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Improving the customer experience (CX): A crucial step for business success

[learning-center] Improving the customer experience

In today's competitive business landscape, improving the customer experience (CX) is an essential part of creating sustainable growth. A report from Exemplifi underscores this reality: the study found that a rather astounding 86% of consumers stopped doing business with a brand after having just two to three disappointing experiences. On the flipside, 61% of customers expressed a willingness to pay an additional 5% for the assurance of a positive experience.1

The expectations of modern consumers are soaring; they’re demanding encounters that are seamless, personalized, and consistently engaging across every touchpoint.

Insights from our Customer Service Trends Report 2024 validate this trend, finding that 87% of support teams have noticed a surge in customer expectations over the course of 2023 – a figure that continues to rise year-over-year.2

Ignoring this shift is no longer a viable choice for businesses. That's because improved CX directly translates to higher retention, increased customer lifetime value, and greater brand loyalty across your entire customer base.

Join us as we shed light on the multifaceted nature of CX and uncover several ways to enhance, improve, and build upon it for your business. We’ll also explore its critical role in driving business growth, and discuss the revolutionary role AI is already playing in the world of customer experience.

What is customer experience (CX)?

Customer experience (CX) is the aggregate of all interactions an individual has with a brand, encompassing both their experiences throughout the customer journey and the perceptions, emotions, and attitudes they had about those experiences. CX involves every touchpoint from initial brand awareness to post-purchase service, including marketing materials, product usage, customer service engagement, and even online reviews.

Customer experience, in other words, is far from a linear, simplistic concept. Rather, it’s multi-dimensional, covering both the emotional aspects of the customer’s experience and the more straightforward, rational ones. It also can’t be boiled down to one or a few interactions, because it speaks to the collective impact a brand has on a customer over the course of months or years.

Investing in and prioritizing CX initiatives can lead to increased customer retention and positive word-of-mouth – critical factors in facilitating long-term brand success. In fact, according to a 2022 survey conducted by MIT Technology Review, 87% of companies identify CX as a differentiating factor for their brand.3

It’s important to remember, too, that creating a gratifying customer experience is an all-hands-on-deck effort that involves each and every team and individual within an organization. The objective behind this mass, company-wide effort should always be the same: to deliver impactful and personalized support that enhances customer satisfaction, fosters loyalty, and positively contributes to the overall success of the business.

Read our guide on how artificial intelligence and customer experience have a unique relationship that’s constantly evolving.

Importance of customer experience

The importance of customer experience simply cannot be overstated. Here are some compelling reasons why every business needs to focus on CX:

  • Impact on revenue: A positive CX fosters customer trust and loyalty, leading to repeat purchases, higher lifetime value, and increased brand advocacy. A study by Forrester shows that a mere 1% improvement in CX can lead to a 7% increase in revenue.4

  • Increased competition: Within the hyper-competitive landscape many businesses find themselves in today, CX becomes a crucial differentiator. A 2022 report by Calabrio found that 60% of consumers switch brands due to a negative contact center experience.5

  • Amplified customer voice: The prevalence of social media and online platforms allow customers to share their experiences with large, far-flung audiences all over the world. Because of this unprecedented new reach, a single negative encounter can spread rapidly, potentially doing serious and even irreparable harm to a brand’s reputation and industry standing. A consistently effective CX mitigates against these types of worst-case scenarios.

  • Meeting heightened expectations: Modern customers have heightened expectations for convenience and simplicity, and are looking for a seamless experience across all touchpoints. Meeting and exceeding these expectations is vital for winning consumer loyalty and cultivating a dependable base of customers, some of whom may eventually turn into essential brand advocates.

Deliver memorable customer experiences with our actionable guide: Intercom’s guide to CX personalization.

Benefits of customer experience

The benefits of a positive CX are extensive, impacting various aspects of a business. Here’s a glimpse at just a few ways customer experience can positively affect your operations and KPIs.

1. Increases customer satisfaction

Memorable experiences throughout the customer’s journey makes them feel valued, understood, and respected. This leads to higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores and positively influences other critical metrics, including net promoter score (NPS).

