Bruce Temkin, founder and Ex-chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, is one of the leading thinkers around customer experience. His research informs his influential Customer Experience Matters blog.
He’s described customer experience as: “The perception that customers have of their interactions with an organization.”
Why customer experience is NOT customer service or satisfaction
Temkin elaborated by comparing customer experience with customer service. “Customer service is an organizational function, like marketing and sales, that manages a subset of interactions with customers,” he wrote.
“Customer experience, on the other hand, is the connection that companies make with their customers across all functions and touch-points.”
Let us consider customer experience as “the sum of all experiences a customer has with a brand or product or company, over the duration of the customer’s relationship with that brand or product or company”.
People often use the terms “customer service”, “customer satisfaction” and “customer experience” interchangeably. Customer satisfaction is “a measure of how the products and services supplied by a company meet, surpass or fail customer expectations. In other words, customer satisfaction scores can help you determine where your customer experience is succeeding – and where it needs improvement.
It’s a cumulative thing, right?
Customer experience is not about a momentary transaction, but the cumulative impact of a customer’s impressions of a business throughout the purchasing journey.
Because the buying cycle also includes awareness and discovery, as well as the post-purchasing relationship building that a business makes with its customer, then customer experience is also influenced by marketing and wider reputational matters.
Image: Chris Casciano