Defining customer experience and customer engagement

Defining customer experience and customer engagement

Customer experience and customer engagement are significant to a company’s overall success. But creating a positive customer experience and increasing customer engagement can seem like moving targets. Plus, confusion can arise as these terms are often used interchangeably. Understanding the difference is key to achieving both.

Customer experience (also known as CX) is how customers perceive their interactions with your company. The first half of the definition focuses on perception, where the experience is positive, useful, and enjoyable. Simply put, customer experience is about a moment in time and the memory of that moment.

For the customer experience to be great, every interaction along the customer journey must be exceptional, which doesn’t start and end within one department. When marketing, sales, operations, finance, and customer service departments operate independently, and are measured by different key performance indicators (KPIs), delivering a consistent positive customer experience can be a significant challenge.

Customer engagement
Customer engagement is the ongoing, value-driven, emotional relationship between the customer and the business. It’s not the memory of one moment, but the sum of all moments—This includes direct, indirect, offline, and online interactions, as well as the actions that the customer might take—posting, emailing, tweeting, liking, recommending, buying and so on.

However, all it takes is one negative experience to damage the memory of the entire customer experience and the association with a brand. This can ultimately lead to a disengaged customer, who can act on their dissatisfaction by purchasing from competitors and letting others know.

Understanding the difference between the customer experience and customer engagement is critical. Customer engagement goes beyond managing individual experiences from each touch point to include all of the ways companies motivate customers to invest in an ongoing relationship with a brand or product.

Measuring customer experience
It’s clear that the customer experience is integral to customer engagement, as a better customer experience generates better customer engagement. But how does a company measure the customer experience to identify gaps? What are the areas that need improvement?

Understand churn. Churn is natural in business, but understanding when churn happens can help you prevent churn in the future. Regularly analyze your churned customers so you know whether your churn rate is increasing or decreasing, and what action you can take in the future to prevent a similar customer from moving on.

Solicit ideas from comments on products and features. This is similar to customer feedback, but in a community forum where your customers can request new features, share new ideas about products or share problems they’re trying to resolve. Give customers the opportunity to proactively offer suggestions and actively monitor the forum and participate. If there are recurring topics, it may be a sign you may need to do additional research into product development.

Analyze support ticket trends. Review your customer or field service support tickets for recurring issues that are causing customer angst and/or are taking significant agent time to resolve.

Get the right tools. It can be daunting to create positive customer experiences across all channels and touchpoints when customer data is fragmented into silos within a confusing landscape of independent applications and disparate departments. Instead get the right tool to unify and measure your data so you can easily glean valuable insights and take informed action to improve the customer experience, boost engagement, and strengthen loyalty.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights is an easy to implement and use application to help you personalize the customer experience by unifying data, presenting a 360-degree view of the customer, and helping you discover insights to further drive a positive customer experience. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights enables cross-department alignment on every interaction a customer has with your organization—from sales and marketing to finance and operations, and customer service—creating a seamless customer experience across the organization.

Remember, building positive customer experiences that increase customer engagement isn’t magic. It’s hard work, but it’s work that pays off with strengthened customer loyalty and increased revenue. Companies that create positive customer experiences, and design and execute an effective customer engagement strategy will fast track forward, leaving the competition behind.

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LJ Tolentino

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