CX: More than the Latest Buzzword!

CX (customer experience) is everywhere you look these days for marketing information and trends. But isn’t CX just the 2017 version of customer satisfaction?

No! CX goes way beyond customer satisfaction. And here’s why you should care:

The customer satisfaction measurement, although widely used in many industries, is not sufficient to describe the best possible relationship between a business and its customers. As described by InsideCXM.com, “Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a brand or product or company over the duration of the customer’s relationship with that brand or product or company. These days, customer experience involves a wide variety of channels, platforms, and touchpoints—from pre-purchase (awareness, research, attraction, interaction) to purchase, and then on to post-purchase (use, cultivation, and advocacy). By contrast, customer satisfaction is a measure of how the products and services supplied by a company meet, surpass or fail customer expectations.” As you can see, they are intimately connected, but customer satisfaction is insufficient to tell you whether you are delivering a superior customer experience.

There are three elements that we focus on when evaluating our CX:

  1. This is perhaps the element most closely related to customer satisfaction, as it measures whether the customer accomplished what they wanted to in their interaction with the company.
  2. Was the effort expended by the customer to accomplish their goals appropriate? Or better?
  3. As you might expect, this is the CX element that is most often neglected, but it is critical to building long-term relationships. Emotion tells us how the customer felt about the experience of interacting with our company.

When you look at CX, you see that customer satisfaction alone could paint a very misleading picture. While the customer might have been successful (bought the product, or consumed the service), it might have been too difficult or too unpleasant to justify a repeat effort. Only if all three elements are working in tandem can CX be successful in building your business and driving results.

In addition to the three elements above, there are six laws of CX that practitioners should bear in mind. Bruce Temkin summarizes them as:

  1. Every Action Creates a Personal Reaction. In other words, what you think does not count. The only thing that matters is the customer’s evaluation of the experience. Therefore, experience must be personal and individualized, with customer feedback as the essential, Employees then must be empowered to deliver that individualized experience.
  2. People are Instinctively Self-Centered. Deal with it. Yes, there may be very good reasons why the experience is not perfect every time. Here’s a secret: your customers don’t care. And they don’t want to hear your excuses.
  3. Customer Familiarity Breeds Alignment. To deliver a superior customer experience, you must have a superior intelligence about what your customer wants and needs, when and how they want to buy, and what they dislike. He who knows the customer best delivers the best experience.
  4. Engaged Employees Create Engaged Customers. Employee engagement and superior CX are inextricably linked. If your customers are disengaged, delivering a good customer experience is merely a matter of chance. And this is too important to leave to chance!
  5. Employees Do What is Measured, Incented, and Celebrated. Don’t expect your employees to simply know what the optimal customer experience is. You need to tell them, and then reward them for delivering it. Celebrating moments of excellent CX also gives an opportunity for modeling (yet again) what CX you want to be delivered to your customers.
  6. You Can’t Fake It. CX is not one of those efforts that you can do half-way, or “talk the talk until you can walk the walk.” Customers know when you (and your employees) truly care about delivering a great experience. If you can’t, it might better to focus on some other competitive differentiation (lower price, faster delivery, etc.)

CX is important because today’s consumer demands a better experience – and if you don’t provide it, your competitors will. And most of all – don’t forget the emotion. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

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