There has been a lot of talk about delivering great customer experiences and creating engaging spaces. But what is the difference? Why do they matter? Are the two intrinsically linked?
Customer experience is an individual’s impression of a brand as a result of all the interactions they have with a brand. It is the cumulative impact of all touch points that a consumer has with a brand. Forbes.com describes customer experience as today’s business benchmark.
Brands must recognise and define all aspects of their business around delivering great customer experiences. There are however elements that can’t be controlled that will impact on customer experience. These are consumer perceptions emotions and behaviours. All these factors influence consumer’s opinion of a brand or retailer. It is not only these intangible factors that can impact on experiences. Equipment or service failures can impact on consumer experiences demonstrating the importance of delivering quality products.
Customer engagement is a direct interaction that a consumer has with a brand and can be online or offline. Contacting a customer service department visiting a store or even mentioning the brand on social media are all interactions.
The goal for brands is to create long-term engagement (or interactions) which lead to customer loyalty and word of mouth advocacy. More brands are finding customer engagement a challenge as geographical areas widen resulting in more choice for consumers and increased competition for brands.
Engagement and Experience working together
Brands and retailers need to ensure that every touch point (both physical and digital) are optimised and working to deliver engaging and satisfying experiences. Delivering great customer experience can be a lucrative differentiating feature for brands.
Both are important in driving Customer Relationship Management and building brand relationships. The customer journey should be an integrated and enduring experience that evolves as the customer interacts with a brand.
Brands must design, develop and deliver multichannel systems that provide great customer engagements and leave customers feeling positive about that brand. This includes managing training and motivating employees; delivering captivating environments and implementing a robust brand strategy.