The New Equation of CX for 2022

Written by
Jay Acosta
November 1, 2021

The traditional approach to measuring CX focused solely on the post-purchase experience, mainly in the form of customer satisfaction through customer surveys. This made sense when people used snail mail and the Internet at dial-up speeds. Today, this focus is limiting as we transition to an age where everything from banking to online retailing is digital and trackable. 

In this post, we share how a new definition for CX expands the focus from a post-purchase to a pre-purchase lens, and why focusing solely on the latter is actually hurting the ability of businesses to understand markets and create new experiences.

What is CX? 

CX, which traditionally stood for Customer Experience, has been a hot topic. In fact, customer experience metrics were recently named among the “most important metrics” to track and improve by Harvard Business Review

Every marketer knows that you can't sell anything if you can't understand who your customers are and why they buy from you. And yet, for too long our industry has focused almost entirely on what happens after a sale—on the post-purchase experience. 

In many cases, we have treated CX as an afterthought—something that only matters after a purchase is made. But it shouldn't be this way. In fact, there's plenty of data out there showing that pre-purchase experiences greatly influence whether people will actually buy your product or service in the first place. 

Consider these examples: 

  • 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product
  • 53% of shoppers say they always do research before they buy to make sure they’re making the best choice
  • 96% of customers will leave you for bad customer service, whether before or after a purchase

Given these and countless other examples, it's clear that the pre-purchase experience is crucial.

The new equation: Three Cs of CX 

For years, CX has focused solely on what happens after a sale is made. It's time for this to change—and not just in terms of semantics; with AI and big data at our fingertips, we now have the tools to measure CX in ways we never could before. 

Let us propose a new equation: CX = consumer experience + customer experience + client experience, which considers both pre- and post-purchase experiences in order to gauge how satisfied people are with a brand or product. 

This includes everything from the actual purchasing journey through post-purchase customer support, but also factors like brand sentiment in customer reviews from Ecommerce to YouTube.

The focus here is on measuring satisfaction throughout the entire buying cycle—from start to finish. If you're able to understand what people are experiencing throughout all aspects of their buying journey, you will be better equipped to identify where improvements can be made. 

You'll also have more visibility into who your customers are so that you can better serve them down the road. 

Putting the Three Cs of CX into practice

Now that we've defined CX as being about both pre-purchase and post-purchase experiences, let us give some examples of how to gain insights from product and service data with Commerce.AI.

With our massive data engine, product teams can analyze online reviews, social media data, contact center analytics, and much more to gain a better understanding of likely consumer behavior as they navigate the buying journey.

Product managers can then use this data to inform their development decisions, such as which features to prioritize or how to adjust pricing. For instance, market research data might highlight where consumer interest lies, but product review data might show that people are having issues with a particular competitor's product. In this case, the two can be used to inform each other and provide a more holistic view of the market.

These insights can also inform ways to convert consumers to customers. With Commerce.AI's data engine, product teams can see what consumers are saying and thinking, along with wishlists and behavior patterns.

With our AI-powered wishlist feature, product teams can gain insight into what features their customers want to see in the future. This can then inform their roadmap and help them prioritize new development efforts. 

For instance, if you're a brand building an e-commerce site, you might use this data to determine whether people would be more likely to buy something if it were available for home delivery. Or perhaps you could learn that people are interested in learning about new styles before they buy, so that you can send them relevant information.

Behavioral analytics is another powerful tool at your disposal as a product team member. You can use these insights to make informed decisions on everything from pricing strategies to which products are most popular with consumers—which can help inform your overall marketing strategy going forward.

For example, let's say that you're a consumer electronics retailer and that one of your biggest competitors recently announced a similar price drop on some of its items—how do you know if the price drop will actually result in higher sales? With analytics, you could find out by comparing how large your competitor's audience is, as well as sentiment around the time of the price drop announcement.

Using these types of insights has proven time and again to improve market share outcomes for many companies around the world.

The Last C: Client Experience

Client Experience is the key part of the new definition of CX. After a consumer becomes a customer, and engages in repeat purchases, they become a client.

With this in mind, it's important to consider longer-term retention strategies throughout the buying cycle. For example, if you're a financial services firm, it might make sense to send out email updates with exclusive offers at specific times during the year to help ensure that customers continue their relationship.

You can also use data to listen to your repeat customers and product experts for insights into what they want out of your service or product. This will help you refine your product and marketing efforts and create more engaging experiences.

There are a myriad of sources that capture longer-term association with a company or brand, from fan wikis to communities like forums, Reddit, and YouTube channels. By tapping into these less commonly used data sources, you'll gain competitive advantage by understanding your customers better and gaining a deeper understanding of what they value. 

In fact, many companies have been successfully leveraging organic conversations across these channels to create a buying experience for their customers. With this new definition of CX, you can take a more holistic approach to CX, by identifying opportunities to gain more customers, building a loyal customer base, and improving your client experience.

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