There are two buzz-terms that are floating around that seem to be used indiscriminately by people who want to talk the talk, but have no idea how to walk the walk. These two terms are user experience and customer experience. They can be one and the same if you are talking about interaction with a web site, but they can also comprise two entirely different things if you are talking about a brick and mortar business or something that is both offline and online.
We will talk about both terms as if the business we are discussing is a physical business with an internet component. Customer experience starts when someone hears your name or knows your URL address. That’s when your relationship with that customer begins, or doesn’t begin as the case may be. Your brand reputation may precede any contact with that individual and they may have a predisposition to liking your company and its products, or not liking them depending on the perception of your brand, what they may have heard about your company or what a friend might have told them. So really, experience starts before you even think it does.
What about if your website is slow to load? That’s bad. Bad enough that the user might not want to come back to your site or might click off to a competitor’s site. You might have lost that particular customer for good. And don’t just think in terms of a customer sitting in their home and searching for you. A customer might actually be in your place of business and want to look up something online while they are there. In that case, your infrastructure better support the upload speed and navigation that they are looking for or else their customer experience might not be the best. A frustrated prospect usually doesn’t become a lifelong customer. Too many negative checkmarks next to your company’s name. So if you can, insist that your landlord upgrade your network cabling so that your internet service provider can actually deliver the bandwidth and speed that they promise to you. That will be the beginning of a positive customer experience and perhaps the beginning of a super long relationship with your business.