How 20+ Leaders Define Customer Experience

Red Beach Advisors
POSTED ON
October 12, 2020

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So, what does CX mean? As you can expect with any “what is” query you pop into Google, Wikipedia does a great job providing customer experience definition. It says that:

“The product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship”.

Now, by all means – that 100 % true.

But, being in the customer experience game ourselves, we’re not entirely satiated. At least not just yet.

We craved for a more personal take on the matter, and so we’ve reached out to CEOs & CX Leaders to reveal how they define CX.

Each and every answer below will let you in on how you yourself can think of customer experience beyond its formal definition.

Customer Experience Definition – CX Leader Perspective Revealed

Let’s begin with how CX is defined by one of the world’s most prominent SaaS startup founders:


#1. Customer experience is a combination of copywriting, design and the actual product you create for your customers.

Hiten Shah, Co-Founder at FYI, Crazy Egg, and KISSmetrics

“Customer experience is a combination of copywriting, design and the actual product you create for your customers. In order to create an amazing customer experience, you need to deeply understand your customer’s most painful problems in addition to their motivations and psychology.

The more you know about your customers, the better the customer experience you can create for them. One that they can’t live without.

There is no other way, you have to be obsessed with your customers with the goal of providing the best possible experience for them. Something they can’t help but tell their friends about”.

#2. Customer Experience is a two-way street– guiding customers to use your product the “right way”, all the while remaining humble enough to learn from your customer feedback about what that “right way” is.

Kevin Scheper, VP of Customer Success at Drift


“Most often, I see ‘Customer Experience’ being used to label an effort to design a beautiful and cohesive customer journey or simply to describe a customer support team.

The problem with the former is that it is tempting to boil the ocean and difficult to measure the ROI for any of it. The problem with the latter is that a support transaction represents only one element of a customer’s overall interactions with a company.

I prefer to think about Customer Experience more practically. It’s about empathy.

Internally, we talk about teams – Sales, Success, Product, etc. From the customer’s perspective, it just you, the company.

Coordinating information, processes, and actions across all these teams so that customers have a cohesive and predictable experience is the bottom line goal with CX design. Obviously, there is a lot that goes into making this work well, but there are plenty of straightforward and non-controversial investments you can make.

Ultimately, it should look like this:

You treat your customers as partners. You take the time to know your customer so that you can anticipate their needs and be helpful when things don’t go as planned. You are confident enough to guide your customer to use your product the “right way” and you are humble enough to learn from your customer when they give you feedback about that “right way”.

#3. Customer experience means creating super fans through partnerships – not just transactions.

Casey Hill, Growth Manager at Bonjoro

“Customer experience is one of the most vital elements to your businesses success. It affects your brand, your revenue and your growth rates.

What customer experience means to Bonjoro, is creating super fans. Creating brand advocates.

What customer experience means to our team is building “human” connection with our audience, trying to go above and beyond and provide an experience that leaves people wanting to talk to their friends about it.

How do we do that? Personal video emails. Physical cards around the holidays. Congratulating clients on milestones. Coaching and supporting people on strategy, not just product adoption.

Customer experience is about creating a partnership, not just a transaction.”

#4.: CX is about encouraging feedback and taking it all in.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO at MyCorporation.com

“I define a great customer experience as one that requires encouraging feedback and taking it all in. I like to ask our customers for their feedback and encourage them to leave us reviews on sites like Yelp or our social media accounts.
We listen to everything our customers have to say, and work hard to implement any necessary changes to create more and more satisfactory customer experiences”.

#5.: CX is more than just ‘what’ or ‘how’ – it’s a ‘why’.

Paul Farmer, VP Marketing at Woodtex

“The customer experience is more than a what or how, it’s a why. Why should your customers go to you for your product? Why not another company? Why are you different? What do they feel when they see your logo, interact with your website, a person, receive the product, etc.?

If you can answer these questions in-depth, you are well on your way to creating a customer experience that is cohesive and portraying what you want”.

#6. CX meaning in a nutshell – “Give me what I want, when I want it, how I want it and don’t p*ss me off in the process”.

