We hear the term Customer Experience used in many ways these days and there are varying opinions on the definition. In fact, Customer Experience does mean different things depending on whether you are the customer or the retailer delivering the experience.
For the customer, their experience is only about what actually happens to them and how it makes them feel. They are unaware of what the retailer or business owner is trying to accomplish or the steps they have taken to get there. The customer is only aware of the feeling. Did they get what they wanted? Did it feel valuable or pleasant enough to come back? The feeling they get will largely determine whether they will engage again.
Customer Experience Is Entirely Different for the Retailer
From the perspective of someone working on their retail business, Customer Experience is not a feeling but really should be a perspective. It is a perspective that makes you think about the impact of your decisions on your customers. That perspective should be focusing on eliminating the things you do to your customers and replacing it with doing things for them. And in a measure that does not leave the customer weighing the two against each other to decide whether to return.
Also from the business owner or retail managers perspective, Customer Experience should also be thought of as a business outcome. After all, retailers are responsible for more than displaying merchandise and promoting it. They are responsible for the delivery of the actual experience. The Customer Experience is the retailer’s primary business outcome.
Customer Experience is also strategy. It can define operations, set the direction for your brand and become your competitive differentiator.
Customer Experience is your story. Memorable experiences are often re-told. When the experience is great, that story becomes word-of-mouth advertising. The experience is the part that you can control. It is the part that benefits your customers and your bottom line.
What Customer Experience Is Not
Customer Experience should not be confused with Customer Service. Usually Customer Service is the place you visit when, as a customer, your experience has gone wrong. Lining up your strategy and business outcome on the Customer Experience can reduce the need for resources in Customer Service though, and that’s a good thing.
Customer Experience is more than a buzz word, and these four “definitions” of Customer Experience are good places to start change within retail operations. To get it right, your Customer Experience should be a way of thinking that drives the entire organization. Because no matter what you do, your brand can’t be any better than what your customers experience.