Why Customer Experience Is Everything: Your Ultimate Guide to CX

Customer experience (CX) is the new battleground for business. The value of service and the importance of making a human connection with customers has rarely been starker.  

If you want to survive and thrive in a competitive market, then focusing on your CX is essential. But, to do that, you need to understand exactly what CX is.  

We believe CX is everything. So, we have put together your ultimate guide to CX to give you the information and tools you need to delight customers and boost profits.  

What is customer experience? 

Customer experience can be defined as the impression and overall experience a customer goes through when presented and experiencing your service. Essentially, CX is a customer’s perception of your organisation based on their exposure to it. 

We can all think of positive and negative experiences we have had as customers. Good or bad, these interactions shape our opinions of brands, products, and services we interact with.  

Delivering a positive customer experience will make your customer(s) happy but also increases the likelihood they will return, remain loyal or recommend you to others. Crucially for businesses, this positively impacts the bottom-line. 

Customer experience versus customer service 

Customer experience and customer service are not the same thing, although they are inextricably linked. 

Customer experience encapsulates the customer’s entire buying journey, which includes customer service. CX is not a ‘one-time’ interaction, it covers all the touchpoints through a customer’s journey not just at the point of sale. 

Customer service is a branch of the overall customer experience. Simply, put customer service can be defined as the assistance and advice provided by the representative of the company to the consumer. 

Why does customer experience matter? 

Winning over customers is about more than clinching a one-off sale. It is about winning their loyalty and their trust for a lifetime.  

Providing a great CX is key to making your business different and gaining an edge over the competition.

The client journey is the path to sales, which is why CX is essential. 

 How can customer experience create a differentiation for a brand? 

CX is fast becoming the main reason a potential customer chooses your business, yet our research shows 80% of companies say they deliver ‘superior’ customer service while only 8% of customers thought the same about those companies – how would your customers rate your brand? 

A positive CX is critical to the three brand success factors: 

  • Brand trust - confidently knowing what you can expect. 
  • Brand value – the brand’s value exceeds the cost. 
  • Brand loyalty - strongly associating the brand as part of your identity.  

Improving your customer experience is the surest way to retain loyalty, reduce cost and increase profits.  

How does customer experience drive business growth? 

The cost of gaining a new customer is five times the cost of retaining an existing one and the value of existing customers to profits cannot be overestimated. 

The holy grail is to create an experience that makes your customers want to return. 

Not only do repeat customers deliver more top-line revenue, they cost nothing to acquire so a greater proportion of that revenue finds its way to the bottom-line. Typically, a 5% improvement in customer retention typically leads to a 25% increase in profits. 

Here are five benefits of improving CX: 

  • Drive revenue and customer lifetime value 
  • Increase brand value 
  • Boost customer loyalty and advocacy 
  • Keep close to customers and changing behaviours 
  • Reduce costs and invest in the right things 

How can customer experience be improved? 

The first step to improving CX is to know where you are starting from otherwise you are never going to know if you have made progress or not. 

At insight6, we provide six services to encapsulate the best possible CX: 

  1. Customer experience reviews
  2. Training and development
  3. Customer journey mapping
  4. Online feedback
  5. Focus and listening groups
  6. Mentoring and coaching 

The core focus of all leaders is to protect your business by strengthening the relationship with your customers and looking after your accounts. 

Read our six CX tips that we know will protect your business. 

How do you measure or track customer experience? 

The success of your business is reflected in the satisfaction of your customers. 

One headline metric for CX measurement is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This well-established and widely used system is a customer loyalty measurement taken by asking customers how likely they are to recommend your business to others. 

The problem with NPS can be about timing - questions like these are not always applicable to the customer at the point in their journey that they receive them. 

You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Here are some other metrics you can use to measure customer experience: 

  • Average resolution time 
  • Customer churn 
  • Exceptional moments 
  • Customer effort score (CES) 

Some firms are tempted to believe they assess and improve their CX all by themselves, but an accurate view can only be achieved by third party independent assessment. 

Insight6 provides a six-stage model that brings a focus on your firm’s CX strategy, identifying issues, challenges, and opportunities, working with your firm to develop new strategies and, of course, analysing progress, this all leads to a better CX. 

What is a customer journey map? 

Your customer’s journey, from the starting point when they make the decision to reach out to your business right up to the resolution of the matter, is trackable. 