Kathryn Kerrigan, Owner at KS5 Consulting

Give me what I want: Whether it’s the appropriate data fields in ‘Sort’ and ‘Filter’ or the best product at the best price, I want to find the product I desire quickly. Give it to me in less than 3 clicks.

When I want it: Not to inject my selfish inner ego, but I will want it when I want it.

I may wake this morning to be on the Keto diet only to be pushed into a decadent donut by 11 AM in order to secure a new client. As a consumer, I don’t always know when I want something unless it’s a planned purchase.

E-commerce companies in the kids clothing market, for example, have an easier time marketing to parents. If Mom purchases an organic cotton onesie in size 0-3mos, the logical next trigger email will be for Mom to purchase size 3-6mos.

Other industries such as women’s high-fashion footwear may have to prey on the psychodynamics of the unexpected breakup or general ‘bad day’.

This is the wildcard, so businesses – be prepared.

Businesses won’t understand this until they examine troves of analytics and navigation patterns. Also, they may never know that Sara bought a new pair of Sam Edelman strappy sandals after a bad day at the office.

How I want it: I love a mobile app that gives me notifications only when they are relevant to me.

I love a cute notification from TikTok when my 14-year old niece is doing something weird and I love old school emails from the Pet Adoption 501c3 down the street.

As a consumer and an e-commerce junky, I want businesses to listen to me by tracking my shopping patterns, frequency rates, abandoned carts, device logons and more. That way, you can send me smart emails that tell me exactly when the new Gucci belt is on discount on The RealReal.

Don’t tick me off: Is live chat really live chat if you’re chatting with a bot?

Let me checkout as a guest. Let me unsubscribe quickly. Let me call and speak to a human.

I’m the first to download the latest ‘E-commerce Trends White Paper’, but when I sign up to receive such collateral, I am not signing up to receive daily emails or phone calls or text messages.

I don’t mind the once-off cold call, but don’t take up my precious iMessages with unwanted spam”.

#7. : Customer experience is about enjoyment based on customers’ opinions; not a company’s opinions.

Tara J. Kinney, CEO at Atomic Revenue

“Customer experience is no longer about customer satisfaction – that was the low bar that businesses used to strive for when ‘over promise and under deliver’ was a standard business practice.

A competitive customer experience today is about authenticity, transparency, ease-of-use, saving time, quality of life, and enjoyment based on the customer’s opinions not a company’s opinions.

#8.: We think of CX in two dimensions – table-stakes & maximizing the “wow” moment.

Aaron Rubens, CEO at Kudoboard

“We think of customer experience across two dimensions.

The first is table-stakes. More specifically, does our product meet the customer’s expectations and solve their problem?

The second dimension, in our eyes, is about maximizing the “wow” moments. Essentially, these are the moments in the customer journey where they realize that our product is something special (and become evangelists).

Interestingly, we’ve found the other opportunity to create “wow” moments is when we mess up. Specifically, we’ve found that by going above and beyond to correct a problem quickly and be transparent with customers about what happened. We can actually create a level of trust above and beyond what was there prior to the problem.

I certainly wouldn’t advocate making mistakes on purpose (ha!), but it happens to all companies. And when it does, there really is truth to the maxim: ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’ “.

#9.: Each and every touchpoint a user has with your company IS the customer experience.

Nathan Hall, CEO at SimpleStory

“Customer experience and user touchpoints are one of the primary ways in which a brand can communicate and solidify who they are in the minds of their customers.

The majority of our clients are SaaS and other tech companies, and I always tell them that CX is not JUST your product.

How did they find you? What was that experience like?

Were you a breath of fresh air? Were you the answer to their pain points? What was the experience of learning about you like?

Was it easy and straightforward? How was their first interaction with you?

Each and every touchpoint a user has with your company IS the customer experience. Every touchpoint tells your brand’s story”.

#10.: CX is about everything that led up to the conversion, and their experience forever afterwards.

Reuben Yonatan, Founder & CEO at GetVOIP

“Customer experience requires a holistic approach, which is increasingly complex. Luckily, there are new software tools available to help us manage the customer journey, because we all know it’s not about the destination, but the process.

