Defining Customer Experience


There are many terms and buzzwords around customer experience. We like this simple and straightforward definition from Don Peppers:

Customer experience is: The totality of a customer’s individual interactions with a brand, over time.

Each of the terms in this definition is important, because each term identifies some aspect of the CX to focus on when it comes to making improvements.

Let’s break down some of the terms:

  • “Customer” is meant to include both current and prospective buyers and users. When you make it easier for a prospect to find information about your firm or your product, for instance, you are improving the “customer experience” even though the prospect may never actually become a customer.
  • “Individual” means that we are talking about each different customer’s own individual perception or impression of the experience. What you intend to provide a customer is not nearly as important as how the customer perceives what you provide.
  • “Interactions” occur in addressable or reciprocal channels, i.e., non-mass media. Marketing campaigns, taglines, and brand messages may be important, but they aren’t interactions, so lie outside the “customer experience” domain. On the other hand, improving your mobile app by, for instance, embedding voice or chat connections into it, would certainly improve customer experience.
  • “With” a brand means that only direct contact counts as part of the customer experience. The interactions a customer has with others about a brand are not really part of it, although of course how your company actually engages with customers and prospects within various social channels is, because it is a direct interaction.
  • “Brand” is a proxy for all your marketing, selling, and servicing entities. In addition to your own company, it includes dealers and distributors, marketing and advertising agencies, any retailers that sell your product, and any service firms that install or repair your company’s product, or handle customer enquiries or interactions of any kind. For each of these interactions, you can contract out the task, but not the responsibility – at least not as far as the customer is concerned.
  • “Over time” recognizes the ongoing nature of a customer relationship. Each customer’s experience is not an isolated event, but accumulates through time. You improve your customer experience, for instance, when you make it easier for a repeat customer to get back to their pre-preferred configuration, or when your call centre agent already knows what a prospect was just trying to find out on your website.
  • And the very first word in the definition, “totality” means that you cannot improve your customer experience without considering all of these issues in total, including how each one impacts the others. Integrating your interaction channels may be the single most important step you can take today to improve customer experience, and there are all sorts of new technologies available to do this.

If you want to discuss this further why not join the conversation on Twitter #IAMCX or speak directly to or 0207 749 4400. At The Crocodile we exist to help our clients build customer driven growth engines. To break down silos and create sustainable, repeatable models that unite our clients business around the priorities in their customers lives.

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