Three Must-Haves of Customer Experience (CE)


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Defining CE appears to have created mass confusion and disagreement among academics and business professionals alike. These definitions are often defined from different functional perspectives or in the pursuit of specific business objectives. Furthermore it can easily be argued that a common problem of Customer Experience Management (CEM) is that CE means different things to different people across and within organizations. Therefore without structured definitions- clear CEM strategies and the implementation thereof become highly challenging.

While it is difficult to define CE in a way that makes sense to companies and customers alike, I do believe that there are three undeniable key elements to customer experience.

1. Firstly, CE must be the customer’s interpretation of the experience. This means that companies cannot assume to guess how customer’s experiences must consider the customers perspective regardless of whether there is agreement. This explains some of the complexity of CEM because the customer’s interpretation is influenced by a number of factors- many of which will not be controllable by the company such as a previously poor experience with a similar service provider or a customer simply having a bad day. These uncontrollable factors vary from person to person making them very difficult to isolate.

2. Secondly, CE is the summation of experiences across all a customer’s interactions with the company. These interactions can include TV Ads, sales enquiries, service calls and sponsored events. Furthermore, each of these interactions has a different weighted contribution to the total customer experience. This can make defining all possible customer interactions and their impact on the total CE somewhat tricky. This also means that while measuring individual transactions is useful in improving isolated processes, it falls short of providing indicators of total customer experience.

3. Lastly, CE must result in value being created for the customer and the company and a bad CE will inevitably destroy value. Value in terms of the customer could mean quicker resolution times, ease of use, better prices or a positive emotional experience. For companies value could be up-selling opportunities, increased customer loyalty, promotion of brand advocacy or fewer complaints or support calls. Therefore in designing and managing CE’s, companies should understand the value that is created for both themselves and their customers.

Therefore while defining CE is difficult and somewhat confusing, what really matters is that is that CE: is always the customer’s interpretation; considers the experience across all interactions; and creates value for both the company and the customer.


  1. As a customer service rep and a customer I have found one thing that is easy to do and always works. Know your customer. I love when I call a company and they know who I am. I hate when I deal with a company that never remembers who I am even though I spoke to the same person and it was just an hour ago. If your memory isn’t so good just take notes.


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