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Customer experience key to business

Timothy Mutsikwi
IF I would begin by a conclusion of what Customer Experience (CX) is, I would say in its essence, CX relates to customer’s views and correlated feelings that are driven by a cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s workforce methods and networks.

It involves every interaction that a customer has with an organisation’s touch points, from online and offline interactions to receiving the products purchased from it.

All these activities have an impact on the way customers perceive an organisation and speak volumes on whether they decide to stay loyal or not.

Simply put, CX is concerned with how customers perceive their interactions with an organisation and its activities across the customer life cycle.

It is important for businesses to invest in CX because in this era of digital transformation customers are more informed and inter-connected with each other through online communities making it easier for them to access ads and information from different offerings.

As a result of this, customers are today more likely to switch to competition if their expectations are not met than they did in the past.

Today’s customer anticipates speedy delivery, and prompt responses from businesses.

In a research carried out in 2018 by PwC in the US, customers pointed out that they are so much in need of great CX and 32% of them said they will switch to competition or walk away from a brand-even the one they so much like after just one bad experience.

Customer expectations, mind set and preferences continue to evolve and organisations need to have a cross functional approach that is accountable for an improved CX to avoid losing customers to competition and more so avoid brand naming and shaming that has become prevalent on social media sites in recent times.

CX is responsible for overall customer journey as it builds long term relationship between consumers and organisations, and there is need for organisations to have a proactive CX approach in order to take adequate action to enhance the customer journey rather than react when the customer becomes disgruntled.

CX, as a holistic approach goes beyond an organisation’s marketing function and should be a responsibility of everyone in the organisation.

This will in turn help management to implement a market-led culture where the entire organisation understands the market. Being able to deliver a unique CX is important for any business no matter the size.

The better experience customers have, the more it is for an organisation to receive positive reviews from them.  Organisations that deliver a good CX benefit from increased customer loyalty, increased customer satisfaction, better referrals, and better brand advocacy.

All these benefits eventually increase an organisation’s chances for revenue growth and brand recognition. Businesses should create an environment conducive for an appreciation of the two key touch points that create an excellent CX; that is people and products. Organisations should invest in training its employees concerning the importance of CX.

This helps in building consolidated and integrated communication approaches across all channels so as to serve the customer better.

Also, the products that an organisation offers its customers are key in achieving its goals and are reflective of how far an organisation can compete for market share especially in a fragmented market.

No customer wants to pay or subscribe for a product that does not serve their need well and no organisation can grow when it has a huge number of customers with cognitive dissonance than satisfaction. In today’s markets product offerings are becoming more commoditised due to many factors including what I refer to as ‘‘Information Inflation’’ and customers now use CX to distinguish based on experiences with an organisation more than certain product features.

They now want to connect with their preferred brands and want to be known and be respected by organisations that they buy from.

This is why organisations should consolidate their CX investment by building customer profiles that are detailed to the core and match with the purchase routine of their customers and ensure that their CX strategies are able to deliver tailored interactions at every customer touchpoint.

These strategies have a collective effect on the customers’ overall brand perceptions and improves its positioning in the minds of customers and prospects.

Quite a number of organisations within our own industry have not really managed to distinguish between CX and Customer Services and mistakenly interchange the two without knowing and without clearly defining the parameters of either of these strategies.

The difference between these two is that customer service is one factor in the customer journey whilst customer experience is the sum of all a customer’s interactions with an organisation.

This means that customer service is just one element of the customer experience puzzle and involves what takes place when the experience breaks down.

In customer service usually contact center agencies are often the first and only voice that customers hear whenever they reach out an organisation with a query.

An organisation needs an excellent customer service as it is important to its overall customer experience.

In conclusion, today’s customers are more exposed, more knowledgeable and informed.

The internet has done a great deal in positioning customers as more than just Kings but Kings with a plethora of alternatives to choose from at their fingertips and with voices too costly to ignore.

This is why businesses need to invest in positive CX and make them to continue as loyal customers to an organisation.

A positive CX entails that customers are satisfied with every interaction that they experience in their journey and this experience gives room for easy-of-purchase from online sites and allows a simplified buying process. Furthermore, businesses should avoid giving their customers a negative CX. A negative CX gives customer feelings of unhappiness, dissatisfaction and frustration, all which leads to negative reviews that will impact negatively on revenue and brand growth.

A negative CX often result from customers’ perceptions that an organisation does not know or understand them and positions an organisation as one that is difficult to transact with.

  • Mutsikwi is a marketing professional and is currently the public relations and marketing officer at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe. LinkedIn: Tim Mutsikwi, Twitter: @TimMutsikwi or e-mail: timothymutsikwi@gmail.com.

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