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7 Important Customer-Related Definitions You Should Know

Profile photo of Elaine Fogel Submitted by Elaine Fogel July 26, 2016


If your organization has customers, then it’s important for you and your team to know and understand the most commonly used and important customer-related definitions used today. If you’re a marketing professional, chances are you’re familiar with these terms. But, if you’re not, and you manage marketing without a great deal of background in it, or you simply have an interest, this is for you!

These definitions are the ones I included in my book because I thought they best described the terms without any mumbo-jumbo, marketing-speak. Wink

Here are 7 Important Customer-Related Definitions You Should Know:


1. Customer Engagement:

Represents “the ongoing interactions between company and customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer.” (Paul Greenberg, HubSpot Blogs, 2014)

2. Customer Experience:

Represents “the sum-totality of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire arc of being a customer.” (Adam Richardson, “Understanding Customer Experience,” Harvard Business Review, Oct. 28, 2010)

3. Customer Journey:

“The complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.” (Audra Sorman, SurveyMonkey Blog, 2014)

4. Customer Loyalty:

“The level of faithfulness shown by a customer in continuing to purchase a particular product or brand.” (Monash University, Business and Economics)

5. Customer Orientation:

“The belief that customers and their perspectives are of the highest value and consequence in an organization.” (Customer Service Psychology)

6. Customer Relationship Management (CRM):

“A system for tracking customer behavior for the purpose of developing marketing and relationship-building processes that bond the consumer to the brand.” (BrandChannel)

7. Customer Touchpoints:

“Represent every place, experience, and person with which/whom customers interact with your business.” (Elaine Fogel) That’s me.

Do you have other definitions you prefer?

This post was originally published in by Elaine Fogel

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Profile photo of Elaine Fogel
Elaine is a professional speaker, marketing thought leader, and author of Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success. She is a regular contributor to Business2Community, and SmallBizClub (founded by NFL Hall of Famer and author, Fran Tarkenton) and her articles have appeared in many publications. People in 100+ countries read her blog, Totally Uncorked on Marketing. She has also been a contributing writer for The Business Journal and MarketingProfs and her career has included stints as a cookbook author, teacher, singer, and television show host. Elaine Fogel Speaker: Elaine's Book: Totally Uncorked on Marketing blog:

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16 Responses to “7 Important Customer-Related Definitions You Should Know” Leave a reply ›

  • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

    Hi Elaine,

    This is a very handy post on customer-related definitions. It is helpful in the sense that the average marketer would be equipped with knowledge on how he/she is interacting with a customer.

    The customer is very critical for marketing success because without them a business does not exists.

    Well, I will bookmark this post to remind of what my relationship with the customer is truly is. I will also utilize the insights for proper customer relationship!

  • Profile photo of Sarah John Profile

    Hmm! A list of customer-related definition? This is interesting! Every marketer must understand the customer in totality.

    An extension of this knowledge is getting to know of these definitions.

    I don’t have any other definition to add but I must state that you did a good job compiling this list.

  • Profile photo of Thabo Nkomo Profile

    Hi Elaine,

    This is another fun and useful post. Nice job!

    The only thing I’d add, is my take on number 3–Customer Journey.

    My twist, because this is the way it happens most of the time, is:

    “The customer’s point of purchase journey”. It usually happens in three parts.

    1. Curiosity. The customer just wants to find out something about a product. Inexperienced sales people get excited at this stage, and this is often a big mistake. It’s not that you shouldn’t show passion, of course you should. That said, remember what the mission of the customer is at this point–simply to find out information.

    For example, a customer doing research on men’s dress shoes could be doing that because he or she wants to draw a man’s shoe. At this point the best thing to do is to just give them a good customer experience. You can, for example, ask why they want to draw men’s shoes. Maybe, they need to do so for an art or designer class.

    2. Specific Research. The second part of the point to purchase journey comes when a customer has done research and he or she is now looking not just for a shoe but a “light weight Rockport with wingtips”. This is the time to get excited. The customer wants to buy.

    3. Ready to Buy. The customer is ready to buy, more than 90% there, and is waiting for you to close the deal.

    This point of purchase journey may be subjected to little tweaks, but it holds true for most customers. Think back on the last big sales that you closed, and you’ll see what I mean.
    Thabo Nkomo recently posted…How Bloggers Can Stay Healthy Despite Sitting For HoursMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Elaine Fogel Profile

      Thanks for adding this, Thabo! Your description is certainly a common journey, especially in the B2C e-commerce and retail worlds.

      Depending on the product or service, the first customer touchpoint can come from anywhere. For example, in the B2B world, people can sign up for free resources (e.g. whitepaper, ebook, newsletter) but may not be ready to buy anything for months or years, if ever. However, when the need arises, companies that practice lead generation (and continue to communicate with subscribers offering valuable content) have the opportunity to send the “right” message at the “right” time.
      Elaine Fogel recently posted…10 Very Cool & Unusual Twitter Bios That Stand OutMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Celine Profile

    Hey Elaine,

    This is sure a post worth bookmarking. The definitions are hands-on and should inspire marketers to start providing better customer service.
    Knowledge of all these customer-based details is a precursor for better delivery in customer experience!

  • Profile photo of James Ling Profile

    Hey Elaine,

    This is helpful curated piece. I have an idea of most of the concepts shared here except for one: Customer TouchPoints.

    Well, the definition: “Represent every place, experience, and person with which/whom customers interact with your business.” is quite revealing!

    Thanks sharing this post!

  • Profile photo of Amit Sharan Profile

    Hi Elaine,

    You did a good job on this list. The readers will enjoy the presentation of vital customer related definitions. This knowledge will help redefine the stance with customer for better service delivery!

  • Profile photo of Marie Yovcheva Profile

    Hey Elaine,

    I think that when you’re constantly engaging with your customer, then the customer loyalty will be higher.. But everything ties in together. The more engagement, the better the customer experience and journey, the better chances of them coming back to you.

    Have a great day! :)
    Marie Yovcheva recently posted…Asking The Experts-Leads & ConversionsMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Lawrence Berry Profile

    I think one of the most important word on here is customer experience. Every business owner or customer service representative should know that this is very important because it can make or break a company. People want to know that they are taken care of in the fastest, most efficient way possible. If you can do this, you increase the chances of that customer coming back to you for more and even recommending you to other people. These are all great words to know! Thanks for sharing.
    Lawrence Berry recently posted…6 Habits of Extremely Happy PeopleMy Profile

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