The importance of Customer Experience

July 03, 2023

Experience is everything. In today's highly competitive business landscape where customers have more choice than ever, maximising the interactions between a business and customer is the biggest differentiator for any company. Customer Experience (CX) has emerged as a critical way for companies to distinguish themselves from competitors. Delivering exceptional CX helps organisations stand out and creates a unique selling proposition that attracts customers, enabling companies to build strong healthy relationships, fuelling mutually beneficial growth through focussing on a customer centric mindset. In our modern fast paced business environment, providing high quality CX is crucial to the success of any company.

Research tells us customers are willing to switch to a competitor if they are not satisfied with their experience. According to a recent study by PwC, 1 in 3 customers would leave a brand they love after just one bad experience. This means that if you want to retain your customers and attract new ones, you need to prioritise CX.

In this article we aim to define CX, understand why CX is a critical business driver, explore some key elements of exceptional CX and how to drive CX improvements for companies to enhance their overall customer experience.

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

CX is the overall perception customers have of a company or brand based on their interactions and engagements throughout their entire customer journey with your company. This encompasses every touchpoint a customer has with a brand or business, including the pre-sale and post-sale experience, from browsing your website to speaking with customer service representatives to receiving the service. CX is not just about providing good customer service, it's about creating a seamless, personalised, and enjoyable journey for your customers.

CX involves various elements, such as the quality of products or services, customer service interactions, ease of use of digital platforms or physical stores, responsiveness to customer needs, personalisation, and the emotional connection customers feel towards a brand. Positive experiences can lead to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, repeat business, and positive word of mouth recommendations. A poor experience can result in customer dissatisfaction, loss of customers, and damage to a company's reputation. To create a consistently great experience, businesses focus on understanding customer expectations, delivering consistent and high-quality interactions, addressing customer pain points, providing exceptional customer service, and continuously improving based on customer feedback.

The CX concept emerged in the late 1990s as companies recognised the importance of focusing on the overall experience of their customers as a competitive differentiator. Customer relationship management (CRM) had emerged in the 1980s focussing on customer data to enhance customer relationships through transactional and operational efficiency rather than CX holistically. CX gained traction with a Harvard Business Review publication in 1998 on the move toward selling experiences that create value and differentiate, causing business to embrace it as a strategic approach. The rise of technology, digital channels, and social media has amplified the importance of CX as customers gained more power and influence.

Why is CX so important?

CX has become a critical business driver aimed at delivering exceptional value and creating lasting customer relationships. Investing in CX drives customer satisfaction, loyalty, competitive advantage, and brand reputation, leading to increased customer lifetime value and sustainable growth.

Positive customer experiences lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. When customers have a seamless experience, they are more likely to become repeat customers and advocate for the brand, resulting in increased customer retention, revenue and customer spend.

CX shapes to the perception of brand image and reputation, with negative experiences quickly tarnishing a brand's standing. Customers' opinions spread online and in social media significantly impacting brand reputation, visibility, credibility, and customer acquisition without significant marketing expenses.

Engaging customers throughout their journey provides valuable insights on needs and pain points, enabling data driven decisions to improve products and services, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Lastly CX isn't just about customer facing interactions. When employees are engaged, empowered and aligned with delivering great experiences, it positively impacts the overall customer journey and experience.

Creating an exceptional CX vision

Exceptional CX requires ongoing commitment and continuous improvement, here are some areas to consider;

  • Define a CX vision and strategy that support the company business goals.
  • Collaborate at the executive level for buy in and cross functionally for alignment.
  • Gain a deep understanding of your customers’ needs.
  • Identify your value proposition and what sets your brand apart.
  • Map out customer journeys to understand pain points and opportunities.
  • Define measurable objectives, adding organisational capabilities and structure to support CX.
  • Empower employees to deliver on the CX vision and embed a customer centric culture.
  • Leverage technology to enhance CX such as CRM, customer feedback tools and automation platforms.

Remember creating an exceptional CX vision is an ongoing process requiring regular review, communication, alignment, measurement and monitoring. This should be part of a collaborative, impactful and ongoing journey.

How can you improve CX in your business?

Here are some tips:

  • Understand your customers' needs to provide an effortless experience.
  • Collect data on your customers' buying habits, demographics and feedback to tailor your offerings and interactions.
  • Ensure every customer journey touchpoint is understood and connected by using technology to streamline processes.
  • Employees are the face of your brand. Empower them with the tools, training and autonomy to provide exceptional service.
  • Use customer feedback to drive CX improvements, proactively addressing issues, using positive feedback to reinforce what you're doing well.

Key takeaways

In conclusion, providing a high quality customer experience is no longer optional; it's essential and needs to be truly part of your business strategy, company culture and employee experience. By prioritising CX and customer insights, you can drive customer loyalty, revenue growth, and differentiation, and help with internal engagement, buy in and collaboration. So, take the time to understand your customers, streamline the journeys, empower your employees, and collect feedback. CX is made up of continuous improvements and customer journey innovations. Your customers will thank you, and your business will reap the rewards.

Evin Conway
Head of Customer Experience