Beware of the vanity project within customer experience

August 29, 20180 comments

‘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 only reading content relating to the correct of the two wildly different definitions of customer experience which have been established. One is a force for gain for all, the other a force for gain for a few.

The correct and healthy CX focus if 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”

The focus here is on helping companies to identify what matters most to their customers and how to improve the associated experience to attract an increasing level of 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. These are penned and provided by some great practitioners who happily stay in the wings; clientside or consultants who recognise the solutions are the true heroes and they are merely 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.

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 books covering many angles.What more could be said. So now the effort should be on application. 
So it’s very important to avoid the second definition of customer experience:

“The value created by often uqualified individuals or companies using CX primarily as a means to create personal financial gain”

Sadly these leads to many mediocre books, second rate speakers (poor content overpowered by delivery style) and case studies (without the context connected). These serve the providers and presenters well,feeding egos and euros in equal measure. But they are nothing more than re-purposed content often featuring outdated or unsubstantiated ‘observations’ from others or outdated polished pomp. 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 been proven less reliable. Like a one hit pop star, it’s a challenge to dismiss previous hits if they provide an income, so the ‘CX pretenders’ continue to play to any audience willing to listen.

Their advice and inspiring soundbites may quench a thirst and even taste good but will ultimately be difficult to digest and add little to no value, soon leaving you hungry again.

So how can you tell the good from the bad? Simply beware of those putting ME before the 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 ask of anything CX related, ‘does it put the customer first?’. If the answer no, walk away.

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.


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