To that end, customer experience isn’t about the transaction or conversion. It’s about everything that led up to that moment, the purchase itself, and their experience forever afterwards.

If you treat your customers as well or better than when they were prospects, your sales funnel becomes cyclical, churn and CAC decrease, and both team and customer morale shoot upward”.

#11.: Customer experience means focusing on customer pain points.

Rebecca Beach, eCommerce Owner at MomBeach.com

“Customer experience means focusing on customer pain points in order to provide the best experience possible. What problems are customers facing when trying to order? How can you make ordering as streamlined as possible? Those are included in the countless questions I ask when providing the best customer service.

I create an empathy map of my customer with how they think and feel, what they hear and say and their pains and gains are. This helps me get inside my customer’s shoes and understand them better. I then do a service design blueprint to document my customer’s journey through the process of purchasing items in my store.

Other methods include using the Lucky Orange heat maps to see where the customer is clicking the most on my store’s websites. I learn how I can optimize my store’s landing page to appease the customer and provide better conversions”.

#12.: Having empathy and making sure your customers walk away feeling “wowed”.

Jamey Vumback, CEO & Founder at Get The Referral

“Being customer-centric is not just trying to help the customer; it’s going the extra mile.

Have empathy and passion around ensuring that your customers walk away from their experience with you our someone on your team feeling ‘wowed’.

This needs to be the case whether or not their problem was solved. The pursuit of ‘wowing’ your customer will always win.

#13.: CX is success beyond all the price wars.

Liz Hughes, Director at Blue Bamboo

“Today’s global marketplace is extremely competitive and full of price wars that have deteriorated profits. Savvy businesses have now turned to customer experience as a way to acquire and retain customers. Especially because there is no room to continue lowering prices.

What is customer experience all about? For me, a positive customer experience is when:

– the purchasing process is simple. Ideally easier than what was expected.
– it puts a smile on the customers face. The bigger the better
– it gets customers talking about their experience amongst their network. They become your advocate, because they can find no fault in their experience with your company. Shows how rare good service is these days.

The tricky part is delivering great service, when internal resources have already been stretched to their limits due to price slashing. If customers want great service, they should understand that it often comes at a cost to the service provider”.

#14.: Customer experience is what keeps people coming back.

Todd Boutte, President of Technology & Operations at EVAN360

“Most companies offer some level of customer service. Few deliver an unmatched customer experience.

Customer service often includes a wait-for-the-customer-to-come-to-you approach—aka the bare minimum required to get by.  Customer experience, on the other hand, is what keeps people coming back.

Customer experience is the entire process a customer goes through when using your product. It starts the moment they type your web address and hit enter, and from there, the process never really ends.

The customer experience includes the product they buy and use every day, the support you provide when something goes wrong and determines if and when they will do business with you in the future. In sum, customer experience is everything.

When we started EVAN360, we were focused on the experience our customers would have with our platform. The platform itself was secondary.

In fact, the entire reason we created EVAN360 was because of the poor customer experience provided by our competition. We saw how they failed in the area of customer support, so that’s where we zeroed in.

Anyone can create, market, and sell a product. Providing an excellent, customer-centric experience is a whole different ballgame.

No matter how innovative a product, if a company can’t deliver quality support and consider customers first, customers will look to a company that can. Those are the companies that will last”.

#15.: Customer experience is about whether or not you’ve created a relationship instead of a transaction.

Bob Azman, Chairman of the Board, CXPA and Founder & CXO, Innovative CX Solutions, LLC.

“The traditional definition is the sum of all the interactions a customer has with your products and services. But there’s so much more to it than that.

Emotions and Perceptions play a significant role in how a customer feels about an organization’s products and services(…). It’s not about their interaction with a salesperson or customer service agent. It’s about the brand promise, packaging, communications, delivery, invoicing, etc.

What distinguishes the great CX companies from all the rest is their ability to anticipate needs and intentionally design experiences based on those needs and expectations.

