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Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. From awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction; the distinction is usually clear in context.
A company's ability to deliver an experience that sets it apart in the eyes of its customers serves to increase their spend with the company and, optimally, inspire loyalty to its brand. "Loyalty," says Jessica Debor, "is now driven primarily by a company's interaction with its customers and how well it delivers on their wants and needs." (2008) 
With products becoming commoditized, price differentiation no longer sustainable, and customers demanding more, companies – particularly communications service providers (landline, wireless, broadband, cable, satellite, etc.) – are focusing on delivering superior customer experiences. A 2009 study of over 860 corporate executives revealed that companies that have increased their investment in customer experience management over the past three years report higher customer referral rates and customer satisfaction (Strativity Group, 2009).
The customer experience has emerged as the single most important aspect in achieving success for companies across all industries (Peppers and Rogers 2005). For example, Starbucks spent less than $10MM on advertising from 1987 to 1998 yet added over 2,000 new stores to accommodate growing sales. Starbucks' popularity is based on the experience that drove its customers to highly recommend their store to friends and family.
CEM is a strategy that focuses the operations and processes of a business around the needs of the individual customer. Companies are focusing on the importance of the experience. Jeananne Rae says that companies are realizing that "building great consumer experiences is a complex enterprise, involving strategy, integration of technology, orchestrating business models, brand management and CEO commitment." (2006) 
According to Bernd Schmitt, "the term 'Customer Experience Management' represents the discipline, methodology and/or process used to comprehensively manage a customer's cross-channel exposure, interaction and transaction with a company, product, brand or service."
See also 
- Chief Experience Officer (CXO)
- Customer service
- Service design
- Experience design
- User experience (experience with products and services)
- The International Customer Service Institute
- Customer Advisory Board
- Cemy awards (Excellence in Customer Experience Awards)
- Right-time marketing
- Customer experience systems
- Employee experience management
- Customer experience transformation
- Customer communications management
- "How to Approach Customer Experience Management". Gartner.com. 2004-12-27. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
- Debor, Jessica (2008-02-20). "CRM Gets Serious". CRM Magazine. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
- Strativity Group (2009), 2009 Global Customer Experience Management Benchmark Study, Strativity Group, Inc.
- Return on Customer, Doubleday, division of random House, Inc., 2005, ISBN 0-385-51030-6
- Shaun Smith and Joe Wheeler.; Shaun Smith, Joe Wheeler (2002), Managing the Customer Experience: Turning customers into advocates, Financial Times Press, ISBN 978-0-273-66195-5
- Rae, Jeananne (2006-11-27). "The Importance of Great Customer Experiences". Business Week. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- Bernd H. Schmitt. (2003), Customer Experience Management: A Revolutionary Approach to Connecting with Your Customers, Wiley, ISBN 0-471-23774-4