The decisive role of Customer Experience Design in business success


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There is a marked difference between customer experience and user experience. Customer experience is the broad spectrum wherein user experience is just a part of it. Customer experience is the journey that you take the customer through, from the time of their purchase or even before the purchase which intends to solve a problem or quench a need. Customer experience encompasses many nitty-gritties that together works in tandem in order to make them happy. In the digital world, with rapid digitization the term has taken an even more complicated connotation. The focus is on unearthing typical consumer behaviors and judge the impact on them when the customer interacts with the digital interface. Also, assessing the human interactions needed by the customer in their journey and also try to ascertain the organizational changes that needs to be done before we serve our customers better.

Customer Experience (CX) is the key to business success

Let’s assume that you have built an online store that is brilliant and immaculate with an alluring user experience. The team has created an outstanding website with reach user interface and user experience. Also, in couple of days it achieved a better organic ranking in the search engines. In short all the marketing efforts are just invincible. You start receiving about few thousands of hits on the first week itself and many visitor buys something once they land up on the website. It’s just amazing! Your business could be on the way of beating the couple of other e-commerce players in the market. However, in this process the product deliveries were not managed well. The customers are angry about bad deliveries and the customer service started handling the angry customers. After a while the customers quit due to this experience and do not return again. The customers also start claiming refunds for the products. So, what happened? The sales drops down drastically and the company start facing the heat. In this process – the website became a big hit, the customer service was pretty good, customers were also happy with the products. But then what went wrong?

In spite of the best of efforts the business started crumbling down into ashes. The user experience was amazing and so many customers bought the products but the customer experience went wrong in the first place and this calamity took place. Everywhere and in every business this is what happens to some extent due to which there is a loss of customers and reputation. It is pretty often said that the cost of acquiring a new customer often surpasses the cost of retaining a customer by six or seven times. It is also true that most of the business’s revenue to the extent of 80 % comes from 20 % of its loyal customers. So in this context, isn’t it more sensible to tailor make a customer experience which is more akin to better customer satisfaction and retention. A highly satisfied customer spreads positive words of mouth and references start bringing more customers to you. Research says that it’s just about the positive or the negative cycle of customer acquisition that you would like to initiate and the secret lies in the customer experience that your business offers.

The retail stores and any other showrooms spend a lot on the décor of the shop to give a seamless experience to the user and convert them to customers. For example there are many rules of thumb in the décor mechanics of a retail store. The colors should be soothing and at the same time should evoke a desire to purchase. Customers are often seen to turn to their right, casually and so the merchandisers often keep the most in demand articles there with proper lighting so that it grabs the eyes and allures the mind. The retail store that is often visited by us is full of such contraptions to allure one towards a purchase decision which we are most of the time unaware of.

The same is true for digital marketing and inside sales. The website is immaculate with the right UI and UX that makes the visitors buy and every action of the customer is charted and researched with thorough analysis. The efforts are giving wonderful results as well with 80% of the website visitors, clicking on the Call-to-Action button without any fail. Try to find answers to questions like, are you able to grow at that speed. Are all the customers buying from your site, repeating their purchase from your site with more additions in the fray? If that’s not happening, your user experience is great but it is failing on the design of an effective customer experience. The reason is the customer’s experience cycle is not just buying the product, but their experience while using the product, their contacts with the company and the experiences while doing so and the like. It is rather an end to end cycle where the company strives to serve the best in all the touch points and the customer wants to reap the best. All the touch points with the customer or the potential customer has to be equally well equipped and immaculate to give the best of services and results.

Assess your Digital Customer Experience (DX) strategy

The reason why digital customer experience (DX) has become so relevant is as per eMarkerter, by 2017 more than a third of the global population will have a smartphone surging the emergence of mobile commerce. The offline world is gradually taking a back seat with more and more buyers flocking on the online channels. This is happening at a rapid scale as newer developments in the field of mobile banking, virtual customer service and other tools are promoting a more vivacious shopping experience. The actual reality is that companies get excited with digitization of customer experience but for many, the digital customer experience strategy is still immature. The journey of the customers has to be strategized minimizing points of dissatisfaction, obstacles and frictions, and thinking from the customer’s perspective, throughout. The strategy should be such that it avoids too much of complexity and leads the customers to the sought after solutions at minimal possible time and at maximum ease.

