customer experience

Customer expectations are evolving as rapidly as today’s technology. In fact, 54% of all consumers say they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago. In the consumer mind, those expectations are a precursor to their overall customer experience, and great experiences facilitated by technology have quickly turned into the status quo.

Brands are aware of this, but there can be some grey areas surrounding customer experience—what it is, how it relates to user experience, and how a company can measure and improve it. To better understand, it’s important to note the difference between customer experience and user experience, and how they work together for optimal customer management.

Customer Experience vs. User Experience

The terms user experience and customer experience are often used interchangeably, but they vary in nature: 

  • User experience (UX) refers to the emotional experience of people’s interactions with your product or service. The interface—usability, navigation, visual aesthetics, information architecture, etc.—all combine to create a positive or negative user experience. 
  • Customer Experience (CX) refers to the overall experience as a customer when they interact with a brand at any point. It encompasses all the interactions a consumer has, online or offline. It’s the sum of all the interactions a customer has with an organization over the life of the relationship.

CX can be considered the umbrella term under which UX falls. It encompasses all customer perceptions across all channels and touchpoints, not just the usability and functionality of the product/service they offer.

A well rounded approach to understanding who your customers are, their history, and where they fit within your brand is the key to unlocking a holistic view of your customer, and therefore, provide an optimal customer experience, and it’s done through personalization.

The personalization consumers expect 

When customers engage with your brand via a portal, they want you to know who they are, what products they own, and what issues they’ve had. Consumers find comfort in a more personalized service, and the connection, speed, and ease it brings no matter what platform they’re on. That’s a lot to consider when the average customer says they use 10 different channels to communicate with companies—ranging from phone calls to voice-activated personal assistants to social channels. Customer service teams are now in a race to meet these omni-channel expectations.

As customers are interacting with a business on multiple digital platforms, there’s an immediate awareness of their relationship with the brand. When contacting a customer service rep, 72% of consumers say they expect the agent to know who they are, what they have purchased and have insights into their previous engagements. But many companies are not giving their customer service reps the tools they need to be successful. Too many times, there’s no clear picture of their purchase history, risk of attrition, and general consumer profile information all in one spot. The data they do have lack the threads to weave it all together in a holistic way that can translate to actionable insights. 

Systems are designed to behave according to what the customer needs from the business. Structuring those systems so they fully evaluate the customer cycle helps brands comprehend and manage the customer experience. Creating that personalization requires knowledge of customer journeys, relevant content that drives action, and technology that helps deliver the experience. 

Why is there a disconnect with CX? 

The world of demand gen leading to lead pipeline management has been mastered. Where there hasn’t been focus is how to follow those customers throughout the lifecycle of their journey. Nearly 75% of CEOs acknowledge the need for products, services and experiences that are more meaningful to their customers, so why can it be difficult to implement? 

One of the biggest challenges for any B2B company is seamlessly tracking a customer’s journey across multiple channels, devices, purchases and interactions.  It’s a barrier that often leads to a disjointed customer experience, one that’s especially hard to incorporate after the fact. It’s easy to dismiss and say, “We’ll do it later,” but procrastinating or going halfway is a disservice. If you don’t think about it upfront, it’s hard to implement.

Not to mention traditional approaches to these sorts of projects are expensive and the business value rarely has next day gratification. Unless you have the appetite to tackle it and reap its benefits, it can be a burdensome endeavor without the right support team to help you through.

Focusing on the customer with a 360 view

The future of CX will put emphasis on the full 360 view of the customer. Of course, this concept is nothing new, we’ve just been striving for something that hasn’t had a name, until now. 

A 360 degree view is a relationship cycle of several touchpoints where a customer interacts with the brand, whether it’s through purchases, marketing communications, customer service inquiries, etc. It helps brands better understand customers’ priorities and preferences, which means you can position yourself to better predict their current and future needs.

A business shouldn’t work in silos, so an accessible picture of the customer through data, regardless of where they’re interacting, means cohesiveness across all of those touchpoints and departments. Sharing the same customer view, through a shared CRM means better cross-departmental collaboration, and better management of customer needs.

By ensuring that you log all your customer data into one place, you can then use this data to drive better forecasts and make more reliable predictive analytics. This complete picture— all their accounts, transactions, service calls, priorities and preferences— will allow you to better predict where they’re heading and what they’re likely to need in the future.

Conclusion

A great customer experience goes a long way in conjunction with the ongoing changes in the market and improvements in technology. You’ll be better equipped to deepen your relationship with your customers and have your CX stand out if you’ve harnessed the right 360 view of your customer. 

Provide better CX

Learn more about the benefits of providing a seamless CX for your customers. Forcivity can champion your efforts with experience and expertise.

Steve Baines