Customer experience is one of the factors that are going to determine the future of your company. Whether or not your activity is more or less user-oriented, your business is always going to target people (even if you work with other companies, there are people working in them, at least until robots do all the work for us…). This is the main reason why offering a positive customer experience can mean the difference between success and failure.

Moreover, it is a concept that has been gaining popularity during the last years. If there are so many companies worried about it and willing to change it, are you sure you want to fall behind?

For starters, let’s get to know better what customer experience is and why you should take care of it like it was the most precious thing you own.

What is Customer Experience?

Here’s a definition: customer experience is the combination of feelings and sensations a customer is left with after interacting with a company, in a rational and psychological sense as well as physically and emotionally speaking.

Customer experience is not just an impression that has an effect in the exact moment in which it is experienced, but it also leaves an imprint in the user, thus being able to affect their behavior in the future. A bad customer experience will leave negative memories, which will probably make them stop using your products or services very soon (or even immediately); however, a good customer experience will generate positive sensations and opinions towards the company, which may lead to the client’s fidelity, even expanding it throughout the years, especially if it is reinforced by new positive customer experiences over time.

This can be illustrated with a very simple example. Let’s suppose that a customer from a telephone company has an issue with their internet connection first time in the morning. Aiming to solve it, they contact the company’s customer service. After waiting for 10 minutes while listening to a nice melody (yes, you know the melody, THAT melody), a very apathetic voice talks to them through the receiver with the biggest lack of interest, just to tell them to wait for another 10 minutes. After a fair amount of wasted time, the voice tells them that it isn’t a problem related to the company’s service but a problem of the user’s own computer.

After calling his brother-in-law, who’s a computer technician, and trying to solve – unsuccessfully – the alleged problem with their computer, the customer calls the company again. This time a different operator picks up the phone, and they inform the customer that a problem in the network occurred earlier in the morning, which is already being dealt with by the company’s technicians. Finally, after a whole day with no Internet, the user recovers the connection at 10 pm.

What do you think about this customer experience? What is your honest opinion about it? If you are anything like the regular user, you will agree it is, without any doubt, a total disaster. First of all, the user had to suffer, not only an alarming lack of interest during their first call, but also a prominent lack of information, be it due to the customer service hiding it out on purpose, or to the operator not being informed about it at all. Secondly, the issue has been solved too slowly. It was too little, too late. The user has lost an entire day of Internet connection, maybe they have lost a whole day of work, and they may have even completely lost their patience.

The user is likely to unsubscribe at that exact moment, but even if they do not do so, such a negative customer experience will, undoubtedly, make those ads in which the competence offers so many discounts, packs and gifts, look much more seductive. Over time, this kind of experience – and even more if it happens again- causes the loss of the client, probably forever, because people keep this kind of events in their memory.

And that’s not the only consequence: this bad experience will not only make the customer leave, but it could make many other potential customers avoid getting the company’s services. Remember that the customers have friends, acquaintances, relatives, social networks… Do you really want them to tell everybody around them all the bad experiences they had with your company?

Customer experience isn’t limited to the answer they could receive from customer service. It also includes any kind of interaction with your business, like their first contact with your company’s marketing, their shopping experience, the use of your product or service, and even their cancellation of the service or the attempts to cancel it.The advertising that the customer will see of your products, the simplicity or complexity that they will perceive when being explained how your services work, the satisfaction they experiment when using them… All that is part of the customer experience, just like the opinions and feelings that the user will host towards your company.

Such is the importance of customer experience that in the modern company it has become an element on which you can create your own strategy to overcome your competence. Many businesses don’t just give a good customer service from a general or intuitive point of view (“serving and treating them well”), but they also try to design a series of tactics so that interactions with the user can influence the opinions they have about the company, increasing their satisfaction and fidelity, and even causing them to speak in a positive way of the company in their day-to-day life’s environment. Customer experience is considered to be so important, that in the last years, some associations have emerged to dedicate their activity to study the customer experience phenomenon and to the dissemination of the different aspects that it encompasses.

Is it any clearer now what customer experience is and why it can be very important for your business? We hope so. However, you will find out some ways to improve the customer experience of your own users in the upcoming posts.