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  3. What Is Customer Experience? CX Meaning + Importance

Article What Is Customer Experience? CX Meaning + Importance

Lauren Sickel Mar 23, 2022

What is customer experience? It’s a question we see repeated over and over again these days. The customer experience (CX) stands for everything that influences the way customers perceive, think, and, most critically, feel about your brand.

Unlike customer service (CS), which supports people throughout one part of the journey with your brand, the CX meaning is much broader. It encompasses every interaction a person has with your business, whether physical or digital because all contact touchpoints build synergistically to form a customer's opinion and relationship with you.

CX is important because it impacts every aspect of business growth. CX influences:

  • New users and how you acquire them

  • Existing users and how you retain them

  • All users and how much they spend with you

In increasingly competitive markets, CX is the edge that leading businesses need to stay on the top.

Mapping your customer journey from first to the last contact with your company allows you to assess and optimize every touchpoint and maximize customer satisfaction. What does that mean exactly, and how does it impact your bottom line? Let’s look into the benefits of customer experience, winning examples, and insightful tips on improving your CX.

customer experience

The Benefits of Customer Experience

Gartner reports that over 80% of organizations anticipate competing based mainly on CX. As technology has enabled companies in nearly every industry to create similar products and services, CX stands as the main point of differentiation.

Today, most customers switch from one brand to another based on their satisfaction with the entire experience. That can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Let’s see why CX is so important by exploring four benefits of great CX:

Improved Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value stands for the total worth of your business to your customer. In simple words, happy customers buy more and keep returning. Forbes reports that it costs five times more to find a new customer than sell to a present one. Therefore, a superb CX helps you generate growth by retaining customers and increasing customer lifetime value.

Happy Customers Buy More

A whopping 86% of customers express a willingness to pay more for a better CX. Not surprisingly, McKinsey reports: ”15 to 20 percent increases in sales conversion rates, 20 to 50 percent declines in service costs, and 10 to 20 percent improvement in customer satisfaction.” That expansion comes through repeat visits and happy customers telling their friends about it.

customer experience

Higher Brand Equity

Brand equity refers to your brand’s worth compared to a generic equivalent. Exceptional customer experience allows you to build a recognizable name for yourself, a name that attracts people to your offerings and keeps them around.

Consider how passionate Mac users are about their computers or how Starbucks customers feel about their morning coffee fix. Both brands have succeeded in generating powerful positive emotions through recognizable names — and it starts with a great customer experience for both.

Increased Sales Through Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-mouth (WOM) refers to daily customer communication that reflects an interest in a particular brand. It's shown when people recommend your products or services to another person, becoming brand advocates.

WOM results from an outstanding customer experience, as satisfied customers tend to share their positive feelings about a brand. Because it brings in new customers and builds brand loyalty, WOM significantly impacts return on investment (ROI).

Here are some eye-opening statistics from Review 42:

  • WOM is five times more effective at increasing sales than paid media.

  • Around 92% of consumers trust their friends' recommendations.

  • As high as 88% of customers trust online reviews.

  • WOM is a critical influencer for 74% of consumers.

The internet has changed traditional WOM, so today, we talk not only about in-person conversations but social media sharing, video blogs, online reviews, and more.

Examples of Exceptional Customer Experience

Some big brands succeed admirably at providing a memorable and exceptional CX. Here are four examples of how they do it:

  • Tesla goes to people’s homes to fix issues with their cars. Imagine how much a busy customer appreciates not having to visit a service center.

  • Southwest Airlines believes providing a memorable CX starts with creating an exemplary employee experience.

  • American Express stands out from others by providing global benefits to customers, including airline lounges, insurance, and travel flight credit.

  • Zappos lets you buy two shoes of the same or different sizes. With Zappos, people needing shoes of distinct sizes for each foot don’t need to buy two pairs.

customer experience

Five Tips for Creating an Extraordinary CX

Providing the ideal customer experience means enabling people to reach their goals as quickly and efficiently as possible while leaving them feeling like you care for them. Success depends on having the right approach, so here are a few tips to get you started.

Gather Customer Feedback

Customers can take the guesswork out of creating an exceptional experience if you allow them to tell you what works and what needs improvement. The good news is that customers give you this input every day in each and every interaction, whether on the phone, in email, or via chat. The key is for the whole team to listen for this valuable feedback and escalate key learnings to the right people in the business.

You can also collect this input directly from customers through feedback surveys. Common feedback surveys and related metrics include Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

Provide Valuable Live Support

Having live support readily available solves customer issues fast, leaving them satisfied. Customer satisfaction ratings for live phone support are 91% and for live chat are 85%, higher than email, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. When people need help, they want it quickly from a knowledgeable, empathetic, and communicative person. This also creates a natural feedback loop for the business to identify areas to improve the customer experience.

Have a Knowledge Base (KB)

Customers don't always like to interact. Some people prefer finding answers on their own. Having an indexed and searchable library of FAQs and help articles makes you an expert, gives shoppers pre-purchase information and removes some of the load from your live team.

customer experience

Avoid Silos

Organizational silos are often responsible for bad CX. When departments within a company don't work in unity, it's hard to deliver consistent performance to the customer. That's why avoiding silos is essential.

When you align all departments in your company, you also provide an improved employee experience (EX) which is inseparable from building a superb CX. Today, almost all experts see EX as an integral part of the CX meaning.

Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes

When you start viewing the customer journey from your customers’ point of view, you can recognize what makes them feel satisfied or stuck and unhappy. Empathy will guide you in making customers happy and excited about your company and resolving problems that cause frustration during the journey.

Take Your CX Strategy to the Next Level

Now that you know the basics behind the CX meaning, you may want to start with a strategy. Before you take any actions, you'll need insights into customer behavior. Empathy is at the heart of building an outstanding CX. The best way to understand your customers is by putting yourself in their shoes and taking their perspective. Once you comprehend the needs and desires of your customers, results will follow.

Quala can help you gain actionable insights from all of your day-to-day interactions with customers. Quala mines messy qualitative customer data for insights, including calls, emails, and CRM notes from the team. Those insights can show you where you are delighting customers and where there is room for improvement – and importantly, provide context as to “why” customers get stuck. Quala can further mine qualitative survey data for insight.

Get a free demo today and see how Quala can help you take your CX strategy to the next level.