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As Forbes puts it: customer experience is today’s business benchmark. This is why so many companies are talking about “CX.”

The ability to understand, manage, measure, and improve customer experience is a key growth driver and competitive differentiator. Simply put: it leads to better business results, such as higher customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and even higher employee satisfaction.

So how can I improve customer experience?

Improving customer experience starts with your organization’s ability to skillfully manage all the interactions between your business and the customer.

Listen to customer feedback. Successful customer experience management strategies are founded on the company’s ability to listen to customers. Don’t squander the valuable gold mine that is customer feedback. Monitor and capture online reviews, social media comments, survey responses, call center notes, phone calls and e-mails, and other forms of customer feedback and Voice-of-the-Customer data.

Read more: The Top 3 Qualities of a Customer Experience Representative

Analyze customer data to gain insights. Collecting customer data isn’t enough; you must also leverage what you have to translate information into vision, and to achieve a better understanding of the needs, wants, feelings, sentiment, and expectations of your customers. The insights you gather from feedback and data will help your entire organization more accurately measure — then more efficiently improve — customer experience.

Take action. A proactive and committed leadership team, along with an enterprise-wide approach, is essential to completing your customer-first transformation. Use insights from the data to unite your company around the goal of meeting customer needs, and to guide and empower everyone to foster improvements in customer experience.

Understanding customer experience

What, exactly, is customer experience (CX)? Why are so many companies talking about it? Why are they putting it at the top of the corporate agenda? And what do they really mean when they talk about customer experience?

Some companies define CX as the interactions between a business and a customer over the duration of their relationship. Some, meanwhile, see customer experience as a kind of digital benchmark — the sum of customer interactions, say, on a website or a mobile app. Others, still, see their ability to respond quickly and accurately to customer questions and cases — the company’s support function — as the focus of customer experience.

Let’s consider an all-encompassing definition: customer experience is all these and more. It is the cumulative impact of all interactions and experiences between your business and the customer, at every touchpoint across the entire customer journey, and viewed entirely from your customer’s perspective.

Your company already provides a customer experience. The key lies on whether or not you’re already talking about it and managing it.

Why are companies talking about it?

A few years ago, having the highest-quality product, the savviest marketing, the best customer service, or the most bang for the buck was considered the key to business success.

Not today. The growth of social media, online word of mouth, and real-time customer feedback has compelled companies to undergo a customer-focused transformation. Those who don’t transform are likely to get left behind.

Deliver a delightful experience, and your customers will spend more at your business and even recommend you to their friends. Make customers unhappy and you’ll lose them quickly; they might even write a bad online review and advise others to stay away from your business.

As you attempt to see through your customers’ eyes and link their experience to your business outcomes, it’s crucial to take a unified approach to customer experience management. This reduces complexity, letting you collaborate effectively across multiple departments and “silos” and deliver gains throughout the organization.

Chris Campbell

Chris is the CEO of ReviewTrackers. He has helped tens of thousands of businesses hear, manage, and respond to what their customers are saying online.