What is customer experience?

Your definition of customer experience (CX) may be different from the one found on Wikipedia:

Customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. This can include awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction; the distinction is usually clear in context. 

If your definition differs there is no need to worry. Ultimately, it’s the desired business results and how to get there that matters the most. You will have to utilize several tools to win the hearts and minds of customers. You will need to go beyond customer experience measurement, surveys, journey mapping, touchpoint maps, and moments of truth.

Customers consider their physical and non-physical experiences when they determine perceptions. In order to optimize the customer experience it’s important to include the non-physical experiences which are both cognitive and subconscious in your strategy.

Customer Experience Optimization

The strategy we use to optimize the customer experience is endorsed by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) by being the competencies for their practitioner certification program. Our proprietary tools enable the strategy to have a significant impact to your organization. Our specialized skills with employee engagement is the accelerant for creating a more customer-centric organization that differentiates our methods over all others. Most customer experience programs have significant struggles with the employee engagement aspect of their customer experience transformation. The customer experience experience strategies that blend winning the hearts and minds of employees and customers has always been and will always be the most resilient, the most differentiated, the most renowned, the most valuable, and the most cost effective. The evidence proves this. The brands that you associate with extraordinary customer experience all possess extraordinary employee engagement.

Breaking Barriers to Great Experiences

There are some common traits that you will find when you analyze organizations that are repeatedly mentioned as providers of exceptional customer experiences. One one of the most important commonalities is they have a company culture of collaboration. Their collaborative energies are not isolated to work in functional or front-end versus back-end operations, or marketing with sales either. They collaborate better than those organizations not known for customer experience excellence. Another is they excel across all aspects of attracting and retaining customers and top talent. So in essence they are high performers in employee engagement. These organization are high in emotional intelligence.

The Temkin Group reports that leading customer experience organizations are twice as likely as lagging customer experience organizations to focus on making their organization’s culture more customer-centric. And that highly engaged employees are 5.8 times more likely to help their organizations succeed and 4.7 times more likely to recommend that someone apply for a job at their company than are disengaged employees.

96% are in Early Customer Experience Stages

This infographic from Temkin Group reports findings from numerous customer experience studies. Of high interest is that fact that the vast majority of organizations are in the very early stages in their customer experience management programs. Despite many organizations being in the early stages of their customer experience strategy plan they have high ambitions to be customer experience leaders in the next three years.

The initial stages in the customer experience transformation process places a primary focus on employee engagement. All have come to realize that employee engagement is a foundational and core component to being more customer-centric. The next few years we will be experiencing extremely high-levels of need for implementing early stage customer experience employee engagement (CE3) practices. We will also see a large increase in the need for more advanced-stage employee engagement skill enhancement.

Overcoming the Customer Experience high fail rate

Transforming into a more customer-centric organization is not an easy task. It is also not a rapid process. There have been scattered reports of failure rates of customer experience programs being over 80%. One organization made eight separate attempts to launch their customer experience management program before a level of accomplishment was realized. There is no fast track to transformation, but there can be quick wins in your effort. Typically the best way to get a quick win and build momentum, is to use what is already in place. Most all organizations have something to start with that can be exploited. It may be a few clients that are vocal advocates, customer insights that have value, a creative marketing group, or a skilled contact center leader. Identifying a few core strengths and getting even more out of them will considerably lower the chances you will contribute to the failure rate.

Customer Experience Return on Investment

The ROI on being more customer-centric has become a no-brain decision. You can find supporting statistics from numerous market analyst firms, investment banking firms, membership associations, trade organizations, and a lot more. If you are passionate and have to spend a lot of effort selling the ROI benefits of the customer experience to senior executives, you need to find a new job with an organization where that is not necessary. The number of enlightened organizations is growing rapidly each day and they are seeking those passionate for the customer experience to help them transform.

Customer Experience Depth

While transforming your organization to be more customer-centric is a no-brain decision, what is a tough decision is the depth to which you want to go with the customer experience. Some organizations go wide-open with their customers and include them very heavily in their product development activities, while others do not want to relinquish that type of control to customers. More than it being an ability, it requires a decision.

Customer Experience is a Choice

Ultimately, improving the customer experience is a choice…you don’t have to be more customer-centric…you can decide on the depth you want to go to be more customer-centric. You choose. You can also say that failing is a choice. Failing is a choice because you can choose not to improve the customer experience.