Customer experience (CX) is one of the most important aspects to any modern business. Study after study has shown that positive experiences are correlated with higher satisfaction, greater customer retention, and increased purchase behavior.
CX is an area of increasingly hot competition, but a lot of people still aren’t clear on exactly what factors to focus on when thinking about how to shape their experience.
With the divergence of customer journeys and the nonlinear buying cycle in most industries, it’s important to understand the components that shape CX as a series of touchpoints rather than a specific path to purchase.
Customer experience comprises five main building blocks:
- Issue resolution
Each of these components plays a role in how your customers perceive and experience your overall brand. It shapes both their expectations and their behavior.
Customer Perceptions And Interactions
Customer perception of your brand and customer interactions with your product are the starting points of customer experience.
The way your customer perceives your brand is a result of all of the interactions that they’ve had with your brand and your product. Simple enough, right?
Your customers interact with your brand and your product physically and also on the internet when they encounter one of your pieces of branding or advertisements.
Sometimes interactions with your product cause friction, which is undesirable because points of friction are points of the customer experience where your customer isn’t having their reasonable expectations for your product met.
Customers also experience friction when their interaction with a product doesn’t go the way they wanted—like when you put coins into a vending machine, but the snack gets trapped and doesn’t fall to the bottom.
Friction reduces the quality of the customer experience, so a big part of CX is finding and reducing points of friction by changing the product or changing the way that the customer interacts with the product.
It’s unreasonable to expect 100% of your customer interactions to be totally free of friction, and so traditionally the front line against friction is your customer service.
Customer service uses communication with your customer to resolve the point of friction and promote good CX.
Communication is the final block of the customer experience.
Customers are sensitive to the way that brands treat them, and prefer to buy from brands that they feel treat them the best.
Your outgoing communications toward your customers guide your brand’s interactions with them and helps to shape their perceptions, just as your customer service team resolves their points of friction with your product.
Internal communication also plays a huge role in the customer experience. If various departments or business functions don’t communicate effectively, then the customer will feel it in how they’re treated during different stages in their buying journey.
While all 5 components shape the way your customer experience feels, it ultimately comes down to communication as the touchpoint between your brand and your customers.
Taken together, each of these components plays a role and it’s critical to invest in each in order to deliver the kind of world-class customer experience that modern consumers expect.