What Does "Customer Experience" actually mean!?

I shared a recent Forbes article on LinkedIn today that was focused on recent research that is showing Customer Loyalty and Retention are in Decline. I can say that I have personally seen this trend in a few different industries, but offer an alternative perspective. For the last 3-5 years there has been significant chatter of the future being centered around an "experience economy," and not a lot was known about what that meant or how to be competitive when that day arrived. I am fairly confident in saying that I personally believe we have entered the days of said "experience economy."

Business are quickly working to identify how to differentiate themselves from their competition. The frequently, and possibly overused, term Customer Experience is at the forefront of strategy meetings as everyone wants to say they are working diligently to be competitive in this new world, however, do they really know what the term Customer Experience really means?

To the companies who feel the need to adopt this thought process because everyone seems to be talking about it, but may not fully understand it, I give you this streamlined definition. Customer Experience isn't just something you become focused on after a meeting. Truly impacting the Customer Experience takes a level of organizational, leadership and company buy-in, that may be far outside your comfort zone. It is more than saying you are focused on your customer, it is taking a leap into a slightly gray area and being willing to know that the simple equation of happy employees = happy customers = higher revenue and loyalty. Customer Experience is being willing to hear difficult feedback to make consumer touchpoint's easier, faster, anticipatory and above all, emotional.

In my experience, driving a truly successful Customer Experience strategy takes into account that an individuals emotions are the BIGGEST driver in their perception of satisfaction and whether or not they will choose to stay loyal to your company or brand. While the talk of emotion can be uncomfortable for a lot of people, especially since there isn't usually a significant amount of data to "prove" something, trusting how our brains work and exploring some components of cognitive psychology will help you better trust this thought process and get you on your way to creating more impactful and differentiated experiences.


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