Optimize every moment along the customer journey

17 10-2017
Optimize every moment along the customer journey

Customer experience (CX) is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction is made up of three parts: the customer journey, the brand touchpoints the customer interacts with, and the environments the customer experiences (including digital environment) during their experience. A good customer experience means that the individual’s experience during all points of contact matches the individual’s expectations. Gartner asserts the importance of managing the customer’s experience.

Customer experience implies customer involvement at different levels – such as rational, emotional, sensorial, physical, and spiritual. Customers respond diversely to direct and indirect contact with a company. Direct contact usually occurs when the purchase or use is initiated by the customer. Indirect contact often involves advertising, news reports, unplanned encounters with sales representatives, word-of-mouth recommendations or criticisms.

Customer experience can be definedas the internal and personal responses of the customers that might be line with the company either directly or indirectly. Creating direct relationships in the place where customers buy, use and receive services by a business intended for customers such as instore or face to face contact with the customer which could be seen through interacting with the customer through the retail staff. We then have indirect relationships which can take the form of unexpected interactions through a company’s product representative, certain services or brands and positive recommendations – or it could even take the form of “criticism, advertising, news, reports” and many more along that line.

Customer experience is created by the contribution of not only the customers’ values but also by the contribution of the company providing the experience.

All of the events experienced by customers before and after a purchase are part of the customer experience. When a customer is undertaking the experience it is seen as personal and unique, as well as it provides stimulation to all sensory, emotional, rational and physical aspects of which can help to create a memorable experience for the consumer of which they will never forget. The concept of customer experience can be investigated in various types of organizations and industries throughout the world, but many studies on customer experience in the retail industry have been developed. In the retail industry, both company and customers play a big role in creating a customer experience.

 

”Organizations need to invest in a platform which is agile, flexible, and self-customizable, like Click Prompt, so as their customers, products/services and markets change, they can adapt quickly and easily to remain competitive.”

 

Forbes says that customer experience is the “cumulative impact of multiple touchpoints” over the course of a customer’s interaction with an organization. Some companies are known to segment the customer experience into interactions through the web and social media, while others define human interaction such as over-the-phone customer service or face-to-face retail service as the customer experience.

According to Forrester Research (via Fast Company), the six disciplines for great customer experience are strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance and culture. A company’s ability to deliver an experience that sets it apart in the eyes of its customers will increase the amount of consumer spending with the company and inspire loyalty to its brand. According to Jessica Sebor, “loyalty is now driven primarily by a company’s interaction with its customers and how well it delivers on their wants and needs.”[10]

Wharton’s Professor of Marketing Barbara E. Kahn has established an evolutional approach to customer experience as the third of four stages of any company in terms of its customer centricitymaturity. These progressive phases are:

  1. Product orientation: Companies just manufacture goods and offer them the best way possible.
  2. Market orientation: Some consideration on customer needs and segmentation arises, developing different marketing mix bundles for each one.
  3. Customer experience: Adding to the other two factors some recognition of the importance of providing an emotionally positive experience to customers.
  4. Authenticity: This is the top maturity stage of companies. Products and service emerge from real soul of brand and connect naturally and on long term sustainable basis with clients and other stakeholders.

In this present day it requires more than just low prices and innovative products to survive the climate and competitiveness of the retail business. Customer experience involves every point of contact you have with a customer and the interactions with the products or service of the business. Customer experience has emerged as a vital strategy for all retail businesses that are facing competition. According to Holbrook & Hirschman studies (1982) they say that customer experience can be defined as a whole event of which a customer comes into contact with when interacting with a certain business. This experience often affects the emotions of the customer. The whole experience occurs when the interaction takes place through the stimulation of goods and services consumed.

The type experience seen through a marketing perspective is put forward by Pine & Gilmore (1999) which they state that an experience can be unique which may mean different individuals will not have the same level experience that may not be memorable to the person therefore it won’t be remembered over a period of time. Certain types of experiences may involve different aspects of the individual person such as emotional, physical, intellectual or even spiritual.

Customer experience is the stimulation a company creates for the senses of the consumers, this means that the companies and that particular brand can control the stimuli that they have given to the consumers senses which the companies can then control the consumers reaction resulting from the stimulation process, giving more acquisition of the customer experience as expected by company.

Kotler et al. 2013, (p. 283) say that customer experience is about, “Adding value for customers buying products and services through customer participation and connection, by managing all aspects of the encounter”. The encounter includes touchpoints. Businesses can create and modify touchpoints so that they are suited to their consumers which changes/enhances the customers’ experience. Creating an experience for the customer can lead to greater brand loyalty and brand recognition in the form of logos, colour, smell, touch, taste, etc.

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