What is Customer Experience (CX) and Why it’s Important

Deanne Stock

4 min read

Jun 2, 2021

What is Customer Experience (CX) and Why it’s Important

It’s not a secret that consumers are looking at their relationships with companies differently than before. Customers are expecting more from companies they work with, not only from a service perspective but from a relationship one as well. That means that your company needs to provide not just the best of what you do, but the best overall experience as well. 

In the digital space, that means not only does your digital product have to look great and work well, but it means that you have to consider the overall experience your user will have with your app. That’s where Customer Experience (CX) comes into the picture. But what exactly is Customer Experience? 

Building Relationships that Matter

The old way of thinking had us looking at each customer interaction as a separate entity and judging the value of that point of contact on its own. The major downside of that approach is that it’s impossible to see beyond one experience or another. That leads to a very limited view of both how your customer interacts with your product and your product itself. Customer Experience aims to change that by looking at your users from a holistic viewpoint. 

So, in essence, Customer Experience is the relationship a person builds with your company over time. The keyword being “build,” since this isn’t something that happens overnight. Because of that, it’s best to think about Customer Experience at three points—A Single Interaction, The Beginning of the Journey, and A Lifetime Relationship.

A Single Interaction

The interesting thing about Customer Experience thinking is that all that came before is still vitally important—it’s just not the end goal anymore. The single interaction is a perfect example of that. Basically, a single interaction is an experience that’s limited to a specific task, system, or device. It’s logging into an app, ordering your lunch, or completing a form for work. This is frequently called the User Experience (UX).

These are all vitally important to the day-to-day users of your app and if they don’t work, then your digital product suffers. But we can’t rely on them to tell us the whole story. 

The Customer Journey

The Customer Journey begins to piece together all the single interactions to begin building out a more complete picture. So, the user’s goal is typically more complex than a single interaction and will likely span multiple tasks and even several systems or devices. More often than not, the Customer Journey is spread out over time. 

The goal of Customer Experience in this regard is to begin to draw a line between all these interactions so we can get a more complete picture of the user and their overall experience. 

A Lifetime Relationship

Once you have a better understanding of your customer, their interactions, and journey, then you can begin to get a sense of what their relationship with your digital product looks like over the lifetime of their time using your product. So, every interaction your customer has had with your company and your app from the first download to the most recent form fill. 

By its nature, this is a dynamic and ever-evolving look at the customer. There will always be new interactions to consider and to inform your approach to both your users and your digital product. And, ultimately, that’s the goal—to get as complete a picture of how your customer uses your app as possible so you can make the best decisions for both their experience and your bottom line. 

Why does Customer Experience matter?

In short, Customer Experience matters because it can be the difference between a digital product that works and one that doesn’t. 

Not that long ago you could create a great-looking app full of amazing functionality and features and then release it into the world, never to think of it again. Now, the expectation is that companies provide an amazing digital experience, which means you have to look beyond the performance and UI/UX of your app to learn the how and why behind the customers using your app. 

So, why does Customer Experience matter? It matters because there is so much to learn from your users that can better inform not just how to best meet their needs but to attract even more users down the road. Want to learn more? Read about the five principles of customer experience. 

Your users are talking about you. It’s time to start listening. 

Here at the Ranch, we take a measured and informed approach to Customer Experience. Since there are often multiple ways of solving a challenge, we use an iterative approach of proven CX strategies to help you validate your assumptions or offer a new path to success. 

Are you ready to start listening to your users? Check out our blog post on the four things you must look out for in a customer experience (CX) agency or reach out to us and we’ll get started


Zack Simon

Reviewer Big Nerd Ranch

Zack is an Experience Director on the Big Nerd Ranch design team and has worked on products for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 100s. Zack is passionate about customer experience strategy, helping designers grow in their career, and sharpening consulting and delivery practices.

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