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Customer Experience (CX): What is it and how to improve it

How to realise a good Customer Experience strategy and which were the best brands in 2020.

CX is a determining factor for a brand: without a good strategy the customer experience would be compromised, reducing satisfaction and, consequently, loyalty.

A satisfied client is, in fact, the best advertising for a brand and for this reason it’s necessary to invest in a successful strategy. 

But what are the elements that characterise the Customer Experience? 

From Customer Journey to Customer Experience 

To achieve a good Customer Experience is essential to analyse the Customer Journey, that is the path that the client carries out within the relationship with the company, from the birth of the need, to the purchase of the product/service.

This “journey” consists of five key sequential moments:

  1. Awareness: once revealed the need, the consumer is aware that he needs to find someone who can achieve it;

  2. Familiarity: the product becomes familiar to the consumer and, consequently, recognisable;

  3. Consideration: the consumer needs to choose between different brands and starts to inquire;

  4. Purchase: it is the transformation of need into purchase;

  5. Loyalty: the research of customer loyalty 

Although the steps remain unchanged, the customer profile is constantly changing and, in order to the route to reach the last stage, additional resources must be put in place. 

Customer satisfaction, in fact, plays an increasingly important role and brands invest in creation of a path to make customer happy.

How? Focusing on Customer Experience, which must be always more precise and punctual.


KPMG research

Every year in Italy the research related to “Excellence in the Customer Experience” is carried out by the KPMG Customer Experience Excellence Centre.

The result is a survey of leading companies in CX and their main characteristics, through the creation of case studies from which each brand can draw inspiration to implement its strategy.

The 2020 analysis reflects not only the evolution of CX within companies, but also highlights how brands have reacted to the Covid-19 emergency and how this has affected the customer experience.

The pandemic has changed the figure of the consumer, who now pays attention to new elements: the perception of safety, ethics, compliance with the measures to protect and contain the virus, in addition to a greater propensity to buy quality goods.

Directly linked to CX is the Employee Experience, another aspect that has changed during 2020 and led many companies to rearrange internally and devise new ways of working.

Only those companies that have been able to initiate this change have been able to maintain a strong brand that is appealing to customers.

Customer Experience meaning and advantages 

What is Customer Experience? “Customer Experience is the sum of the experiences, sensations, emotions and memories that a client develops in the interaction with the brand. Establish memorable shopping experience, that remain etched in the consumer’s mind and that influence his future behavior, it means for brands to develop a sustainable competitive advantage” (L’Eccellenza nella Customer Experience 2020).

A well-structured CX allows you to offer the consumer a real experience within the company, built on his needs and necessity.

Being in fact a multi-channel strategy, a good Customer Experience will lead to an improvement in various aspects, such as customer retention, that will bring the client to establish a trust relationship with the brand.

Loyalty is closely linked to brand reputation, that is the set of perceptions, assessments and expectations towards a company, that will improve along with customer satisfaction and lead him to choose to turn to the brand again in the future.

A strategy focused on these aspects will bring different advantages such as growth of the purchases, decrease in customer management costs, increase in probability for related purchases.

The Six Pillars

To better understand the research results and to help brands analyse their value and any gaps in CX management, six parameters are established, the “Six Pillars“:

  1. Integrity: A brand that displays integrity generates trust. Trust can be understood both as the company’s ability to deal with a difficult situation, and as the consistency of the individual actions of the staff who, when added together, contribute to creating the brand idea.

  2. Resolution: one of the most relevant aspects of 2020 which, due to the pandemic, made problem-solving skills even more necessary, reducing the time available and adding the unknown factor of an unprecedented global situation.

  3. Expectations: It is important to understand customer expectations and, when possible, to exceed them.

  4. Empathy: to understand the customer’s needs it is necessary to know how to put oneself “in his shoes”, especially in a historical period of difficulty and uncertainty.

  5. Personalisation: offering products and services tailored to customer needs allows for an experience for the customer that makes them feel understood and satisfied.

  6. Time and Commitment: it is not limited to reducing response times to requests but is made up of a whole series of aspects that make the process more fluid, such as speeding up bureaucratic aspects and offering alternatives to the customer. 

These pillars represent the “six fundamental dimensions through which a customer judges the interaction with a brand” and it is important for companies to analyse them and implement their strategy based on them.


Global Customer Experience: some considerations

The data that emerged in the KPMG research show how the pandemic has led to an average global increase of 3% in Customer Experience Excellence.   

With regard to CX, the Logistics sector reported the greatest increase in performance (+ 6%) and the Non-Grocery Retail sector recorded the best performance.

As for customers, on the other hand, 90% are willing to pay more by turning to ethical brands and 56% say they pay attention to social and environmental policies before making a purchase.

Among the leading brands that reported the best CX of 2020, 12 are in the Financial Services sector: this demonstrates how even a “traditional” service can be created in an innovative way, always focused on the customer and his experience, focusing on ethical objectives and sustainability.

More generally, we can observe that the majority of companies are newly established, implementing flexible policies from scratch and investing in digital tools.

The importance of the CX

Customer satisfaction is one of the crucial aspects for the success of the customer journey and, for this to happen, it is necessary for the brand to invest in CX.

A good customer experience, in fact, is not only aimed at purchasing, but allows you to establish a loyalty process that will lead the customer to contact the company again in case of need, also making him a promoter of the brand itself.

Find out more:

How to improve Customer Service with Knowledge Management

Boost your Customer Service Helpdesk with Knowledge Management

Source: KPMG L’Eccellenza nella Customer Experience 2020