Customer experience refers to the totality of experience a customer has with a business, across all channels and touchpoints. Southwest succeeds because of the care it puts into providing a satisfying journey at a reasonable price -- from the simple website to their recently redesigned boarding queues to the friendly staff members who help you, it's clear that Southwest considers how the customer will feel every step of the way. This even goes for their pricing, which, compared to the byzantine rules of the legacy airlines, is remarkably straightforward, and doesn't nickel-and-dime you.

Though the business community increasingly recognizes the importance and power of customer experience to drive innovation and positive financial results (witnessed press coverage of such favorites as Apple, Amazon, Proctor and Gamble, and Nintendo), most companies have not successfully embraced it. This is because becoming customer experience-driven is not a snap. It's more than just embrancing "The Power of Design", or building empathy for your customers by observing them (though both of these things are important). Nor can you buy a technological fix, no matter what the CRM providers say.

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