For better or for worse, customers can now share their brand interactions far and wide. And they have high expectations for those interactions to be positive ones. According to Harris Interactive, 86 percent of consumers will stop interacting with and buying from businesses if they have a single bad experience. In an eConsultancy survey, 89 percent of consumers said a great customer experience is a key factor in brand loyalty.

So what exactly is customer experience? Customer experience is made up of every interaction that a customer has with your organization, and how he or she perceives those interactions. Whether an individual is reading an email from your company, visiting your website, engaging with your brand on social media, speaking to an employee personally, or using your product or service, every touchpoint is a part of your brand’s customer experience.

Here are six reasons why businesses can’t afford to ignore the customer experience and should strive to create the best experience possible for their customers:

1. It boosts customer loyalty. When customers feel cared for and catered to in their interactions with a company, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their experiences with that business. This satisfaction in turn reduces customer churn while increasing a customer’s willingness to repurchase and recommend that company to others.

2. It attracts new customers. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. When you wow your customers, they are likely to share those experiences with others, both online with people they may not even know and in more personal conversations, which drives more awareness of your brand and more new customers.

3. It increases revenue. By reducing customer churn, increasing the number of brand advocates and engaging new customers, a seamless customer experience can help increase your revenue. Customer experience can also help drive revenue by encouraging larger or upgraded purchases, such as a first-class flight instead of coach, for example, or a customer bundling their home and auto insurance policies.

4. It creates a competitive advantage. While it still plays an important role in purchasing decisions, price is no longer the differentiator that it once was. According to Gartner, 64 percent of people think customer experience is more important than price in their choice of brand. People like doing business with businesses that they like, and that affinity can be cultivated through a carefully considered customer experience.

5. It engages employees. Employees today want to be proud of where they work, and a big part of that comes from knowing that their employers will do right by their customers. Organizations that are committed to the customer experience also have more engaged and empowered employees.

6. It transforms organizations. To be effective, customer experiences must touch every aspect of an organization. This can be truly transformative to a company, making them think more purposefully about the way they conduct business and shaping organizations from the inside out.

A great customer experience is a recipe for success