Perhaps you've had this experience or something similar:

You take your car in for service to a place you've used frequently over the years. You drive in and complete the intake process. You provide some information about the car's performance and any problems. The service manager provides an estimate and tells you when to return. You're delighted when the service manager calls to tell you can pick up your call earlier than expected and the bill will be less than estimated. But then, a few days later, your engine light goes on. You call the service manager. He can't explain why it went on but suggests you bring it back. You're frustrated because you've just been without your car and paid for service. After an exploratory look, the service manager tells you that this will be a significant additional cost. But, you say, they had the car for several days for a complete checkup, shouldn't this issue have been discovered then? The service manager says, well, sometimes things happen. You leave your car to be fixed and you pay again when you pick it up.

Later, a colleague asks for a recommendation for where to take her car. Can the service manager rely on you to make a referral?

As in the above scenario, every touchpoint your customer has with your company matters; some, however, matter more than others.

Customer experience and engagement have evolved from table stakes to points of differentiation, as indicated by the flurry of customer experience/relationship scores now being published. Each interaction creates an opportunity for a moment of truth. More and more evidence strongly suggests that there is a link between customer experience/engagement and the financial success of a company.

Your company can improve customer experience and engagement by understanding the value of each touchpoint.

A high-quality customer experience is made up of high-quality interactions

A customer experience is not limited to a specific transaction, website visit, or conversation with a service representative. It's a process that begins the moment the customer becomes aware of your company, and it encompasses all the interactions, transactions, and contacts along the way.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM