‘Customer Experience’ is a very popular business expression these days. It features heavily in everything from boardroom agendas, to Amazon book lists, to the events & conference circuit to LinkedIn posts.
But what you must be careful of is making sure you are only reading content from sources connected to the right one of the two wildly different servings of customer experience which have emerged. One has a ‘gain for all’ motto, whilst the other a ‘gain for me’ sentiment.
The correct and healthy definition for CX is one that delivers value to clients and their customers and has been around since before ‘CX’ had a label. It is expressed (broadly) as follows:
“The value created from the sum of the interactions between a customer and company throughout the term of their relationship”
Those providing support services to clients seeking to improve their CX focus on helping companies to identify what matters most to their customers and how to improve the associated experience to attract an increasing level of positive commitment from customers on a sustainable basis.
And there are a myriad of great books (see below), helpful practitioners guidance notes and insightful case studies to fuel your CX thinking if you chose not to engage the better CX advisory companies now established. These are penned and provided by some great practitioners who happily stay in the wings; client-side or consultants, recognising the solutions are the true heroes and they are the enablers.
Accepting CX evolves and everything from customer expectations to the way it’s measured updates with it, are the hallmarks of progressive and proactive professionals in CX. We’ve found being connected with an elite number of practitioners, professionals and professors in CX keeps us up to date and always seeking a higher ground (if you are wed to an old model or measure or machine, you have to keep flogging it even if the metaphorical horse has already died).
This is an inclusive approach where the collective create gains for clients and customers alike dominate. Customer comes first.
I was approached to write a book on CX. In response to which I pointed out the set below – explaining there are enough good books out there covering many angles. What more could be said?The effort should be on the application of wisdom now. Then let’s regroup and review the scripts.
So it’s very important to avoid the second definition of customer experience:
“The value created by often lesser qualified individuals or companies using CX primarily as a means to create financial gain”
Sadly this has led to many mediocre books, second rate speakers (poor content overpowered by questionable delivery style) and case studies (without the context connected).
These serve the providers and presenters well, feeding egos and appearance euros in equal measure. But they are nothing more than re-purposed content often featuring outdated, re-purposed or unsubstantiated ‘observations’ from others.
But it’s getting easier to spot these pretenders from the true professionals.
CX is an evolving discipline and many of the conventional ideas, models and measures have now been proven to be less reliable and damaging. But like a one hit wonder pop star, it’s too much of a challenge for these podium players, UX Unicorns, digital dinasours, solution serpents and other ‘CX pretenders’ to evolve. They have built their fortunes on a back catalogue, and struggle to adapt to new material.
Their advice and soundbites may quench the thirst before an all day conference break and even taste good compared to the buffet lunch but they will prove difficult to digest and ultimately add little to no substance, leaving your corporation still hungry for sense and success, but a little lighter in the pocket.
So how can you tell the good from the bad? It’s quite simple beware of those putting ME and US into CUSTOMER. Now we’ve shared the signs, you’ll spot them every time you pick up a CX book, click open a webinar, pay to hear a speaker or scan an article on customer experience.
But if you are unsure simply challenge their value with these,
- ‘Does it put the customer first?’
- ‘Will it improve our customer’s experience?’
- ‘Does everyone gain from the experience?’
- Can you substantiate the claim?
- Can you explain what happened before, what was the catalyst and how did you measure the change?
If the answers are yes, keep consuming!
The other way to spot a pretender is they will typically start their presentation with a story about the customer experience they endured en route to the event. Commonly known as the ‘a funny thing happened to me on the way here’ syndrome. Ironically, it never did.
Posted by Christopher Brooks, fan of progressive and productive CX which inspires practitioners and delivers gains to clients by generating genuine value for their customers.