The Acronyms Of Change


Every business trend, be it in human resources, finance, or marketing, comes with its own new set of acronyms. Marketers are often asked why they make up so many acronyms around delivering to the customer. When it comes to “customer experience”, CX, TCX, UX, CEM and CRM, are all used. Understanding what these abbreviations mean and where a business is best suited to use one of them is important.


It is the end-to-end relationship businesses have with their customers. Good or bad, it is the complete interaction the customer has had with every aspect of the business, from the first customer contact to the present day. Customer response like “they are wonderful to do business with and I would recommend them” or “they are of poor quality and simply do not deliver” is nothing new, so why give it a new name? It is because what is often not considered is the entire complex relationship is purely based on emotion. It is a very personal engagement from beginning to end and everything in between; so much more than meeting contractual obligations.

TCX is the sum of a customer’s entire opinion of the entire company life cycle. This includes people engagement, executive management, operations, and the quality of the products or services.

CGU Insurance, Telstra and BUPA have recently won awards for their customer experience programs. Their success came in looking at all touch points of the total customer experience. Understanding their current strengths and weaknesses and relating them back to customer expectations.


CRM has been around for some time. Some commentators state that CRM is dead and it is the customer who manages the relationship. CRM is an integral part of creating a positive customer experience journey. It may be in for a bit of a sea change, as it has historically been more of a sales-focused tool. CRM has its place in standardising processes and gaining better insight into customers. It is an increasingly integral component for companies to win and retain customers. Every organisation’s goal must be to create amazing customer experiences by putting the right ingredients in place to build long-term customer relationships that are personalised, proactive, and predictive across marketing, sales, and service. The right CRM supports that.


It is the practical, meaningful and valuable aspects of human interaction, the ease of that user interaction or experience and the simplicity of product ownership. User experience may be considered subjective in nature to the degree that it is about individual perception and thought with respect to the systems with which a client interacts such as a website, customer support, purchasing services. User experience is dynamic as it is constantly modifed over time due to changing usage circumstances. UX is often considered to be the experience of engagement online or with an app. It needs to be more than that, UX is evolving and must take on a far greater role of importance in the customer experience journey any organisation embarks on.


It’s the experience of the touchpoints along the way, every aspect of interaction throughout the entire duration of the relationship with a customer. Everything from the first handshake, the quality of the services, people in accounts managing the accuracy of invoices, delivery, the receptionist with the first greeting, and the person in the warehouse that the customer may never meet. It is also the meetings, the coffee, the events they are invited to, emails, phone calls, and the level of service provided when something goes wrong. Customer experience is not just about a rational experience. It is not just about the ‘what,’ but also about the ‘how.’ McKinsey research reports that more than 70% of customer experience is based simply on how they feel.


Gartner’s definition sums it up: “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.” Knowing customers so intimately that organisations create and deliver personalized experiences that will entice them to not only remain loyal but also to evangelize to others. Organisations cannot ask for any better advertising than that! Locating this depth of information is not something that just happens; especially if it resides in the workings of a deeply matrixed or layered organisation. When extracting insight from all customer touchpoints and channels across the entire organisation many do not know where to start or have the proper systems in place to get there. It is essential for success and when it is not in place, there is a strong possibility there are customer experience issues and customer turnover. Harness the information/customer data that does exist and start extracting insights to begin defining the company’s journey.


Sales and the process of engaging customers is no longer a one-size-fts-all commodity. It needs to be adaptive and responsive to the emotional needs of the customer, whether it’s business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C) or the supersize combo – B2B2C. Apple did not start with “Let’s sit down with the engineers and fgure out what awesome technology we have and then how are we going to market that”. With the acronyms explained businesses can think about their your own “Apple Experience”. What direction, and focus to take to ensure that when adapting a TCX strategy it encompasses CX, UX, CEM and CRM. To quote Jerry Gregoire “The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” He is right. Before investing heavily in consultants, software, staf and a new way of engaging with customers, business should think about what exists now and what needs to be done to deliver the necessary experience.


How does NPS ft into this equation? That’s a question for a future post.

None had a better understanding of Total Customer Experience than Apple and Steve Jobs. With a mantra from 1997 Apple began with “What incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer?”

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