How Do You Define Customer Experience?

At the Gartner Customer 360 conference, Ed Thompson, Gartner's VP and distinguished analyst, provided a compelling presentation entitled How to Boost Customer Experience. This is one of the hot topics that has the CRM community all abuzz. But what exactly does Ed mean by "customer experience"? If you were to ask five different people in your organization to define "customer experience", you would in all likelihood get five different interpretations.

Luckily, Ed and a team of Gartner analysts spent 4+ months of their highly billable time deriving Gartner's official definitions for "customer experience" and "customer experience management" (CEM). And better yet, they encourage those who don't have definitions to leverage theirs as a starting point. Very generous! Thank you Gartner.

So without further adieu, here are their crisp, clean, and concise definitions:


  • Gartner defines customer experience as: "The customer's perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier's employees, channels, systems or products."

  • Gartner defines customer experience management as: "The practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions in order to meet or exceed customer expectations and so increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy."

If customer experience is a topic of interest, you may also enjoy this Delivering a "Wow" Customer Experience video and Deliver Extraordinary Customer Service: Create Customer Experiences so Great the Customer Says, "Wow" white paper.

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