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A great customer experience happens where great service takes place.

For us to be able to deliver exceptional customer experiences, it’s essential that we correctly understand the nature of customer experience, customer service, and customers themselves.

Michal Falcon who blogs about customer experience growing profits and people, recently outlined the 7 most important words or terms you must understand to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Here’s my take on what it means to offer customer service, and how I connect with customers.

The 7 Most Important Words in Customer Experience

Customer Experience Words

Customer Experience

Customer experience is the journey your customers take working with you. It’s the collection of systems and processes that ultimately (hopefully) deliver to customers what they set out to receive from your organization.

Customer experience itself is independent of you. It’s ultimately what your customers think and feel about working with you. All you control are the processes, people, and functions of the plan. Properly delivered and exceeding a customer’s expectation results in a great customer experience.

Customer Service

Customer service is the foundation to any customer experience program. Every words, action, or behavior, in essence, everything that gets presented to the customer is customer service.

Too often limited to the call center, customer service includes operations, marketing, sales, development. Any component of your organization that has a direct or indirect impact on your customer shares the responsibility for customer service.

Customer Experience Centricity

Customer centricity is the degree to which your organization considers the customer in the decisions and actions taken by the organization.

Customer centric isn’t black and white, it’s a matter of degrees. Do we think about the customer experience? Do we act in behalf of the customer? Do we deliver considering the needs and wants of customers?

Customer Experience Corridor

We live in a digital age of customer experience. Customer experience begins long before a customer sets foot in your store or before you ever get that first phone call. Each point where an existing customers or potential future customer interacts with you, your organization, or your system is a touch point of customer experience. It’s more than just being willing to smile and being polite.

The customer experience corridor is the path a customer takes through the sale process. Everything they see, hear, touch, smell, taste, or in the digitally sense is either actively driving them towards your customer sale goal or adding to their hesitation and potential drop-out.

Customer Lifetime Value

You’ve heard that is costs X times more to gain a new customer than to keep an existing customer (and keep them buying). So why is the advertising and marketing business so big, yet we barely hear anything about customer retention and selling to your customer base? Are the marketers winning against the customer experience leaders?

We often have a myopic view of a customer interaction and only see the sale that’s right in front of our nose. We oversell, under-deliver, and abandon the customer as soon as the sale is done. Was it REALLY worth it? How much more could you have made if you had taken a little more time to make sure that the customer left wanting to buy again? How much would that save you in the long run?

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

It’s often called the ultimate customer loyalty metric. This involves math, spreadsheets, surveys, lots of time and data. But here’s the ultimate question you HAVE to be always ready to answer.

  • Will a customer REALLY refer someone to you?

NPS is controversial. It all comes down to the question of being able to accurately predict your current customer loyalty rates. Whether or not it’s the more accurate method, the question behind it all is the key. Are you living up to your service mission? Are you making such an impression that people buy from you again and again? When the topic of what you offer comes up, are you recommended? Are you ENTHUSIASTICALLY recommended?

Organic Customer Growth

Marketing budgets are like our waistlines. Without careful, thoughtful attention, and constant hard work and sincere effort, they’ll continue to grow. And not by a little bit.

What we ultimately want to create is a process, system, and an organization is able to bring in customers without having to spend the $$$ marketing dollars. Marketers, please turn away now…I was once told that marketing is the price you pay for not being remarkable. A bit harsh? Yes, but given the choice of getting customers and spending millions or getting customers and spending nothing, how many organizations wouldn’t choose the latter.

Customer experience CAN generate that organic growth, the growth that comes from being just plain great.

There you have it! Understand the nature of the 7 key terms of customer experience and you’ll understand customer experience. These terms of the tools you’ll use to work with executives, business leaders, engineers, and developers to help them understand the impact each decision has on the customer process. It’s not just about making people happy and making people angry.

Customer experience is as details as engineering project. It requires the precision and calculation of your typical financial analysis. It will take architecting and team work like your development project.

These terms are the essentials you HAVE to know in order to excel in customer experience and master working with customers.