Customer experience, or CX, has been and continues to be a hot topic for businesses seeking higher marketing ROI and longer customer retention. As with any seemingly new topic, we’ve lots of jargon to contend with. What is CX? How is it different from previous efforts to retain and grow customer loyalty? Let’s dig into the basics.
Why talk about Customer Experience?
We focus on customer experience for three simple, extremely valuable reasons:
- Retaining a customer costs less than finding a new customer. The better the customer experience, the more likely we retain a customer. Net outcome: less churn.
- Upsells require less effort than new sales. The more holistic a customer experience, the more likely we will upsell, growing the customer’s lifetime value. Net outcome: more money.
- Loyalty yields evangelism. The better our overall customer experience, the more likely a customer will do unpaid marketing on our behalf as an evangelist. Net outcome: more customers.
What is customer experience? What is CX?
Customer experience, in short, is the sum of all the interactions a customer has with our company. We typically divide the customer journey into two pieces:
- The buyer’s journey: all the touchpoints which lead to a purchase.
- The owner’s journey: all the touchpoints post-purchase.
Visualized, here’s what the total customer journey looks like:
If we execute customer experience well, the customer:
- Becomes aware of us.
- Considers our offering.
- Evaluates whether we meet their needs.
- Purchases from us.
- Owns our product and enjoys it.
- Grows loyal to us.
- Returns to us for additional product evaluation.
- Tells friends/colleagues about us, starting the cycle anew.
How did Customer Experience evolve?
Customer experience as a discipline evolved from three distinct trends. First, as the world became more digital, we placed more emphasis on the user experience of our products and services. We made our websites, our apps, our devices, our screens, our stores – everything – easier to use, more intuitive.
Second, a discipline called voice of the customer, or customer-centric thinking, evolved to ensure the customer had a champion in our business decision-making.
Third, as the world became more digital, we gained new measurement capabilities. Data warehouse, Big Data, real-time analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence provides us with data, analysis, and insights to make more informed decisions.
These three trends merged to become the discipline of customer experience.
Who is responsible for Customer Experience?
In short: everyone.
Remember the 4 Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. Let’s add a fifth P for people. Who’s involved in the 5Ps to make a great customer experience?
- Designers and developers
- Product managers
- Developers and IT
- Customer support
- Accounting and finance
- Public Relations
- Retail store teams
- eCommerce teams
- Fulfillment logistics teams
- Human Resources
- Training and Professional Development
- Management and Leadership
Creating a great customer experience isn’t owned by any one department. To build the best possible experience, we must involve our entire organization.
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Chris, I appreciate you sharing your take on customer experience and its origins. Many brands we interact with are adopting their own approach to creating and maintaining loyal customers. Some are telling us that “CX is the new loyalty”. Just like CRM and other marketing concepts, I don’t think one replaces another or that one constitutes a silver bullet to solve all problems. I do think that brands seeking to improve their fortunes should be thinking in a holistic way towards solving their challenges. I am looking for great examples of how brands have invested in CX to prove the point. Let’s swap some examples and compare notes. Maybe we’ll unlock some answers. Always enjoy reading your posts. Bill