Customer experience (CX) is a totality of cognitive, affective, sensory, and behavioral consumer responses during all stages of the consumption process including pre-purchase, consumption, and post-purchase stages. Pine and Gilmore described the experience economy as the next level after commodities, goods, and services with memorable events as the final business product. Four realms of experience include esthetic, escapist, entertainment, and educational components.
Different dimensions of customer experience include senses, emotions, feelings, perceptions, cognitive evaluations, involvement, memories, as well as spiritual components, and behavioral intentions. The pre-consumption anticipation experience can be described as the amount of pleasure or displeasure received from savoring future events, while the remembered experience is related to a recollection of memories about previous events and experiences of a product or service.
Bad customer experience is primarily caused by:
- Long wait times
- Employees who do not understand customer needs
- Unresolved issues/questions
- Too much automation/not enough of a human touch
- Service that is not personalized
- Rude/Angry employees
Product orientation: Companies just manufacture goods and offer them the best way possible.
Market orientation: Some consideration on customer needs and segmentation arises, developing different marketing mix bundles for each one.
Customer experience: Adding to the other two factors some recognition of the importance of providing an emotionally positive experience to customers.
Authenticity: This is the top maturity stage of companies. Products and service emerge from real soul of brand and connect naturally and on long term sustainable basis with clients and other stakeholders.
Customer experience management
Customer experience management (CEM or CXM) is the process that companies use to oversee and track all interactions with a customer during their relationship. This involves the strategy of building around the needs of individual customers. According to Jeananne Rae, companies are realizing that “building great consumer experiences is a complex enterprise, involving strategy, integration of technology, orchestrating business models, brand management and CEO commitment.”
Managing the communication
The classical linear communication model includes having one sender or source sending out a message that goes through the media (television, magazines) then to the receiver. The classical linear model is a form of mass marketing which targets a large number of people where only a few may be customers; this is a form non-personal communication. The adjusted model shows the source sending a message either to the media or directly to an opinion leader/s and/or opinion former (Model, actress, credible source, trusted figure in society, YouTuber/reviewer), which send a decoded message to the receiver. The adjusted model is a form of interpersonal communication where feedback is almost instantaneous with receiving the message. The adjusted model means that there are many more platforms of marketing with the use of social media, which connects people with more touchpoints. Marketers use digital experience to enhance the customer experience. Enhancing digital experiences influences changes to the CEM, the customer journey map and IMC. The adjusted model allows marketers to communicate a message designed specifically for the ‘followers’ of the particular opinion leader or opinion former, sending a personalised message and creating a digital experience.
Persuasion techniques are used when trying to send a message in order for an experience to take place. Marcom Projects (2007) came up with five mind shapers to show how humans view things. The five mind shapers of persuasion include:
- Frames: only showing what they want you to see (a paid ad post)
- Setting and context: The surrounding objects of items for sale
- Filters: Previous beliefs that shape thoughts after an interaction
- Social influence: How behaviours of others impact us
- Belief (placebo effect): The expectation
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is the “establishment, development, maintenance and optimization of long-term mutually valuable relationships between consumers and organizations”. The official definition of CRM by the Customer Relationship Management Research Center is “a strategy used to learn more about the customers need and behaviours in order to develop stronger relationships with them”. The purpose of this strategy is to change the approach to customers and improving the experience for the consumer by making the supplier more aware of their buying habits and frequencies.
The D4 Company Analysis is an audit tool that considers the four aspects of strategy, people, technology and processes in the design of a CRM strategy. The analysis includes four main steps.
- “Define the existing customer relationship management processes within the company.
- Determine the perceptions of how the company manages their customer relationships, both internally and externally.
- Design the ideal customer relationship management solutions relative to the company or industry.
- Deliver a strategy for the implementation of the recommendations based on the findings”.