Customer experience was the top marketing technology investment in 2014 and the No. 1 innovation project in 2015, according to research by Gartner. In a 2013 Oracle study, more than 90% of executives said improving customer experience was among their top three priorities in the next three years and customer experience is critical to success. In a fast-paced, competitive market, monitoring and continually improving customer experience is critical to winning and retaining business and market share.
While customer satisfaction research is a piece of customer experience, it measures a very particular experience at a specific point in time—and after-the-fact. Customer experience is much broader and measures a collection of things that influence the customer, such as:
- Brand perception
- User experience
- Perceived value
Customer experience research looks at what prospects are thinking before they buy, and provides businesses with the chance to change messages, services or touch points based on the feedback. Companies that are successfully monitoring customer experience, and making changes as needed, use a combination of tools. By constantly assessing the customer experience and making ongoing adjustments, companies can dramatically improve brand perception, win rates and customer retention.
Customer experience research tools can include:
- Focus groups
- Competitor assessments
- Usability testing
- Social media monitoring
- Inbound data analytics
Sometimes customers can be satisfied, but you still aren’t meeting all of their needs. Customer satisfaction research will help you measure satisfaction, but customer experience research is how you’ll assess whether you are meeting real customer needs.
Lisa Dezzutti, President & CEO
Market Connections, Inc.