Definition of Experience

It goes without saying that the ways we connect, share, shop and pay are radically changing. As consumers and businesses become more nimble through technology, expectations of flexibility, immediacy and convenience grow higher and higher. Few interactions are more ubiquitous or tied to keeping our lives moving smoothly than our countless daily transactions. Today, payments are only one part of the equation, as the quality of the overall customer experience becomes the driving force behind the success and longevity of consumer-brand relationships.

For years, across the digital world, brands have responded to the convergence of customer needs and business drivers by adopting customer experience (CX) as the key to differentiation in product, marketing and service platforms. But some industries have lagged—particularly banking, which has proved among the slowest to adopt a deep change in CX thinking. While there are several practical reasons for this, the landscape has changed, and CX is now front-and-center—no longer one of many possible means of differentiation but, in hypercompetitive industries, the only means.

Additionally, CX can drive loyalty in significant ways; otherwise, it is only an incentive. Great customer experiences build brand awareness, stature and strength; they help differentiate products or services from competitors; they offer leverage for maintaining premium positioning and pricing; and they instill or change behaviors that drive trial, adoption and usage. More than product features or pricing, CX leads the way to true differentiation, making it the critical ingredient for higher loyalty, revenue and profitability.

Simply put, loyalty is a deeply felt satisfaction with a brand. It belongs to the customer, and it can't be bought with rewards or anything else. So, loyalty is brand-building. As the sum total of every interaction a customer has with a brand, CX has the power to drive the emotional connection—positive or negative—in the mind of the customer.

Strategic, holistic customer experiences and loyalty programs together form a virtuous cycle, and 50k Chief Strategy Officer Chris Prescher spoke on this topic and more at the Card Forum conference that was held in Miami on May 8. Joining the panel Creating Loyalty Campaigns That Grow Customer Spend & Engagement, Chris shared his perspective alongside other leaders in the payments space as well as tips for card and brand managers to try in their next campaigns. Learn more about the event here.