Inside CX: The Elements of Customer Experience

By Phil Stephens

According to leading experts, customer experience (or CX) is the “next competitive battleground” that will stand as the measure of business success. But what exactly does CX mean?

Customer experience is the sum total of what your customer wants, does, sees, thinks, feels and likes. CX is made up of direct contact (the general course of business, usually initiated by the customer) as well as indirect contact (such as word-of-mouth referrals and reputation). About half of the CX equation is subconscious, driven by how the customer feels about the company.

The continuum of touchpoints

CX is not the same thing as customer service. It’s composed of many touchpoints during the entire customer journey and relationship. This includes ads and marketing, conferences, social media, proposals, project status reports, invoices, etc. Customer service is only one of those touchpoints, focusing on a specific point in time.

The emotional component

Price, quality, expertise, dependability, reputation: these are the familiar metrics by which customers evaluate companies. But emotion can actually play a more significant role than these rational yardsticks. People tend to do business with companies they like. Offering the best product isn’t enough if customers don’t enjoy working with you. Companies that achieve likeability and a sense of shared values attract more loyalty and longevity among their customers.

Understanding the WHY

Every company can easily explain WHAT they do, and most have no trouble explaining HOW they do it. But relatively few companies can readily put into words exactly WHY they do it. “To make a profit” and “To stay in business” aren’t reasons, they’re results. Those companies who can best articulate and embody their WHY – and get their customers to understand and value it – tend to be the most successful. Here’s Simon Sinek presenting this simple but powerful idea in a TEDTalks podcast.


Domino effects

In a business-to-business context, good CX is a transitive property. When your vendors and partnerships deliver positive customer experiences to your company, it can translate into positive customer experiences for your own customers. At Signal we understand the value of making our clients look like heroes and helping them make their customers happy in turn. When we and our clients share together in this universal, big-picture vision of what the exceptional experience means… everybody wins.

Phil Stephens

Partner / VP Client Services

Phil is a seasoned professional with nearly four decades of expertise in project management, client services, and marketing communications. He joined Signal in 2005 and was made partner in 2017. As Vice President of Client Services, Phil plays a pivotal role in overseeing key accounts and nurturing strategic partnerships. He believes that every customer deserves an exceptional experience, a mantra he strives to bring to practice in all his endeavors. Beyond business, Phil is a man of diverse interests as a prolific reader, fitness enthusiast, and avid traveler. He received his B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Lynchburg in Virginia. Currently, he and his wife call Raleigh, NC home, along with their extended family of two daughters and four granddaughters.

Scroll to Top