Customer Experience Management – Toward a Global Definition Part 2

I wrote recently about a discussion thread on LinkedIn working toward a global definition for ‘Customer Experience Management’. The discussion is currently focusing on the ‘customer experience’ per se and there are some great ideas coming out; and it is certainly helping my own understanding. And I am pleased to say we have well and truly moved away from the Wikipedia version which, with all due respect to the author, I believe leaves us with no clearer idea of what a Customer Experience is.

In my last blog piece I proposed the following definition:

“Customer Experience is a customer’s internal representation of all interactions and contacts with a supplier of goods or services.”

Thanks to the discussion I have realised that this is probably more a definition of reputation than of the customer experience. I have abandoned that version.

The latest suggestion from the discussion group is:

“Customer Experience is defined as the perception and corresponding emotions customers have of their interactions with an organization and all related parties.”

This seems to be favourite for the final version but I just cannot resist tweaking and, for what they are worth, here are my thoughts.

The phrase ‘perception and corresponding emotions’ works for me but I think that by changing it to “the customer’s perception of, and emotional response to,” focuses the reader’s mind on the fact that the customer is having a reaction (emotional response) to what you, as the organisation, are doing. A subtle point I know and perhaps pedantic but I think it is worth exploring.

I am also not sure about ‘and all related parties’. I am wondering if that is too general. I have proposed instead ‘and agents’ because an agent has a particular relationship with the organisation whereas ‘all related parties’ could be some random person over whom the organisation has little or no control; and on the basis that we are going to be managing the factors that impact upon the experience that will obviously not do

My slightly re-worked definition then is:

Customer Experience is defined as the customer’s perception of, and emotional response to, their interactions with an organization and its agents.

I think that is quite neat and stream-lined but then I am biased 🙂 : I’ll now wait to see what kind of response, if any, I receive from the group. Naturally, since we have not finished defining the ‘customer experience’, we have not yet tackled ‘customer experience management’. However I have already developed my own thoughts on that since Part 1 of this series and I’ll share those in my next piece on this subject (Part 3).

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2 thoughts on “Customer Experience Management – Toward a Global Definition Part 2

  1. “Customer Experience is defined as the customer’s perception of, and emotional response to, their interactions with an organization and its agents.”

    The thing that makes me pause a bit with this definition is the use of the singular: “the customer’s perception.” In general, any one customer’s reaction could be anomalous, outside of a standard deviation. Could we use a pluralized version of this? As in: “customers’ broad perception of, and emotional responses to, their interactions…” The use of the plural also allows for the plural pronoun “Their.”
    Thoughts?

    1. Thank you for your comment Brian: it is a valid point. My take was that we have to talk about an individual’s experience because that is all there is: while it is possible to have a group experience each individual will have their own subjective version of that experience.

      However, since writing this post my thoughts have circled back to the Temkin definition which does indeed refer to the plural viz: “Customer Experience is defined as the perception [singular] that customers have of their interactions with an organization.”

      Your comment has highlighted an inconsistency in my thinking. Given my first statement, I have to ask, how can there be a single perception that customers (plural) have’? So to make sense, according to my argument, the definition should be in the singular: “Customer Experience is defined as the perception that a customer has of their* interactions with an organization.”

      We would then need to qualify what we mean by a customer and that would include a profile of the ideal customer in order to account for the anomalies. How does that look?

      * I believe the plural ‘their’ is allowed with a third person singular indefinite antecedent (I looked it up:) ).

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