In last week’s post, I wrote about some findings in Salesforce’s latest State of the Connected Customer report. One of the graphics for the first finding, “customer connections are essential,” stood out to me. The title of the chart is, “Amid Crises, Experience Remains a Key Differentiator.” I agree with that. It’s the sub-title that struck me: “The Experience a Company Provides Is as Important as Its Products or Services.”
I had to pause a moment. Aren’t products and services part of the experience?
Let’s go back to the definition of customer experience. CXPA defines it as the perception that customers have of the organization. I like to define it as the sum of all the interactions that a customer has with an organization over the life of the “relationship” with that company… and, more importantly, the feelings, emotions, and perceptions the customer has about those interactions.
Those feelings, emotions, and perceptions are formed through interactions with your people, your products and services, your partners, your messaging, your site or your app, and more. Your products and services are part of the experience. Without a product or service, you have no business. Without products or services created for your customers, you have no business.
Why do customers buy your products? To solve some problem or to do some job, to achieve some outcome. Benefits received, value delivered. Achieving all of that (or not) leaves them with specific feelings or perceptions about not only the product but also the person who sold it to them, the company, the brand, etc. This is another reason that Product and CX must work together.
The experience is really everything, i.e., every touch and every interaction the customer has with the company over the life of the relationship and the feelings, emotions, and perceptions elicited by those touches and interactions, whether they be people, products, price, policies, processes, technology, communications, and more. Anything that impacts the perceptions about the company fall under the customer experience.
So, yes, the experience is everything!
Why? Because you are in business because of and for the customer. If it’s not all for the customer, then who is it for? So make it a great experience all around!
Don’t deliver a product; deliver an experience. – Unknown