2. Improves brand loyalty

Happy customers are more likely to become loyal patrons who consistently choose a brand for repeat purchases. According to a report from Qualtrics, customers who receive “excellent experiences” are 2.6 times more likely to make additional purchases from the same business.6

3. Boosts brand reputation and referrals

Exceptional customer experiences contribute to a positive brand image. Customers who have those exceptional experiences are more likely to associate the brand with favorable qualities. If this happens to enough customers, a brand’s overall reputation and perception in the broader market can improve dramatically.

4. Reduces customer churn

A positive customer experience reduces the likelihood of customers switching to competitors. This, in turn, leads to lower customer churn rates, ensuring a more stable and sustainable customer base. It’s further worth noting that high retention levels also reduce the need for expensive acquisition campaigns.

5. Generates word-of-mouth marketing

Satisfied customers often become enthusiastic brand advocates, engaging in the type of organic, bottom-line-friendly word-of-mouth marketing that all businesses covet. Positive recommendations from existing customers can have a powerful influence on the buying choices of others, attracting new people to your brand.

6. Gives businesses a competitive advantage

A consistently delightful CX can differentiate your brand from the rest. This attracts new customers, retains existing ones, protects your market share, and provides a solid foundation for long-term success.

7. Enhances customer lifetime value

Loyal customers tend to contribute significantly to a brand's revenue over their lifetime. Their continued support and repeat business result in a higher customer lifetime value (CLV), positively impacting the overall financial health of the business.

8. Improves employee morale

Employees who contribute to positive customer experiences often feel valued and motivated, leading to a sense of pride and job satisfaction. This improves morale within the workforce, creating engaged employees who are more productive, innovative, and loyal to your business.

9. Optimizes operational efficiency

Streamlining processes to enhance CX often leads to improved internal efficiencies and cost savings. This contributes directly to increased profitability, opens up opportunities for expansion, and allows for reinvestment in further CX improvements.

10. Adapts to changing markets

Businesses with a customer-centric focus are better equipped to adapt to evolving market trends and customer preferences. This adaptability can serve as a strong competitive differentiator in the marketplace and give businesses a substantial advantage when it comes to attracting newer, younger generations of potential customers.

Tracking the right metrics can help optimize customer experience. Here’s how you can keep customer support KPIs meaningful for your support team.

How do you improve the customer experience?

There are a myriad of ways to improve the customer experience. The end goal, however, should always be the same: crafting distinctive, memorable journeys that build trust, foster loyalty, and inspire brand advocacy. Here’s a list of actionable strategies you can use for your business:

Focus on your customer’s needs

Understanding and prioritizing your customer's needs is among the most common and widely recognized ways to improve the customer experience. Going beyond demographics, seek to comprehend your customers by collecting feedback, conducting surveys, and analyzing behavior.

By delving into their preferences, desires, and pain points, you can tailor your approach and create journeys that resonate with your customers. These types of carefully engineered customer journeys make people feel valued, understood, and connected to your brand – major wins for any business that wants a loyal customer base.

Personalize each experience

According to our Customer Service Trends Report 2023, 89% of support leaders say personalized support is a key competitive differentiator – and teams that deliver personalized support are two times more likely to report increases in customer satisfaction and retention.2

By utilizing first-party customer data and employing automation, businesses can develop a highly customized approach that includes triggered responses based on customer actions and experiences that resonate powerfully with individual preferences.

Provide excellent customer service

Great customer service comes down to more than just solving problems. It's about exceeding expectations and creating positive interactions that leave a lasting impression on people. The human touch –the right choice of words, the sense of understanding, the all-important act of communicating empathy– can elevate customer service experiences and make individuals feel truly valued and supported.

To achieve that human touch on a regular basis, you want to equip your support teams with the knowledge, resources, and autonomy to truly be there for their customers. This means fostering independent decision-making and establishing trust in their ability to not only execute on their responsibilities, but go the extra mile when specific circumstances call for it. In addition, businesses should always consider investing in self-service and offering seamless omnichannel support to ensure quick and prompt responses for basic inquiries.

Use technology to your advantage

Leveraging the benefits of technology is among the most straightforward ways to improve the customer experience. By integrating advanced tools like a Help Desk or AI-powered chatbots, businesses can streamline processes, improve efficiency, and provide innovative solutions that align with evolving expectations.

Automating routine tasks, such as support ticket categorization, assignment, and routing, can help optimize service delivery. Support teams, meanwhile, can utilize chatbots to provide instant responses to common customer queries in a more seamless and efficient manner, leading to an improved customer experience.

