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Customer Experience
Customer Experience

Customer Experience

Customer Experience

What is customer experience? And why it evolves.

Customer Experience

Typically, when people talk about customer experience (CX), they are referring to traditional sales and marketing touchpoints in the customer journey (e.g., attentive salespeople in attractive stores, and simple and beautiful apps and websites). In the past, when done right, investing in CX yielded good results: customer retention and engagement, increased sales and loyalty.

But the world has changed. The way we interact with brands has changed, and so has the customer experience. Even before Covid-19, digital technology was already affecting the way we all live, shop, work and have fun, and the pandemic has changed things even more. Many of the changes in consumer behavior we are seeing today will likely stay with us for a long time, perhaps forever. Some have been on the move for years. Many have accelerated now.

Understanding the customer experience

The customer experience encompasses many things, but broadly, it can be described as a customer’s or B2B company’s perception of the brand. This perception can lead to lifelong brand loyalty.

Imagine you represent a company that wants to install beverage vending machines in its offices. The beverage vendor might offer you a one-size-fits-all approach, such as showing you pictures of different beverage displays. But a better approach would be to use augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) to create a customized, personalized and individualized experience so you can see exactly how each type of machine would look in your office. With this superior customer service, you and your business colleagues are happy, and your business will turn to the same retailer the next time you need a vending machine.

Every interaction is important

It’s critical for brands to remember that every interaction people and businesses have with them evokes some kind of emotion. Whether it’s good, bad, happy or sad, the feelings people have are connected to that brand. This can lead to your customer asking some important questions: to buy or not to buy? To love or not to love? To return or not to return?

Brands that want to increase customer engagement, customer loyalty, customer engagement and drive growth should consider providing a more exceptional experience. With so much at stake, brands must ask themselves the question: is a good customer experience enough to meet customer expectations and generate positive feelings?

With so much at stake, brands must ask themselves the question: is a good customer experience enough to meet customer expectations and evoke positive emotions?

Besides a great customer experience: delivering an exceptional experience

Twenty years ago, the answer to the question “what is a great customer experience?” would have been a simple explanation of optimizing touchpoints, planning the customer journey, and designing and producing compelling products that customers want.

But today, how we interact with brands and what we need from them has changed exponentially .

The brand that gets the experience right knows what its customers’ expectations are and turns them into reality. If the gap between expectations and reality is too wide, it can lead to bad word of mouth, zero customer retention and lost sales.

As customer expectations have changed, CX has moved from meeting wants and needs to meeting those increased expectations, and those expectations go beyond any boundaries. Today, people are comparing experiences across brands in different spaces. A person who has a positive experience buying a jacket online raises their expectations for all online interactions in terms of how they buy everything: groceries, cars and even medical services. There are no free passes for brands based on industry boundaries.

As expectations are constantly changing, creating customer service strategies for the 21st century requires a new kind of mindset . Customer obsession is imperative: Brands must adopt a new way of thinking and become an experience-based business .

Align all people around providing exceptional experiences

Customer Experience

As you can see above, each department and function has its own priorities, goals and metrics to achieve its CX goals. With blinders on to the rest of the company, each department has a specific template of customer engagement strategy that they implement without seeing the bigger picture – that is, the incredible benefits of organizing your entire business around identifying and serving great, unmet customer needs.

To stay relevant and competitive in today’s ever-changing world, customer engagement strategies must be the focus of every stakeholder in your business. From the CEO to every senior executive and leader in both the front and back offices, everyone must invest in changing the way they look at the experience. What’s more, everyone in your organization needs to be unified in their approach and 100% customer-centric.

A more holistic approach

With all these changes comes the big question: how important is the customer experience in 2022/23 and beyond? CX has evolved, but that doesn’t mean the importance of the customer experience has diminished. Consumers still expect a seamless user experience, easy interaction and positive service , but the value proposition has stagnated because many of the basics of CX are now commonplace.

For more than 25 years, designers around the world have been closely following customer interaction trends and gradually improving touchpoints – the norms are now well-established. Brands are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves through customer experience alone, from online banking journeys for new customers to how clothes should be presented online.

A more holistic approach to CX is needed. Companies have traditionally focused only on optimizing customer touchpoints for products and services. In the past, this was a successful approach to increasing sales and loyalty. Today, it’s no longer enough.

The future of customer experience is business experience

As we approach 2023, brands are looking for ways to leverage the changes the world is experiencing to become stronger and better prepared for the future.

This is a key point for top executives. Leaders who go beyond CX strategies and redefine their organizations not only through the products or services they sell and offer, but also through the experiences they provide, will become stronger and drive growth in their organizations.

To deliver these exceptional opportunities, companies need to harness the full power of their customer data and deploy technological advances to create experiences that meet people’s new, often unmet and ever-changing needs.

To achieve this requires a big and bold reboot of thinking: welcome to the business experience, the gold standard for the rest of the 21st century.

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