What is Customer Experience? For starters, it is a discipline that has been around long enough to have its own experts, happy to give you a definition. In the end, it is a discipline focused on looking at the way a customer engages with you from their perspective, and then improving upon that relationship for increased loyalty. The way that companies manage this is by defining what they want the customer experience to be for each customer, and then working to try to make that a reality. A grocery store that is focused on customer experience is concerned not only with selling you that pear, but also on what brought you into the store, how you will consume their produce at the end of the day, and what needs to be done to make sure you will be back.
The Customer experience discipline came out of industries such as banking and telecom, but as it becomes more accepted, it is now being applied in more diverse areas, such as government, B2B focused firms, and not-for-profits.
I find the possibilities for applying customer experience in other areas to be a high impact proposition. For me, I often think back to my time working in emerging and frontier markets. Customer experience design is only beginning to reach some of these areas, and I think the potential for this approach in those regions can fundamentally redefine larger concepts, such as globalization, international development, and innovation for the poor.
Oh! If you are interested in some of those experts, and their definitions, here are a few to consider:
Bruce Temkin http://experiencematters.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/free-book-the-6-new-management-imperatives/
Finally, a note about abbreviation: the industry abbreviation in English is CX, but I will usually write it as CE, since that translates better in languages outside of English.