Customer experience can make or break a brand.
If buyers have a positive experience with your company, they'll turn into repeat customers, and generate steady referrals for your business.
The opposite is true, of course. Providing a poor customer experience earns you a reputation that could sink your business in a hurry.
The important thing to note is that customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand through all aspects of the buyer's journey. That means it is a continual process that can be improved in any channel where you interact with prospects and buyers.
We asked eight professionals to share what customer experience means to them and their best examples of what CX looks like in the real world.
Reduce friction, add value
Customer experience is an umbrella that covers all the interactions that consumers have with your company. This includes how they feel about products you offer and any interactions they have with your brand, as well as with representatives of your company. Customer experience thinks about the full journey of a customer's lifecycle and how to optimize each touchpoint to reduce friction and maximize revenue per customer.
An ideal customer experience might look something like this: they purchase your product or service to solve a pain point that they have. Along the way they contact your customer service team, get a question answered and learn about another way that your product adds value to their life or business. Based on that value, they become a repeat customer and recommend you to their network.
Provide a consistent experience
The customer experience is the accumulation of each interaction a customer has with your brand. That can include their experience in your store, on your website, and even scrolling through your social media channels.
I often find myself getting frustrated when I shop with small businesses with attentive social media managers but careless customer support. You must ensure that interactions across the board are consistent to retain your customer base!
Nikitha Lokareddy, Director of Client Services at Markitors
Listen first, then find a solution
I spent nine years working as the consumer advocate for a local TV station. It was a great education into what works and what doesn't work in the way of customer experience. I found that people would call us looking for help when they felt the company wasn't listening. And it wasn't enough to have someone listen and then pass off the problem. The customer needs to know that someone will both hear what they have to say and find someone to create a solution.
Rick DeBruhl, Communication Consultant
Turn negative experiences into positive ones
Bad customer experiences are inevitable. When a customer leaves a bad review of your business, they are really just looking for help. Companies have to be all ears, listen hard, and understand where they're coming from.
That's especially true if you're the business owner. If a business owner can make the time to call frustrated customers directly, that outreach can go a long way in turning a negative experience into a positive one.
Brian Greenberg, CEO/Founder at True Blue Life Insurance
First impressions matter most
Customer experience is simply how a customer or client interacts with your brand. Much like people generate first impressions when they meet someone for the first time, your customers do the same with your brand!
Since we conduct our business online, we make it a priority to provide our customers with the easiest checkout experience possible coupled with fast shipping, which will ensure their first experience with us is a great one. Once we get that first impression right, our customers will continue to purchase from us and recommend us to their colleagues.
Vanessa Molica, Founder of The Lash Professional
Service is important—but it's only only piece
For many, customer service and customer experience are seemingly interchangeable. But customer service is a single touchpoint, while customer experience impacts feelings and emotions through the entire customer journey. Although both are important, finding ways to improve your customer experience as a whole should be the top priority of your business strategy.
Peter Babichenko, Sahara Case
Appeal to all five senses
My definition of customer experience is the feeling you get as a result of any interaction with a brand, good or bad. I believe the brands that successfully promote great customer experiences are those that strategically use multi-sensory marketing in their arsenal of experiential methods.
A great example is Disneyland and Disney World, which have dedicated departments that oversee multi-sensory marketing, from the use of “olfactory” smelling techniques to visual perspectives. Next time you visit a Disney theme park, pay attention to this and understand how it benefits the entire customer experience and as a result creates loyal fans worldwide.
Karissa Yson, Brand Strategist and Business Development
'What does the customer think?'
Customer experience is the entirety of the customer interaction, from enticing the customer (marketing) through post-purchase. It culminates in “what does the customer think about our company?”
The best experience I’ve had arose from the ashes of the worst. I rented a van for a long trip. During the trip, there was a comedy of errors (malfunctions, no fuel, bad attitudes). Upon return, the manager of the local branch apologized and worked with me to find a reasonable solution. His customer service ensured I stayed loyal to his company, and ensured good “word of mouth” advertising.
Matthew Lee, Learning and Development Leader