On any given day, it would be unusual not to see a LinkedIn post discussing customer experience or hearing a talk where innovation is not mentioned. These concepts have increasingly greater impact on companies and are permeating both B2C and B2B sectors.
Today I would like to try to explain both terms, given my recent certification in Customer Experience Management by IZO and taking advantage of people’s innovative spirit in all the IVC teams I work with. For starters, I will define certain ideas that allow us to better understand the variables that affect customers and which every company must manage
Customer Experience (CX): is the sum of all perceptions and feelings that customers experience when interacting with service providers or products. It is affected by the point of sale — whether a brick-and-mortar or digital e-commerce outlet — Sales, Marketing and even Finance, because the invoice is also part of CX.
CX Management: understood as the science and art of directing the experience with the customer across all contact points to maximise the value offered to customers through a complete value proposition, including, in addition to products or services, all previous and subsequent interactions in the buying process.
Customer Care vs. Customer Experience: while customer care refers to an organisational function, such as the marketing and sales which manage a subset of customer interactions, CX is connections that companies make with their customers across all functions and contact points. The difference is very clear in these examples:
The turnaround time for addressing a customer issue is customer care. However, identifying why the client has had such an issue and how often this kind of problems happens with the company is CX.
A waiter’s efficiency, speed and friendliness when serving a table fall under customer care. However, the environment, cleanliness, decor, menu variety, music, prices and customer sensations while dining are all part of CX.
It is clear that to generate sales/affinity nowadays showing customer care is not enough. There is also no doubt that customer experience becomes essential because it involves the emotions and feelings that create memories and influences decision making, i.e., they act as triggers to make a selection or purchase and to generate BUSINESS (which has an impact on the economic performance of your company). Therefore, investing in managing CX in organisations is indispensable.
Relationship between CX and innovation
What do experiences have to do with innovation? A lot. There are many definitions of innovation from various disciplines: technical or technological, scientific, social, economic or even fiscal (designed to boost tax deductions). By collating them all, we can say that innovation is creativity applied successfully in a way that adds value.
In our White Paper "What we love" we also mention that innovation entails progress. Download our document to better understand this idea:
Innovation can be classified by its level of disruption or its area of application: products, service/process and business models/organisations. However, most people see innovation as something related to a technology, laboratory or R&D. While this hard innovation (highly resource-intensive) is much needed in our society, so is another kind of innovation called open innovation.
This type goes beyond the internal resources of an organisation and reaches all participants in the ecosystem where the company operates — its market and society to be precise. Innovation can be present throughout the client’s life, much like CX. When we generate customer experiences during a customer’s journey — the path of interactions and elements with which a person comes into contact or shows interest in our product, service or solution — we reach all areas where we can be present in the client's life. In all of these cases we have many more opportunities for innovation and a lower cost in time and money than with hard innovation.
Customer experience is by nature multi-stakeholder. Open innovation includes all players involved in providing CX within the innovation process. This ranges from strategy, communication and culture to employee experience.
How is the process of innovation in customer experience?
Identifying potential barriers.
Structuring a process or methodology around a target and advancing step by step to reach it.
This challenge must be well described through a mental map such as Business Model Canvas, Jobs to be done, "Blue Oceans" and other tools.
Redefining boundaries and scenarios where new opportunity areas will be created.
Generating new solutions and innovating the experience through innovation roadmaps.
Ensuring that the experience is successful in spite of conditions — given that the experience itself is intangible — using specific mapping methodologies.
Begin implementing a pilot within the organisation.
At IVC we have experience innovating both inside and outside the company helping our clients improve their customers’ experience. How about you? How do you manage customer experience and innovation?
More articles about B2B Business Development:
Approaches for a B2B Brand Experience Strategy
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