What does customer experience mean?

Companies of all sizes across all industries have been hearing a lot about customer experience (CX) and how it can help them scale their growth by creating a competitive differentiator within their market. But what does customer experience mean?

Let’s start with what it’s not. Customer experience is not the same thing as customer service.

Customer service helps customers answer a specific question or resolve a distinct issue. Examples of customer service include helping a customer find the mayonnaise on aisle seven of your grocery store, confirming the dimensions of a dresser before the customer purchases online, or helping a customer locate the license key for a recently downloaded piece of software. Customer service is reactive, kicking in when a customer needs something and asks for help, and it focuses on resolving one problem at a time.

In comparison, customer experience is how a customer feels about your organization based on their ever-growing interactions with your organization. Unlike customer service, customer experience can and should be proactive. And it should consider the entire journey from the first time the customer discovered your brand to their most recent purchase.

The two aspects of customer experience.

Based on the above explanation of what customer experience means, there are two factors that shape it: interactions and perceptions.

Customer interactions are the collection of experiences a customer has at key touchpoints throughout the buyer’s journey like walking into your store, searching for a product on your website, downloading an app, or getting an answer from a customer service representative through live chat.

A customer’s perception is how they feel about your brand after each interaction. Are they surprised and delighted, frustrated, confused, or feeling some other emotion?

So customer experience means how a customer feels about your company based upon the interactions he or she has over the course of the relationship with your brand. And to successfully design and implement fantastic customer experiences, you must certainly map the buyer journey and document key touchpoints. But it is equally important to fully understand the customer’s perception.

Building great customer experiences.

Because a customer’s perception of your organization is based on a collective set of experiences, it’s important that each touchpoint is a positive interaction. Otherwise, subpar interactions can greatly diminish a customer’s perception of your brand.

Consider this example: you’re enjoying a fabulous dinner at a new restaurant with your significant other. The menu is creative, the service is outstanding, and the meal is deliciously prepared. But when you use the restroom, it’s filthy and the soap dispenser is empty. That one negative interaction could prevent you from ever returning for another meal.

How NICE can help you deliver great customer experiences.

From online shopping and purchasing to customer service, customers continue to gravitate to digital channels. So establishing an omnichannel customer experience can be a competitive differentiator. Learn more about how NICE CXone's My Agent eXperience - MAX, a digital-first, omnichannel agent interface can help you deliver world-class customer experiences.

Any digital channel

Your customers are trying to reach you for service on digital channels – even if you’re not there yet. How many SMS text messages go to your call center phone number with no response? Who’s trying to find you on Facebook, Twitter, or WhatsApp and not finding you? Now with CXone it is easy to provide digital-first omnichannel service in all the channels your customers expect.

  • Personalized digital interactions: deliver native experiences in each of 30+ messaging channels, such as rich media, emojis, and other collaboration tools.
  • Simple to Activate: pre-integrated channels make it easy to offer to customers and agents.
  • Easy to Say “Yes”: simple packaging removes barriers to offering all channels to customers and agents.
CXone digital channel
Empowered agents

CXone empowers all your agents to deliver a true digital-first omnichannel customer experience by simultaneously combining all customer interactions in one intelligent inbox across multiple digital channels and voice for agents to select ("pull"), while dynamically prioritizing the most time-sensitive or real-time interactions according to service levels ("push"). All delivered in a single application – complete with full customer context, journey history, and sentiment.

  • Single Interface: one inbox for all digital messaging and real-time (voice/chat) channels – retaining native experience of each messaging platform.
  • Agents in Control: ‘pulling’ work in natural flow, while dynamic prioritization maintains SLAs – and prevents ‘cherry picking’.
  • Customer Card: full customer context, journey and conversation history, plus sentiment.
Holistic management

With CXone, omnichannel interactions are managed holistically, from agents to supervisors and beyond. Integrated workforce optimization, analytics, automation and artificial intelligence across digital and voice interactions ensure complete management across contact center operations.

Related resources
Customer Stories

Advanced Chat and Cobrowse for ESCI (PDF) | Call Center Software

Students love chat. Agents love chat. Abandon rates and stress levels dropped. Productivity soared, and satisfaction rose on all fronts. That’s what ECSI, the nation’s largest student loan servicer, found when it moved to NICE CXone’s CX cloud CX platform and implemented its Advanced Chat for CXone, among other products.  


The Cost-Benefit of a Digital-First Contact Center

Customers and agents are clamoring for digital channels! With a digital-first strategy, contact centers can overhaul the customer experience and create a more intelligent and frictionless customer journey. Digital-first will also help right-size costs and positively impact the bottom line.  

Customer Stories

Best Practice: The Power of a Digital First Contact Center

Your customers have different preferences in how they want to contact your business. Hear from NICE customer, ESCI on how opening digital channels transformed their contact center, improved agent productivity and drive down costs for their contact center.