CX is about not only each step in a customer’s journey with your organization. It’s also about whether or not you’ve created a relationship instead of a transaction.

From a company’s perspective, it’s how CX can provide a balanced scorecard of performance – so, it isn’t just an NPS score. It’s how all these interactions align to the company’s objectives and, yes, profit! There, I said it. That’s why businesses exist – to make a profit – and CX must support that objective”.

#16. Customer experience is about listening to customers and suggesting solutions – even if they entail buying from the competition.

Hassan Alnassir, Founder & Owner at Premium Joy

Customer experience is how much genuine care the company shows to the consumers, regardless of whether they buy from them or not. It’s about listening to the customer needs, then suggesting products or services that will solve their problem, even if those things are sold by competitors.

When a business shares the customer’s best interest, not being too concerned over making money, you can bet the brand will be loved by people.

One of the reasons I personally like Best Buy, for instance, is because of the true customer care I feel while inside their shops, including one time when they’ve actually suggested I purchase from a 3rd party rather than from their store.

#17. CX is the way a customer feels when they hear my name.

Dwayne Vera, Founder at Sales Legend Academy

I define the customer experience as the way a customer feels when they hear my name. The foundation of this is built with every interaction with my brand, from the way they were treated, all the way down to how my brand smells (literally).

I believe that Starbucks is a perfect example of this. They have created an experience where individuals feel they “need” their product when having a bad day!

Even as a SAAS/e-commerce company you can create this same experience, even having a smell ( send direct mail thanking them and scent the package) by being authentic, proactive, supportive, collaborative, understanding, and consistent.

#18. Customer experience is the best way of guiding the customer to say “Wow, that was SIMPLE and USEFUL”.

– Ray McKenzie, Founder & Managing Director at Red Beach Advisors

I define customer experience as the most efficient and best way of guiding the user, customer, or visitor to say “Wow. That was simple and helpful.” I challenge all teams that I work with to focus on driving and eliciting that response from users, customers, and visitors of your product, service, business, or company.

As busy as everyone’s lives are, people are looking for a quick, simple, helpful, and direct way to solve their problem or answer their question or perform their desired task or function.

#19.: CX means reducing friction and being more empathetic of the customer’s situation

David LaVine, Marketing Consultant & Founder at RocLogic Marketing

“CX means different things for different types of customers. In the B2B services world it means reducing friction and being more empathetic of the customer’s situation. This includes things like:

  • Knowing when to quickly respond to inquiries.
  • Being flexible with your schedule.
  • Directly answering questions.
  • Making silly logistics as easy as possible (like scheduling and holding telecons).
  • Active listening.
  • Straightforward buying options.
  • Knowing when and how to push back when you disagree with their direction”.

#20.: Customer experience is all about consistency.

Dan Madden, Marketing Director at citrusHR

“Customer experience to me is all about consistency. For example, when I shop in stores offline, I expect the same experience when I shop online at the same stores, on all channels.

From their website to social media, everything should be matching – from the language used to branding. I find if a brand is consistent, and continuously delivers great service and experiences, I’m more likely to trust them, build a relationship and maybe even become an advocate and recommend them to my friends!

This is also the logic I use within my role as a Marketing Director at citrusHR, to ensure we delight customers at every stage of the customer journey.”

#21.: Customer experience is defined in two ways – the usability of your website and the brand impact left on users.

Matt McKenna, Owner at DELT

To me, customer experience is defined in two different ways: the usability of your website and the brand impact left on users. When someone visits my site, I want to make sure it is structured in a way that converts them into a sale as easily possible. With eCommerce websites, ease of use is key to providing the most enjoyable customer experience.

Additionally, I want to make sure my brand has left a defining impact on the user so they feel as if we are something they can relate with rather than just a company. Creating an experience that develops a relationship is the best way to create not only an enjoyable experience but also a lifetime customer.

Putting customer experience first

As you can see, while we can all think of customer experience differently, it all comes down to one thing – keeping your eyes open and listening to customers’ opinions and needs. It's the only way to think of doing business, if you want to remain relevant in the highly demanding online business field.

Ready to embrace customer-centrism at your company?