Customer Experience (CX) is defined as the overall impact of an organization's interactions with its customers The CX field has swelled over a short period of time and there is no indication that it will either stop or slow down. Customer satisfaction and how this relates to your business's bottom line is not a new concept – we are all aware that if we treat the customer with respect, listen and understand what their needs are, it will likely result in either a one-off or periodical business transaction. Old sayings are profound because they are generally correct - “The customer is king/queen!” – has been touted for some time, and that’s because it is true: if you do not treat the customer well, then your business rival will.
What has changed has been transforming customer satisfaction to the organized, structured, and metric-driven field of CX. Large organizations worldwide now have a dedicated CX leader, with most reporting directly to the CEO. A direct line to the most senior individual in the company demonstrates the importance of CX to the profit and loss statement and hence the need for consistent and precise measurement.
But how did this transformation occur over time, and what were the direct and influential catalysts? What business and personal resources were readily available at the time to assist with this transformation? And significantly, where will CX further evolve into the future business world?
Where CX Has Been and Where It's Headed
It was not that long ago when business owners would welcome us into their stores by using our first name. They would often ask about our families' well-being, and they would instinctively know and understand what our product preferences were. This was an era without the technology like we know today - CX was built on establishing, nurturing, strong inter-personal relationships. Providing excellent customer service was all about salespeople remembering you, your preferences, and catering to your total comfort in-store - business owners were likely to use a Rolodex to store all relevant customer information.
The Internet opened commercial online doors, and businesses could display and trade their merchandise 24/7. If customers prefer, they could do their shopping easily from the comfort of home and by merely using a few keystrokes and mouse-clicks, equally around the clock. Via the Internet, the tool of choice for marketers was e-mail. E-mail also provided a new channel for customers seeking customer support and assistance. Many organizations decided to either reduce or remove their phone support altogether and focus solely on this customer service channel.
During this period, the supermarket organizations that sold a wide range of goods and services steadily grew in size and number, subsequently overtaking the majority of the local corner and smaller stores. These two factors reduced personal interaction between the business and the customer.
Phone lines moved from within our homes and into the palms of our hands, and a brand new era of customer experience was introduced on mobile devices. Customers could surf the web, search, shop, and ask for technical or customer support at any time of the day – all on their smartphones.
With the introduction of social media, a platform was provided for the customers' voice: customers could share their positive service and support stories (or nightmares) with anyone and everyone, and readers could forward on such experiences to others. Organizations began employing internal teams to address these customers on a wide range of social media applications such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
However, these same organizations realized the considerable cost factor involved with supporting these social media platforms, not to mention the bright and shiny new ones that seemed to appear magically overnight and attract new followers. A solution was devised to meet the demands of customers who wanted to solve their own problems – which brings us to today, as chatbots take over live-chat channels across many industries, coupled with virtual assistants.
Why CX Metrics Are Important to Your Business
Defining, communicating, gathering, and analyzing - CX metrics can have several uses. They can be used to express the rationale for previous investments; verify and validate whether quality improvements have been successful (or not); set goals and targets for future improvements, or intervene when remedial action is required.
There exists a large number of metrics that can measure CX; however, most of them (if not all) can fit into the following five categories:
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT). This is a simple but effective metric – and all organizations start with this one. Customer satisfaction is the most traditional metric to gather, capturing responses to survey questions about satisfaction with products or services.
- Customer loyalty – retention and churn. How likely is it that your customers will remain customers and that repeat business is likely to occur? These metrics are retrospective and can provide valuable insight into CX.
- Advocacy – reputation and brand. Typically, these metrics will determine the level at which customers would recommend or endorse the product or organization. Sentiment scores on social media, trust ratings, and event participation are all examples.
- Quality of the product or service and/ or operations. Generally, this is the most undervalued CX metric. When a product or service does not meet the customer’s requirements, the CX is poor, no matter what actions are taken to remediate the problem.
- Employee/ Customer engagement. The most difficult CX metric to measure, and the most likely metric not to be considered by organizations due to its complexity.
For CX metrics to be truly beneficial, organizations must first define what CX means to the organization and then decide how to measure it, and when.
Where is CX heading into the future? It is becoming a highly emotional consideration for many organizations. Businesses need to deliver the right device on the right channel or risk upsetting and losing their customers. What's even more challenging is the new generation of consumers who switch between channels during a single interaction – resulting in a disjointed and confusing experience for both the customer and the business.
Organizations are not just expected to be available all the time, but everywhere. Customers will buy from companies they like, where they get the best experience - and they will continue to do so as well as long as the previous two encounters remain positive. Therefore, organizations must know and understand their customers – along with their CX experiences – to foster a positive relationship between the two.
The team at TABLE knows and understands the intricacies of CX and its importance to your business. TABLE’s customer experience software platform enables you to seamlessly communicate and collaborate with your customers by providing your full range of services anywhere.
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