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Understand what customer experience is, why it should matter to you and how you can actively manage it within your business.

Customer Experience (CX) is a broad term describing how customers interact with and feel about your business. With that in mind, Customer experience management is the process of interpreting, measuring and improving CX.

Understanding customer experience is one thing, but knowing how to manage it is at the core of providing a better experience for your customers, no matter where they are on their journey.

All businesses offer an experience to their customers, whether they recognise it or not. From the moment a customer first discovers your brand to long after their purchase, the different touchpoints they encounter will add up to the sum of their ‘experience’.

Due to the multi-faceted nature of ‘experience’, there’s no convenient single metric for measuring experiences – though concepts such as NPS (Net Promoter Score), or CES (Customer Effort Score) make a good go of it.

Outside of metrics created by customer experience professionals like NPS, understanding customer experience is instead about analysing a user’s entire journey across your business. At the very least, an experience consists of communication, quality, pricing, and branding.

Let’s look at a real-life example, consider a coffee shop. A customer’s experience is shaped by many different factors, from the shop’s ambiance to the customer service, the taste of the coffee and the price they pay.

But for any business to improve customer experience, it must first understand customer experience, which means putting in place a true Voice of the Customer programme, which doesn’t just give customers a chance to give feedback, but which listens to, and acts on that feedback.

The advent of digital technology means even more considerations now shape experiences. 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience across all channels - both offline and online. Using our coffee shop example again, the same customer’s good experience may quickly sour if they encounter issues with the shop’s social media pages, for example.

With both digital and traditional touchpoints to account for, businesses need to understand not only what CX is but also which touchpoints matter most to their users and how to measure and manage customer experience improvements.

Why managing customer experience is vital to growth

Businesses that put a VoC programme in place to manage CX are far more likely to succeed than competitors. You may already measure and manage specific parts of a user journey, such as customer complaints – but you need to take the full customer experience journey on board if you want to succeed.

According to McKinsey, businesses deemed leaders in CX enjoyed three times the financial performance of CX laggards. Improving CX can drive myriad benefits — establishing customer trust and loyalty, improving sales and reducing complaints or refunds. Another stat showed that 84% of businesses that invested in CX improvements reported increased revenue as a result.

To manage customer experience and prioritise improvements, you need to know what factors matter most to your customers. This is different for every brand – though a Hotjar report did find that across a wide sample pool, the biggest issues that affected CX were long wait times, too much automation, poor personalisation, unresolved issues and a lack of understanding of customer needs.

Whilst many of those issues are shared across all brands, a truly effective CX management process needs to account for the unique needs of your specific customers and your business as a whole…

Defining customer experience through user journeys

To improve customer experience, you need to understand how that full experience is informed by multiple touchpoints that make up a customer’s complete experience of your company.

Individual touchpoints aren’t enough – you need a full customer journey map. To create these, you must first identify your user’s needs and map how your business solves them. How efficiently can you meet their needs, and what issues may occur as a result?

Using this information, you can start to define the measurements you may use to gauge experiences. Customer complaints, product returns, email unsubscribes – all of these metrics might indicate the overall experience you are offering.

NB: Don’t confuse review scores with customer experience measurements, read this post to find out why.

If you’re struggling to define your customer journey, the following questions are a great place to start:

  • What needs bring a customer to your brand?
  • How do they first encounter your business?
  • How do they make an enquiry or purchase?
  • What sort of issues might they experience?
  • What level of customer support do they receive?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll better understand the journey a user takes with your brand. You can begin to test improvements at various stages of this journey and measure how they impact the overall customer experience.

Measure and manage CX effectively with CustomerSure

As we’ve discussed, the quality of a customer’s experience is the result of multiple factors. Thanks to technology, however, there are methods to better focus and define experience at a customer level.

CustomerSure’s customer experience survey platform allows businesses to create and send engaging surveys that gather direct feedback from customers. Better yet, we use CSAT and NPS scoring to help you establish the most effective industry measurements to take the guesswork out of the equation.

Once you have these measurements in place, you can begin to manage and improve your customer experience process. Without them, many of the actions you might take will be based on guesswork.

To get ahead of the curve, read our 2024 customer experience tips and tricks article to discover the best ways to understand your customer journey and create a better experience culture throughout your entire business.

Remember: businesses implementing effective CX improvements drive far greater revenue than competitors. Take a demo of our software today and see how we can help you.

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