The Customer Experience Equation: CX = (PR – E)
Customer experience, also known as CX, is a customer’s holistic perception of their experience with a business or brand. For the mathematicians among us, it can be reduced to a basic equation, Customer Experience = Perceived Reality – Expectations. In other words, if Perceived Reality is greater than Expectations, then the Customer Experience is positive.
In order to deliver an enhanced customer experience, brands must understand the journey they are intentionally or unintentionally creating.
A Lifetime of Exchanges
The customer experience for businesses and brands is built over different stages of the customer journey and begins the second the customer engages in their first interaction.
This first interaction takes place in the awareness stage when the customer becomes aware of the brand. Next, the customer moves through the stages of consideration, decision, retention, and advocacy. The interactions that take place in these stages can be as short and simple as a customer visiting a website or as long and involved as a customer visiting a store and completing a purchase.
The customer journey encompasses all the touchpoints a customer has with a brand, but it’s how the customer feels or perceives the whole series of interactions that produces their subjective customer experience. The customer journey serves as a roadmap towards a product, service, or offering; and the experience occurs while customers navigate through that roadmap. Take Olive and Rory for example:
Olive and Rory decide to go to a local restaurant for dinner. Although Olive and Rory will experience their own customer journey, they may be influenced by one another as they encounter the following interactions together:
- Being greeted by the hostess
- Eating their food
- Chatting with the chef who came to see how their food was
These interactions produced their customer experience. In this case, both of their customer experiences were positive. Although the hostess was rude, their food was outstanding, and the chef stayed and chatted with them for nearly 20 minutes. Customers do not base their experience and satisfaction on individual interactions but rather on the sum of all those interactions.
CX is recognized as one of the key brand differentiators of the future; so, it’s important to understand your customer’s journey and ultimately their customer experience. When developing and/or refining your customer experience, it’s critical to look at the elements that influence it.