What are customer experience systems? People see them brought up all the time in modern business, design, marketing, etc., but it seems that most people aren’t sure what this term actually means. They see it as a buzzword and shake it off when the hype-mongers aren’t about. That’s OK, sometimes we just have no idea what some highly-discussed new concept is, and this is how they become buzzwords in the first place. So, let’s spare customer experience systems from this fate of ‘buzzwordhood’, by explaining in basic detail what these systems are, what they entail, and why they’re considered important in modern times. The first thing to look at is the first two words – customer experience. We’ve heard this term before, and many probably shake it in and of itself off as something of a buzzword too. Well, it’s a legitimate science. The customer experience entails a lot of aspects, so we’re going to spend a bit more time on this one than any other point. Customer experience, as we said, entails much. This is because the customer experience is the sum experiences of all interactions, one-way, two-way or passive, between a customer, a product/service, and the company providing it. That’s a mouthful isn’t it? In short, this means it factors in: advertising and marketing of the product, identity culturally and specifically of the product, use of the product, direct quality, comparability to competition, company reputation, customer service, price point and overall satisfaction in the eyes of the consumer. Customer experience is the entire relationship between this trifecta of company, service/product and customer. So, everything about every function anyone performs within a company ultimately deals with customer experience, even if indirectly. We’ve gotten a view of what customer experience is: another word for “everything in business”. But, what is a customer experience system? This slightly depends on who you ask, due to the ambiguity of business software and services in the burgeoning SaaS era. However, most will agree with what I say next. We’ll start with a type of software you likely understand already – CRM software. CRM software is all about bookkeeping, customer records-logging and transactions/transaction history. It’s usually wrapped in an interface which allows agents to quickly access customer records, log new ongoing transactions, remedy problems and answer questions at a quick speed. Now, let’s take another type of software you’re likely all too familiar with, the self-service onboard system. There exist several packaged systems like this, though larger companies design their own. They’re AJAX/HTML5/Flash or a combination thereof, and form a webpage-native interface that allows for automation to permit customers to directly place orders and interact with their account online. Extend these self-service systems to include interaction with a company for products or services not provided digitally (see: Coke and Pepsi online features for bar codes and bottle cap numbers as an early implementation example). Now, let the CRM-end be a little more capable of ambiguity, while retaining its power for specificity, and merge it with this self-service extended frontend. Mix with an information resource, a forum and a social network integration platform, and you have a customer experience system, by the software definition of the term. It’s a multifaceted digital system to handle all aspects of the customer experience relationship through centralized, multi-channel online convenience. And it is a brilliant idea. Why is it brilliant? Well, besides the obvious features implied in its definition … well that’s a whole other topic honestly.