3 Components of the Customer Experience You Should Know
The concept of customer experience has become one of the main focuses of customer-facing teams, and for good reason. The customer experience is at the forefront of everything a company does for its customers, whether it's the products and services they provide or the simple, everyday interactions between them.
Concepts like customer-centricity and being customer-first are now at the forefront of a pioneering spirit in customer support and related fields, yet many companies are still falling behind. Improving the customer experience can have a significant impact on customer retention, profitability, and growth. So why is there still hesitancy, what gives?
For businesses that provide B2B customer support, there is often an underlying sense of hesitant confusion of why exactly they should even care about customer experience, after all their customers are other businesses and not single individuals. This conception couldn't be more wrong. Every customer needs a customer-centric experience, and if one business isn't providing that for them, they're sure to find one that does.
Without a doubt, customer experience absolutely does matter in the B2B space – in many cases even more so than in B2C. In B2B your customers are bigger and require much more to ensure they have an experience that maintains them as a customer. This means a business needs to provide them great customer support and an ideal customer success program. If a business can work to ensure that customers are finding success and growth by using their products, then the customer experience is going to be an ideal one.
According to Temkin's survey of over 10,000 people in the US, they determined the role that emotion plays for customer loyalty (see the full infographic here).
Temkin identifies 3 components of customer experience as follows:
Success – Was the interaction successful, as perceived by the customer, were they able to accomplish what they wanted to do?
Effort – How much effort did the customer have to personally put forth in the interaction, and how easy was it to interact with the company?
Emotion – What was the emotional outcome, how did the customer feel during the interaction? Answers can range from "upset" to "delighted".
Temkin digs into the 3 components of customer experience to determine the importance of each in customers' overall perception of a company, their loyalty, and their likeliness to expand their purchase of products and services.
It turns out that the emotional context of customer interaction has a stronger impact on customer loyalty and repeat purchases than either success or effort, though to be a perfectly straight shooter, that is not all that surprising. Humans are extremely emotional animals, and if it isn't already obvious, we as a species tend to shoot for "what feels right" first and foremost.
If you think about it this way, success is about the result of an interaction and effort is nothing more than how much a business tries in their support endeavors with a customer. But "emotion" boils down to how the customer support relationship feels for the respective customer. Does that sound like some hokey nonsense that isn't even measurable? Well it's anything but.
Businesses measure the emotional impact of their customer relationships all the time, they just might not notice it, or more often, not put enough credence to it or effort into it. Ever heard of CSAT? That's at it's core a data point for how a business makes a customer feel. Going even further, there are more effective ways to pick up on customer sentiment and emotion, like a Customer Distress Index.
Luckily it's pretty easy to make customers feel happy and good about your service – at least in theory. For one, it can be rather hard to do if your customer service platform is outright getting in your way. And then again, if a team using great customer support software fails to make the customer feel heard or makes them feel angry, then even the best customer support software can't save that relationship on its own. Colin Shaw, founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, explains how important the memory of an experience is in his post "Why the Customer Experience Doesn't Create Loyalty."
How the customer feels when they interact with a B2B business is the ultimate deciding factor in how much business they are going to earn.