Customer experience incorporates every aspect of a brand’s offering. This includes the quality of customer care, advertising, packaging, ease of use, product and service features, and reliability. Ebenezer (2015) defines customer experience as “…an interaction between an organization and a customer, as perceived through a customer’s conscious and subconscious mind.” Customer experience is all the components of a business, that affect a customer’s perception and feelings about it, it is the lived experience a customer takes away from a brand.
What is the customer experience?
Customer experience is how a customer views their interface with a business. It involves every way a customer interacts with a company, at all stages of the customer journey. This interaction begins from the marketing content they see before they become a customer, the sales experience once they decide to be a customer, the quality of the product or service itself, and the customer service they receive after buying the product. It is important for a business to always aim to improve their customers’ experience each time the customer uses the service. This will ensure that customers always return for a repeat service with the business.
Customer experience strategy
Customer experience strategy is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy (Gentile, Spiller and Noci, 2007). Customer experience strategy is about finding ways of knowing your customers so that you can create and deliver personalized experiences. These will entice them to not only remain loyal to you but to refer others to you.
Ways to improve customer experience
Create a clear customer experience vision
The first step in improving customer experience is to have a clear customer-focused vision for the organization. The easiest way to formulate this vision is to create a set of statements that act as guiding principles. These will guide members of the organization in their everyday dealings with your customers.
Understand who your customers are
One way to understand your customers is by segmenting them according to their preferences. You can survey your customers to find out what they like and create strategies that serve each different class of customers.
Create an emotional connection with your customers
According to research by the Journal of Consumer Research, more than 50% of an experience is based on an emotion as emotions shape the attitudes that drive decisions (Lerner, et. al., 2014). In this regard, customers become loyal because they are emotionally attached and they remember how they feel when they use a product or service.
Customer experience quotes to always remember
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
“CXM = The art and science of coaxing lifetime loyalty from daily transactions.” – Steve Curtin
“Customer experience isn’t an expense. Managing customer experience bolsters your brand.” – Stan Phelps
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." – Maya Angelou
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“There is only one boss. The customer.” – Sam Walton
“You can’t transform something you don’t understand. If you don’t know and understand what the current state of the customer experience is, how can you possibly design the desired future state?” – Annette Franz
“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” – Walt Disney
“Always remember that everyone with whom you have a relationship has an invisible sign on their forehead that says ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Treat them accordingly” – Eric Philip Cowell
“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.” – Chip Bell
“If you are not taking care of your customers, your competitor will.” – Bob Hooey
“Repeat business or behaviour can be bribed. Loyalty has to be earned.” – Janet Robinson
“Customer experience better be at the top of your list when it comes to priorities in your organization. Customer experience is the new marketing.” – Steve Cannon
Rajan, Ebenezer. (2015). Customer experience Management in Online Retailing- A Literature Review, International Journal in Commerce, IT & Social Sciences. IJCISS Vol.2 Issue-2, (February, 2015) ISSN:3394- 5702. IJCISS Vol.2 Issue-2, (February 2015) ISSN: 3394.
Chiara Gentile, Nicola Spiller, Giuliano Noci, 2007, How to Sustain the Customer experience: An Overview of Experience Components that Co-create Value With the Customer, European Management Journal, Volume 25, Issue 5
Lerner, Jennifer & Li, Ye & Valdesolo, Piercarlo & Kassam, Karim. (2014). Emotion and Decision Making. Annual review of psychology. 66. 10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115043
Lindah Mavengere is a Business Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
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