Many companies start out with the basic premise of creating a sustainable business before aspiring toward growth and scaling up. Within this purview, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision and look at every issue from the perspective of the company’s good. However, more mature organizations have learned hard lessons that center on the fact that your customer is and always will be the reason why your organization exists.
Companies in every industry face an increasingly competitive commercial market where differentiating your organization on the product or even the service alone won’t be enough to keep you on top. This has led to the rise of customer experience as the primary index that businesses need to understand and integrate to build a successful company.
What is customer experience?
The problem with a term like customer experience is that it’s not immediately apparent what it encompasses. People are far more familiar with a phrase like customer satisfaction, which is just a piece of the overall pie when you’re thinking about customer experience. Satisfaction is a straightforward concept: Were you happy with the product or service? You can go into greater depth to get at how customers feel, but the more difficult task is to analyze each interaction consumers have with a company to get a clear portrait of the end-to-end journey, as Harvard Business Review explained.
Gauging customer experience is about macro- and mircro-level data as it relates to individual consumers. It’s the culmination of each interaction that a customer has with a business, some of which may be directly under the control of the company – like a conversation with a contact center agent or an advertisement – and others may not, such as someone’s social media post. However, understanding customer experience goes beyond looking at touch points in isolation. It also involves analyzing how consumers feel and considering the motivation for each interaction.
How do you measure it?
The precursor to customer experience analytics involved measuring satisfaction, which is still an important metric to track. However, TechTarget helped explain that customer satisfaction doesn’t necessarily give you insight into future behavior and other important factors that go into business planning. Satisfaction surveys aid in illuminating specific interactions, like a customer support chat session, but these tend to ignore the underlying issues a customer may be having. For instance, a customer may lose his or her Internet connection, call to get the issue resolved and be happy about it, but if the service is still unstable, it’s unlikely the experience will be good.
Measuring customer experience involves a longer list of technology and skill sets. To get a clear understanding of how people feel about their journey as customers, you need to see the paths they take and use tools like speech analytics to identify common issues that crop up tracking specific keywords. Businesses can leverage this kind of technology in real time and tie it back to sentiment either in addition to or as a replacement to surveying.
Customer experience is now a fundamental part of business. Companies that make it part of their operational framework and workflows will have an advantage over other organizations that don’t understand the impact they have on consumer attitudes and behaviors.
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