial benefits.”

The blog mentions a study sponsored by Avanade and Sitecore in which the companies surveyed witnessed $3 in benefits for every $1 it spent on improving customer experiences. Additionally, 38% of the companies achieved better financial performance than their competitors, and 37% said they improved their sales cycles.

As the study suggests, you can’t underestimate the value of providing exceptional customer experiences or it’s influence as a spending motivator. In fact, Fivestars cites a recent report showing how companies that prioritize the customer experience generate 60 percent higher profits than their competition.

Entrepreneur reveals why improving the customer experience is so important to the financial success of your business:

“Given that e-commerce is driving an increased amount of retail growth, it is more important than ever for retailers to focus on developing customer experiences that enables them to grow and retain their customer base. This is crucial given the ever-increasing competitive business landscape.”

As SuperOffice points out, “89% of businesses are soon expected to compete mainly on customer experience.” This means that organizations that prioritize the customer experience will stand out from the competitive noise and attract more customers.

Conclusion

According to SuperOffice, a Walker study indicates that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

To stand out from the competition, increase sales, and grow your business, start prioritizing the customer experience today with this advice from the folks at Duck Tape Marketing:

“Creating an exceptional customer experience is pretty simple really…you only need to do one thing…pay attention to how your business comes into contact with customers and make every touchpoint, with every department, thoughtful and downright enjoyable.”

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software.

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