By Elliot Shoniwa.

According to respected Research and Business Advisory Consultancy firm Gartner (2019), Customer Experience Management (CX) “is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations, leading to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy”.

CX goes beyond Customer Relationship Management (CRM) by tracking customer experiences at every touchpoint with the organisation.

Furthermore, CX seeks to understand current transactions and their connection to previous encounters and how best to make future ones memorable. Another broader definition of customer experience is given by Gupta and Vajic (2000) who state that “an experience occurs when a customer has any sensation or knowledge acquisition resulting from some level of interaction with different elements of a context created by the service provider”. In simple terms Abbott defines an experience as the transformation of products into value as perceived by the customer.

As this transformation occurs emotive responses associated with the product or service consumption occur. These emotions underline the experience that the consumer goes through which can be either positive or negative.

CX is an emerging concept that has gained a lot of prominence in many sectors though the retail sector embraced this concept much earlier than most sectors. It has been observed that the “experience” factor in this ecosystem comprises the ambience of the environment in which the service is provided, for example a restaurant.

The whole customer purchase journey involves contact with the firm or its representatives, product or service consumption and all the touch points contribute to the experience, (Berry et al., 2002, Lemon and Verhoef, 2016). Katherine & Verhoef (2016) define CEM from a strategic as well as holistic angle focusing on organisational design, measuring and monitoring the customer experience so that the whole organisation is wired for total customer satisfaction.

This approach requires customer experience management matters to be discussed in the highest levels of any organisation, which is the boardroom. The corporate vision and top management support are a strategic imperative in implementing a superior customer experience culture.