Through ‘journey mapping’ you can create a visual representation of your average customer’s interaction with your business, and pinpoint the various trials, delights, and frustrations they face. 

A good customer journey map is a true reflection of the customer, not a painting of the ideal one.  

Who owns the customer experience? 

The CX is not “owned” by one person or a single department, it should be an organisation-wide effort. 

Behind poor CX there can lie underlying problems in a firm’s culture, such as short-term targets, or staff who are incentivised to make quick sales without regard for long-term sustainability of the business. This may create a vicious circle because the customer journey can have an impact on employees’ job satisfaction. 

CX is not the responsibility of a few, it needs to be embedded throughout your organisation.  

How do employees impact the customer experience? 

Your employees play a pivotal role in delivering your product or service. Disengaged staff do not go the extra mile for your customers. 

Creating a great working culture within your business ensures your team can provide the best experience for your customers and clients. The one simple (but essential) thing leaders can do to improve employee engagement is regularly check in on staff wellbeing. 

A total feedback solution like instant insight can analyse the feedback from your team and customers. A good leader is prepared to ask questions they may not like the answers to 

Our dedicated team of CX Directors have a wealth of business experience, as well as an understanding of CX which is second to none. Partnering with us will ensure that your CX strategy will align with your vision for the business. Get in touch today with any enquiries or to discover how insight6 can help transform your CX. 

Joe Betts is a customer experience partner at insight6, supporting the brand’s local Customer Experience Directors to enable them to deliver more profit to business owners through better customer experiences. Connect on LinkedIn or follow @insight6 on Twitter. 

A good leader is prepared to ask questions they may not like the answers to

To truly improve employee engagement and wellbeing, every leader must do three basic things: ask, accept, action. 

Ask 

You'd be amazed at the number of leaders I have worked with over the years who come to me with an employee engagement problem, only to find they haven't asked their staff how they are feeling or if there is anything that they need to improve their ability to do their job. 

More worryingly, some come to me to solve a problem, utterly oblivious that they have an employee engagement issue fuelling that very problem. It's not that they don't care, quite the opposite, but it demonstrates a disconnect between management and employees.

The one simple (but essential) thing leaders can do to improve employee engagement is regularly check in on staff wellbeing. Allowing employees to have their voice heard in a regular, official capacity can instantly enhance engagement; there are, of course, caveats!  

Keep wellbeing surveys quick, simple, and convenient – pick a day and time you know employees are more likely to fill it in. Importantly, employees must feel 'safe' to respond openly and honestly to avoid false and potentially misleading results. 

Accept 

Wellbeing in the workplace is a serious matter, and staff need to know that your business and its management genuinely care; this is not a tick-box exercise but something you should embed. Implement a regular feedback solution that analyses responses from your team and provides you with actionable comments to help transform your business.

Understandably, you might be nervous about responses. However, without unequivocally honest insight, you can't acknowledge, accept, or crucially take action to rectify or improve potential issues. Rebuffing or counterarguing responses sends a message that you are not listening, and a 'what's the point' attitude will develop.

Set a monthly employee engagement KPI to track over time to quickly spot and react to trends – not only by the positive or negative scores but also by the response rate. If only a tiny percentage of people even answer the questions, it indicates a disengaged team. 

Action 

You must act on feedback! 

I am not saying give employees everything they request or suggest you make massive business changes to make a few people happier but prove you have listened, probe further and ask 'why'. 

Mapping out the employee response journey is critical. If a response is positive, the action can be an automated yet personal email thanking them for participating. If a negative response is received, there should be an appropriate action plan that follows.  

Depending on the level of question and how potentially harmful the response is, this could be a red flag to a line manager to check in with this person or to follow up and dig deeper into any issues raised. Never follow up in an accusatory way; the aim here is to understand and work out a way to improve. Many negative scores have 'quick win' solutions, such as frustrations with technology or access to information. However, it can be trickier to identify the root cause of a personal grievance or behaviour issue.

My parting words of wisdom? Always follow up.  

Did offering the chance to be heard make a positive change? Have the plans put in place resolved problems? You won't always solve every niggle or concern. Still, by asking questions, actively listening, accepting feedback, and acting accordingly, you will find that employee engagement increases, and wellbeing scores improve.

Jonathan Winchester is a customer experience entrepreneur, speaker and business leader. He is the Founder and Chief Executive of insight6. For more information on how to improve your customer experience, visit www.insight6.com. Request to connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn.