What is customer experience? What does the customer journey has to do with touchpoints? 

Sometimes even in the best companies the concept of “customer experience” is misunderstood. Or it is reduced. Specifically, there is somebody who confuses (or relegate) this notion to shopping experience (as we have already written here). On the other hand, there is somebody who assigns to the term customer experience a narrower marketing perspective: the art of selling products with more and more engaging arguments… However, customer experience is far more than this.

To understand more this concept, we follow Kerry Bodine’s hint reported in Outside In, the best seller published by Forrester Research that teaches the importance of really placing the client at the heart of our organization. So, let’s start from describing what is NOT a customer experience.

Previously, we said that it’s not a shopping experience. It would be overly simplified, even if customer experiences in our stores can be remarkable. Secondly, we stated that this term does not correspond to the customer service that is usually contacted when a problem occurs. Even in this case, it would be overly simplified, no matter how efficient and effective is our customer service. Thirdly, the customer experience is not usability. Companies like Apple or Google became famous with the concept of “user friendly” products and services. However, it’s not sufficient. Lastly, it’s not “customer marketing”, described as communication and promotion activities designed to attract new clients or to retain our established customer base.

All these factors – and many more – bundled together, make the customer experience, “the only factor really important for the success of your business”, as stated by Don Pepper and Martha Rogers in “Return on Customer”.

The Customer Journey – Forrester Research

The customer experience is “how consumers perceive the interaction with your company”. All these interactions as a whole (named also “touchpoints”) are the stages of the “customer journey” (graphically summarized in this image). It’s important to highlight that this graph is only an outline, since consumers generally relate to many different touchpoints. Most of the time, companies are not even aware or ignore several touchpoints that are the base of buyers’ judgements on products and brands. For this reason is very important to recognize and analyze all of them. The ultimate goal is to set up in every touchpoint a customer experience that satisfies each client that stops by.

Italian Customer Intelligence helps you out in mapping your customer journey. The purpose is unveiling the actual experience of your clients to offer them an outstanding customer experience.