2014-22-July-Kennedy-Space-Center-Rocket.jpgThink customer service is a synonym for customer experience? Think again, suggests Alpharetta, Ga.-based customer experience (CX) consultant Jim Bass. "Customer service happens after the sale. Customer experience starts before the sale," he explained.

Bass stirred a lot of interest on LinkedIn recently with a post that explored the importance of pre-sale processes. The story got more than 15,000 views and 1,674 shares on LinkedIn.

This week, Bass talked with CMSWire to share more insights on CX — including the things companies tend to get wrong and the reasons why so many customer interactions are still so bad.

Nope, CX isn't rocket science. But it's not easy to get right, either.

Understanding CX


Before leaving to work as a consultant earlier this year, Bass was director of customer support, customer advocacy, loyalty programs and customer success at McKesson Corp., a health care services company. He is credited with using the voice of the customer (VOC) and voice of the employee (VOE) to implement programs, projects and initiatives to increase customer satisfaction, engagement and loyalty while containing or reducing costs and minimizing churn.

With that experience in mind, we thought it made sense to ask him to identify the most important thing marketers should understand about CX.

"Customer Experience goes beyond the product," he said. "It's the sum of all experiences the customer has with the vendor who is hopefully working to be a partner. This starts before the sale process and feeds into a life cycle loop of product selection, installation, use, service, support, optimizing, enhancing, purchasing new products/services and recommending to family, friends and colleagues. Customer experience is not the responsibility of one group or function in the organization. Everyone must own it and buy-in to it or it will fail." 

So what do businesses tend to get wrong? 

1. Some businesses focus more on profits than on meeting customer needs.

2. Others fail to take the time to understand both customer and workforce needs.

"Businesses can't make knee-jerk reactions to competitors or the industry market and/or sell services and products without listening to and getting buy-in from the product development, customer services/support organizations and the customer before development or deployment," he said. And there are plenty of questions to consider.