Glossary of Customer Experience Terms

Do you speak Customer Experience? Our glossary will get you to fluent.

Business-to-Business. Describes companies whose customers are other businesses.
Example: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is sold to businesses, rather than consumers.

Business-to-Business-to-Consumer. Describes companies that sell to consumers through other businesses, rather than directly. A common challenge for B2B2C firms is determining how to prioritize between their direct customer (a business) and their end customer (the consumer).
Example: Many insurance companies, which sell products that reach consumers through independent agents.

Business-to-Consumer. Describes companies that sell directly to consumers.
Examples: Amazon, the YMCA.

Certified Customer Experience Professional. This is the industry standard for customer experience, sponsored by the CXPA (see below).

Customer Experience (concept)
CX, as it is known, is the customer’s overall perception of their interactions with your company. We define the concept as the sum of all interactions across all channels, shaped by an organization’s culture, which is created by front-end and back-end processes and experiences that ultimately influence customer perceptions.

Customer Experience (function)
The person (or group) within your company who is responsible for the overall customer experience. They typically have limited authority, but work with others in the organization to influence customer-focused change.

Customer Segments
The division of your customer base into categories based on a common characteristic or activity, such as age, gender, frequency of use, industry, interests, etc. Customer segments may be represented by Personas (see below).

Shorthand for “customer experience.”

Customer Experience Professionals Association. This collaboration of industry insiders also sponsors the certification process of Certified Customer Experience Professionals (CCXPs).

Digital/Mobile Ethnography
An online platform that allows you to interact with customers over time. Most platforms allow participants to record videos and take photos, and many allow participants to interact with each other.

Employee Experience
Employees’ perceptions of the organization for which they work. Factors that contribute to their perception include work-life balance, trust in leadership, incentives, and company culture. Also known as EX.

Experience Map
A specific category of journey maps that shows the entire customer experience, typically from awareness of the company through purchase and ongoing loyalty.

The result when customers feel frustration, either because they cannot accomplish a goal or because it is more difficult than they expected.

The process of having leadership regularly review and guide the state of your customer experience.

Mental shortcuts or associations that customers use in their decision-making process.

In-depth interview. This type of one-on-one interview can be conducted in person or virtually, or if necessary, via phone.

Journey Map
A graphic representation of the customer experience.

Journey Mapping Software
Software systems that are used to create a visualization of the customer journey, often with real-time data analytics.

Moments of Truth
Also called “Moments that Matter.” These are points during a customer’s journey that have a disproportionate impact on the rest of the journey.

Ingrained ways of thinking and acting, whether from habit or from previous successes. These latent, shared beliefs go unchallenged within the organization.

Pain Point
Also called a “Friction Point.” This is a problem your customer experiences during the journey.

A personalized representation of a specific customer segment based on shared characteristics, goals, and/or decision drivers.

Qualitative Research
Observational research that gathers non-numerical data, such as emotions and perceptions. Collection methods include, but are not limited to, interviews, focus groups, and ethnographies.

Quantitative Research
The collection of numerical data, often accompanied by statistical analysis and generally collected through large-scale surveys.

Departments within a company that generally do not interact regularly with other departments.
Example: Finance, Sales, Marketing, Operations, and Call Centers. Each of these impacts customers in some way; when they don’t coordinate, they may waste resources and negatively impact the customer experience.

Social Proof
A method of influence to show what is accepted as “good” or “normal” within a specific industry or group. The five methods of social proof are: experts, celebrities, users, peers, and “the wisdom of crowds” (collective, non-expert knowledge, demonstrated through actions). For more information, read Influence, Robert Cialdini’s excellent book.

An interaction point between your customer and your company.
Example: Your website or call center.

The event that kicks off a journey.
Example: The release of a new iPhone, or dropping your existing phone into a lake, may be the trigger of a new purchase.

User Experience
Abbreviated as UX, user experience typically refers to the experience at one specific touchpoint, often your website. While UX uses many of the same approaches as CX, its scope is less broad.

User experience (see above).

Voice of the Customer
The process of documenting your customers’ wants and needs, and implementing those findings in your business strategy.