Customer experience – or CX – is all the rage now. But why? Is it another buzz word? Another fad? Or is there more substance to it beyond it just being a phrase being thrown around right now?
Customer service used to be the reference for customer experience, meaning that only the employees working the phones had to deal with the front-lines of the relationship customers had with a brand. Often that created silos of information, an internal ‘us’ vs. ‘everybody else’ mentality in understanding the customer, a fragmented view of the customer and not enough information to the rest of the company to improve, innovate or transform to meet current – much less dynamic – customer needs.
The truth of it is that customer experience then, and today, is the only true differentiator in any market economy. If you place two companies that deliver the same solutions to the same customer audience, customers will still choose one company over the other. Why? The relationship the customer has with the brand – their experience.
In a way, this is a ‘back to basics’, full-circle story for businesses. The core of any business relationship is to provide a solution and get paid for it. As a result, a relationship is created, whether transactional or long-term relational; the more sustained the relationship is over time, the higher the value for both parties.
Add the sophistication afforded by today’s technology to monitor customer behavior and personalize their experience with personal greetings, targeted offers and relevant, timely information, and customer experience becomes complex in terms of back-end delivery. Customers are savvier than ever in terms of researching and exercising their buying options. That demonstrates that the core concept is still about building a better, more valuable relationship through providing a solution and getting paid for it.
But if the concept has been around since the beginning of business, why is everyone talking about CX now?
The answer is that business always seeks a competitive edge in the market and, in any market, the customer is the only advantage to delivering value and generating revenues.
Customer experience now means ensuring that every touchpoint with your brand is meaningful, relevant, helpful, efficient and seamless – or your customers will go elsewhere.
Until recently, companies thought it was enough to dedicate a team of people to their customer post-sale; that is no longer the case today. Customer experience in today’s digital world means every employee is accountable for supporting that customer’s experience with your brand – from awareness through the transaction and solution delivery to brand advocacy over time.
The bottom line is that companies are at a crossroads now – invest in orienting every aspect of their operation toward serving their customer with ever-evolving value or risk becoming obsolete as their competitors do that better. Transformation is not accidental; instead, it is the deliberate investment that will pay you back.
So CX today or your customers will be saying ‘see ya’ tomorrow.
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