What is Customer Experience? And why it's so important.

5 min read

Think about the last time you had a really great experience as a customer —  for example, think of the time you bought a quality product through a well-designed and easy-to-navigate website. You received it quickly in beautiful packaging. The initial setup of the product was a breeze and you were very satisfied with the product. Any technical challenges that you had with the purchase were resolved quickly either through online self-service or by a friendly and highly knowledgeable agent. After a while, you wrote a positive review because you felt that you’ll buy from them again. Remember the ways that experience left you feeling.

Now do the same for the last time you had a poor experience as a customer.

I will give you a moment ….

Customer experience, also known as CX, encompasses every touchpoint between your business and your customers. It includes the entire customer journey from awareness about your company and products, to purchasing, onboarding, customer service interactions, and everywhere in between.

The customer experience (CX) is the impression that the consumers are left with after every interaction they have with an organization—before, during, and after a purchase.

As you can see from our little experiment at the beginning of this post, a positive customer experience is crucial to the success of any business.

Importance of Customer Experience

According to research by 86% of those who received a great customer experience were likely to repurchase from the same company; compared to just 13% of those who received a poor CX – Temkin Group.

So here you go, you simply cannot survive as a business without providing a good customer experience.

Companies that became leaders in great providing great customer experiences grew 6x faster than their competitors. – Forrester

Customer experience seems pretty important, huh? As products and services become more commoditized, the best way consumers can gauge the value is by differentiating based on experiences they have with your company more so than specific product features and functions. CX is increasingly becoming the leading competitive differentiator, so businesses must ensure that they have a CX strategy in place that can deliver a great customer experience at every customer touchpoint.

Benefits of improving CX

There are lots of benefits associated with investing in a better customer experience.

Increase in revenue

Customer experience has a direct effect on your bottom line. 86% of buyers say that they would be willing to pay more for a better customer experience according to CEI Survey.

Providing a great customer experience at every touchpoint, from awareness to purchase (either in-store or online) and service is likely to reduce a lot of friction and improve customer perception of the brand, resulting in repeat purchases. It can also lead to incremental growth through cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

Customer loyalty and advocacy

It is 15 times more costly to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Therefore, providing each customer with a positive experience is vital to your business growth. Remember, customer experience is based largely on customer perception. Positive perceptions lead to increased customer loyalty, retention, and, ultimately, customer advocacy, which brings new customers—organically and inexpensively—to your business.

Increased brand value

Customers with negative perceptions leave, and share their negative experiences with family, friends, and online, which increases customer churn. In the digital world, this can happen very quickly. Social media and online review sites make it very easy for customers to share their experiences with a broad audience. Furthermore, consumers are much more likely to share a complaint than a compliment, and that complaint can spread to millions of people—instantly.

Who's responsible for customer experience (CX)?

Great customer experience is everyone’s job – from the CEO to the newly hired. Every employee, whether they know it or not, has an impact on the customer. Everyone has a critical role to play. The customer experience vision of the company starts with the company’s leadership, but ultimately, every employee is responsible for delivering great customer experiences. It’s true that customer-facing functions—marketing, sales, and customer service—do get most of the attention, but the following functions are also important:

  • Inventory management to ensure that a customer gets a product that they ordered and is not told that stock has run out after the order is placed.
  • Ecommerce sites feature the right product descriptions and images and provide a smooth checkout.
  • Logistics to guarantee that the product arrives when promised.
  • Accounts receivable (AR) and billing to assist and alleviate any issues around billing and payment.
  • Human resources (HR) to make sure that the right employee, with the right skillsets, are hired for the right job.
  • Finance to ensure that your company can support the subscription-based pricing models that customers want.

So how can I get started with improving my customer experience?

Every business, regardless of business models, can benefit from improving their customer experience: subscription businesses can increase retention and reduce churn; eCommerce marketplaces can increase average order value and repeat purchases; service industries can gain word-of-mouth recommendations and reduce complaints.

In fact, we challenge you to think of a type of business that doesn't benefit from providing a great customer experience.

If you cannot think of one, or believe that your business can benefit from providing a great customer experience, stay tuned for our next article in the Customer Experience series. We’ll explore in great detail what it is and how to make it work for your business including how to create your cx strategy, which metrics to track and improve, and how to drive adoption through your organization.

David Hayden
Software entrepreneur who enjoys building products that empower business people to create and evolve enterprise applications without code.

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