Customer Experience 101: What are the Basics of Customer Experience?
Steve Jobs once famously said, “You've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.”
Customer Experience or CX is at the forefront of technology design. A great customer experience is a modern equivalent to the saying “the customer is king.” Compelling and exceptional customer experiences are behind some of the world's most successful brands. Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Tesla have all improved trust and reputation in their brand by providing an exceptional customer experience.
Customer experience is about engaging with your customer base across every step of their journey with your organization. Ultimately, customer experience is a series of steps to build a trusted relationship between your brand and your customer.
What makes a great customer experience?
Each step of the end-to-end customer journey contributes to creating an exceptional customer experience and high customer satisfaction. Customer experience is not about a single, isolated department making decisions. Customer experience pulls all the threads of a business vision into a coherent brand strategy that puts customers first. The essential components of a great customer experience are:
Customer-led design: products and services are led by customer expectations. Customer-led design has helped shape iconic products from highly successful companies, for example, the Apple iPhone.
Connect the dots: a great customer experience is not just about technology. Technology must be backed by robust structures that handle the customer experience across the entire journey.
The back-end is as crucial as the front-end: an exceptional customer experience must be considered a multi-partner ecosystem consisting of supporting technologies, processes, and procedures. Each part must work together seamlessly to refine customer experience, like a well-oiled machine.
Cover all channels and cut the friction: omnichannel support is seen as a keystone of a great customer experience, with modern customers using an average of 6 touchpoints. Customers want choice in how they interact with a business, but multiple channels, including human interactions, must be seamless and as friction-free as possible.
Make the user journey intuitive: customer experience should be intuitive. If the customer experience is heavily dependent on technology, use smart solutions, such as machine learning-based data analytics to make a user journey smoother.
A great customer service team: no matter the size of your business, you need to think about always putting customer experience as a priority. Building out an excellent customer service team can help your organization develop and oversee programs that nurture new customers on their user journey, drive strong customer engagement leveraging customer feedback, and provide support through human touch.
Why is a great customer experience necessary for customer satisfaction?
It is often said that happy customers are loyal customers and will come back time and again. A PwC survey found that 59% of U.S. customers would walk away from a previously loved company if they had several poor experiences.
Loyal customers talk positively about a company to friends, family, and colleagues while leveraging online reviews and engaging on social media. The research backs this up: in a 2018 report into B2B purchase decisions, over 92% of respondents said they would make a purchase based on a trusted review.
An exceptional customer experience helps deliver a competitive edge. A great customer experience helps build a brand and place it on the map because of its trusted relationship.
What tools help build a great customer experience?
Various software solutions have been brought to the market to help create a great digital customer experience. Many customer experience software tools use machine learning for data analysis to provide actionable insights. Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zendesk are examples of vendors who offer a platform that works across multiple channels to collect and analyze customer data. These data are then used to improve the customer experience working towards a frictionless customer experience.
Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) is another type of technology used to create better and frictionless customer experiences. CIAM provides developers with a low code way to create seamless, personalized customer interactions. CIAM vendors include ForgeRock, Okta, and WS02.
Advances in customer experience: welcome to the human experience (HX)
Human experience or HX is a vanguard approach to developing technology. HX is a more holistic way of looking at the user/customer experience that is starting to win supporters across the industry. HX is a human-centric approach seen as more inclusive than CX, weaving psychology and behavioral science aspects into system and technology design. The aim is to build empathy with the product’s audience and tailor it to the specific needs of humans. As the HX Project puts it, “HX is an approach to talking about, engaging with, and designing technology in a way that is aligned with our needs as humans — not users.”