Embrace feedback and continuous improvement

Businesses serious about improving their customer experience should actively seek out employee and customer feedback. This information can serve as an invaluable asset as you work to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your customer experience from a variety of people and perspectives.

Thoroughly analyze their responses for patterns and recurring issues that can be resolved by tweaking processes, enhancing functionalities, or carrying out other targeted measures. Implementing changes and improvements that directly address the concerns and suggestions raised by customers and employees demonstrates a business’s commitment to continuous improvement and winning the trust of all of its stakeholders.

Watch this video to get actionable advice on improving customer experience programs from CX expert Jim Tincher.

How can AI improve the customer experience?

It's important to understand that AI isn't about replacing human interaction. Rather, it's about augmenting your team's capabilities and creating a more efficient, personalized, and empathetic customer experience.

Our 2023 report, The State of AI in Customer Service, found that 73% of support leaders anticipate that customers will expect – even demand – AI-assisted service in the next five years. Furthermore, 69% of those leaders plan to increase investment in AI-powered technology.7

Here are some ways AI improves the customer experience:

  • Deeper insights, targeted improvements: AI can analyze customer interactions at scale, revealing untapped opportunities for CX improvement. This enables businesses to uncover and implement highly specific, data-driven improvements in processes.

  • Smarter quality audits: Instead of limited sampling, AI can audit every customer interaction, ensuring consistent quality across the entire experience. This translates to a more reliable and seamless customer journey.

  • 24/7, multilingual support: AI can deliver immediate answers and around-the-clock assistance in any language, empowering customers and removing geographical and time-based barriers.

  • Automation: AI improves the customer experience by covering the routine tasks that might otherwise take up much of support reps’ time, freeing them up to grapple with more complex issues and even seek out proactive consultations. This personalized approach enables strategic resource allocation and unlocks greater value for your business.

  • Predictive analysis: AI utilizes predictive analysis to forecast customer needs, allowing businesses to align their offerings with customer expectations and preferences.

  • Proactive problem solving: AI can help anticipate potential issues, mitigate concerns before they impact the customer, and offer proactive support specifically tailored to a particular context. Collectively, these measures add up to a smoother, more satisfying experience for consumers.

  • Personalization: Finally, AI improves the customer experience by enabling support teams to personalize customer interactions, content, and recommendations based on individual preferences. Over time, this advanced customization expands engagement, thereby cultivating a stronger, more loyal customer base.

To truly benefit from AI, however, businesses must put careful thought and consideration into building their service strategy. That includes selecting trustworthy chatbots that can integrate with existing tools and execute seamless handovers to human support, making for a smooth, frictionless experience for your customers.

Learn how Rebag unified its online and in-store shopping experiences to create delightful, cohesive customer experiences with Intercom.

Deliver memorable customer experiences with Fin – Intercom’s AI chatbot

According to The State of AI in Customer Service, 55% of support leaders confirmed that ChatGPT has made them more likely to invest in AI in the coming years, while 52% worry that they’ve already fallen behind when it comes to implementing AI solutions.7

If you’re looking to integrate AI into your customer service process, we can help you make up lost ground fast. We recently launched Fin, an AI agent that leverages OpenAI’s GPT-4 and our own proprietary technology, to help you deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Intercom’s Fin is packed with useful, practical features custom-built to enhance CX:

  • Easy integration and simple setup

  • Highly customizable and personalized responses

  • Seamless transfers between chatbots and frontline reps

  • Continuous learning and natural language processing (NLP)

  • Omnichannel compatibility and multilingual support

  • Automated workflows

  • Fully conversational

  • Scalable

  • Inbuilt analytics and reporting

Start your free trial today and let Fin handle up to 50% of your customer queries instantly and accurately.


  1. Emplifi. Impact of CX on US and UK consumers in 2022.

  2. Intercom. Customer Service Trends Report 2024. We surveyed over 2,000 customer service professionals across the globe.

  3. Genesys. Customer experience and the future of work.

  4. Forrester. How Customer Experience Drives Business Growth, 2022.

  5. Calabrio. State of the Contact Center 2022. Based on a survey of 500 consumers and contact center managers from the US, UK, Nordics and DACH.

  6. Qualtrics. ROI of Customer Experience, 2022.

  7. Intercom. The State of AI in Customer Service. We surveyed 1,000+ global support professionals.