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Across sectors and regions, business leaders are recognizing the competitive advantage of superior customer experience and the value that resides not only in what a company delivers for its customers but in how it delivers products and services.

Powerful brands develop through consistent and positive customer experiences over time. Successful brand management goes well beyond the cosmetics of branding (brand name, packaging, advertising and so on). All great brands are built on a bedrock of trust derived from customers’ experience of buying and using products and services sold under the brand name.

Customers experience the brand in many ways – through the people who sell it, the product itself, the people who provide after-sales service, the reactions to it of friends and colleagues and so on – and customers are sometimes irrational, inconsistent and difficult to manage.

Customer experience encompasses every aspect of a company’s offering—the quality of customer care, of course, but also advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use, and reliability.

Brands can help to create five different types of experiences:

  1. Sense experiences involving sensory perception;
  2. Feel experiences involving effect and emotions;
  3. Think experiences that are creative and cognitive;
  4. Act experiences involving physical behaviour and incorporating individual actions and lifestyles;
  5. Relate experiences that result from connecting with a reference group or culture.

When brands connect emotionally with the customers, the point of difference is not just in what customers receive but also in how they receive it. The secret to a good experience isn’t the multiplicity of features on offer. A successful brand shapes customers’ experiences by embedding the fundamental value proposition in offerings’ every feature.

Companies that systematically monitor customer experience can take important steps to improve it—and their bottom line. Although few companies have zeroed in on customer experience, many have been trying to measure customer satisfaction and have plenty of data as a result.

Reference: Schmitt (1999). Customer Experience Management