Ten simple truths about customer experience (with links to relevant blog posts and subscription research reports from me and my peers on the Gartner for Marketing Leaders team):

Whether or not you plan for it, your brand provides a customer experience to your customers.
Customers collect experiences throughout their journeys with your brand, regardless of your effort, investment or intent to deliver cohesive and satisfying experiences.

People base decisions based on what they experience and hear about your brand.
Every experience you provide to customers can encourage or discourage satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

Your brand is what people feel and say it is, not what your brand believes or says it is.
Your brand is owned by the customer, not you. It is created and fashioned in the mind of your customers and prospects. You are what they think you are or what they hear from others.

What your brand does is more important than what it says.
Your brand will be ultimately be evaluated by its customers on what it does for them, not what it says in its ads, emails or on its website.

Brands that cannot retain customers cannot win. 
Acquiring customers is costly and challenging; retaining and growing loyal customers is the key to business success and profitability.

Brands that cannot motivate their customers to share positive sentiment diminish the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. 
People trust each other more than they do brands, and word of mouth is a powerful force for improving awareness and consideration. Inbound traffic, conversions, and sales are enhanced when marketers build their efforts upon solid customer advocacy.

Your brand can’t be all things to all people.
Customers have different needs, expectations, and values. The better your brand can understand and reflect these, through focus, segments, personas, and personalisation, the more powerful the experiences it can deliver.

You must listen to your customers to understand them.
Marketers spent a lot of time and money studying what gets people to buy but too often ignore what gets them to be satisfied, loyal and willing to tell others. Voice of Customer programs are essential to define and measure customer experience performance.

Differentiated brands are created by differentiated experiences. 
Finding and solving problems that reduce satisfaction are table stakes for brands. Brands that build strong affinity, or love, don’t just retroactively solve problems–they proactively deliver meaningful experiences that distinguish the brand from competitors.

You cannot change what the organisation, teams or employees do unless you change how they are measured and rewarded.
People often complain about organisational silos, but the real problem is the recognition systems that encourage competition for resources rather than collaboration between parts of the organisation. Moreover, brands cannot build sustainable long-term results only by measuring and rewarding short-term outcomes. Change goals and compensation, and you change culture, strategies, and performance.

*This article is reprinted from the Gartner Blog Network with permission. 

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