There are six different areas that needs to be covered during the customer’s journey. These six key result areas are:

1. Reachability
2. convenience of service
3. convenience of Purchase
4. Personalization of customers
5. Simplicity and ease of usage
6. Channel Flexibility

Reachability refers to how reliable a preferred channel is for the customer. It also takes into account the consumer’s awareness and their attractiveness or affinity towards it. Service convenience refers to the ease of serving the customers digitally. Purchase convenience refers to the service convenience and the ease of the whole digital transaction. Personalization refers to the recognition of the customers by the organization in terms of their personal preferences and as an individual. Simplicity refers to the ease of digital navigation and the timeliness of services delivered. Channel flexibility refers to the journey of the customers and their ease in switching channels while communicating with the company.

Assessment of these metrics are very important in knowing where the organization lies in terms of the DX maturity ladder which is crucial to formulate a seamless customer experience strategy. Thus it becomes imperative to optimize the total digital environment and the channels to provide the customers a truly enjoying and value adding digital customer experience. This will not only optimize resources and surge sales but will also save costs as well. A great customer experience is eventually brings more profits for any organization.

How to improve on the DX maturity levels?

A whole organizational rethinking and reorientation of the processes are required when you are improving or formulating your digital customer experience strategy. The top leadership should first of all take the initiative and see that the vision of the company is attained through it and it percolates to the lowest level of the organization. This should be the guiding principle for defining the roles and responsibilities. This makes the organization more customer centric and keeps an eye on all the touchpoints of the customers with the organization.
A digital implementation team should be formed who would spearhead the task of digitization. A strategy on the interdependence of the departments like marketing, sales, customer service, finance and other divisions of business has to be worked out. This team should focus on the KRAs and the KPIs to drive the organization to excellence and remove the bottlenecks in the experience of the customers. They should focus on minimizing the redundancies and automation of the current processes with a due emphasis on the human touch of the customer experience as well. The data analytics of various metrics should also be taken into consideration keeping in mind the organizational climate and behavior.

The ultimate truth about Customer Experience

Although Customer experience can be measured at each touch points but much of it is subjective and empirical. An example would clarify the point that we want to drive home. In many of the researches it was found out that each touch point with the customer by the company reps were great and the web scores, stats and the CSAT scores were also high. This indicated satisfaction of customers at every level. Still the company noticed loss of customers and the overall situation didn’t seem to improve. This kind of a situation was faced by companies of various segments which made the top leaders and analysts to delve deep into the customer’s psyche. To their amazement they found, every touchpoint with the customer may be highly engaging and satisfying but still the overall satisfaction parameter can fall drastically. Why is this so?

The reason is that a customer’s journey may be spanning a period of three months with a company. In this tenure the company makes six or seven phone calls and two or three visits of the representatives of the company may also be involved. When an extensive research was conducted it was found out that the customers were fairly happy about the services provided at each touch points but the overall satisfaction still dropped. Delving deeper and concentrating on focus groups it was unearthed that the customers bothered very less on the encounters and the solutions offered. They might have been given a temporary solution but a fundamental problem which remained underlying, always kept the customers dissatisfied and this made the touchpoints gradually drop in delivering satisfaction levels. So the advice is to keep the process and the design of the customers’ journey as simple with minimal touchpoints poignant with transparency. The more the complexity the more the dissatisfaction levels of the customers.

Swapnil Bhagwat
Swapnil is a digital leader with global working experience in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe. In this role as the Vice President of Digital Marketing he delivers high impact results for B2B and B2C enterprises. He is developing growth driven digital marketing strategies and leading a high-performance global team. Swapnil has pioneered and implementing measurable strategies to accelerate the revenue and grow the B2B and B2C brands. Swapnil is an MBA graduate, and worked for more than a decade across a range of businesses for the global markets.


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