The term “customer experience” (CX) doesn’t seem to have a standard definition, but it’s often used interchangeably with customer journey, brand perception and customer engagement. In its broadest meaning, customer experience is the subjective impression a brand makes from the totality of interactions, resulting in how a customer thinks of a brand across every stage, channel and touchpoint of the customer journey.
By definition, one or two touchpoints in isolation do not make a customer experience: CX is made up of all the touchpoints across all the channels across the entire customer journey.
The importance of CX cannot be understated. It will influence the way a customer feels about your brand and will not only shape how loyal said customer is, but also how often that customer will recommend your business to peers and family. As such, the provision of excellent CX will directly affect the bottom line.
COVID-19 has accelerated CX trends that were already percolating for some time: the crisis has become a catalyst pushing more customers, employees and businesses to adopt digital ways of doing business. Those that were quick to adapt to the new digital trend are now way ahead of their slower rivals.
Digital-first is the one and only scalable and future-proof CX strategy available at a time when brick-and-mortar retail and face-to-face interactions have become problematic for some time; and will likely remain so as digital business gains popularity.
As we head into 2021, customers want service, but they want it in an increasingly digital way. For routine queries, today’s customer often prefers self-service tools that empower them to access service 24/7, through almost any channel and on any device. Convenience is king in the eyes of customers today, and omnichannel engagement will be vital in obtaining a competitive advantage moving forward. Self-service tools like conversational chatbots can fuel a scalable, digital-first and future-proof approach to CX.
A combination of self-service tools and human agents is seen as the ideal customer service system for the foreseeable future. This empowers each to do what each des best, and is a powerful driver of CX. It’s not easy to do and will require investments of time and money, but getting your CX wrong will wreak havoc on your revenues. In a post-Covid age, customers will no longer tolerate long waiting times, service employees who do not understand their needs, and unresolved issues. On the other hand, too much automation and a lack of empathy can lead to a service being not personalised enough.
To conclude, CX is a subjective perception encompassing all interactions a customer has along the journey. When you blend self-service options and trained employees to serve customers in consistent, scalable and memorable ways, they’ll keep coming back to you for more.