Seven Reasons Why CX Will Thrive, Not Die

Colin Shaw recently wrote an interesting post RIP Customer Experience – Seven reasons why Customer Experience is in danger of dying. He starts by saying:

“I am becoming increasingly concerned that the focus on improving the ‘Customer Experience’ is heading the same way as CRM, into failure.”

My take: I applaud Shaw for initiating this discussion. It’s important for those of us who believe in customer experience (CX) management to examine—and continually evaluate—its evolution. So it’s a very appropriate topic to raise. From my standpoint, however, I don’t think CX management is in any danger of dying. Quite the opposite. Here are seven reasons why CX will thrive, not die:

  1. CX is not CRM. The CRM movement was almost entirely focused on technology and internal processes and was driven by technology vendors such as Siebel, Peoplesoft, Oracle, and SAP. The CX movement is being driven by practitioners. As long as CX management remains a discipline and does not become thought of as a “tech sector,” then it will not follow in the footsteps of CRM.
  2. CX is more like quality. As I discuss in My Manifesto: Great Customer Experience Is Free, the CX movement is a lot like the quality movement of the 1980s. I “borrowed” and slightly altered a quote about quality: Good customer experience is an achievable, measureable, profitable entity that can be installed once you have commitment and understanding, and are prepared for hard work. Quality was a large issue for U.S. firms that was resolved by strong executive commitment, centralized leadership and skill development, and evolved into a dispersed set of enterprise-wide capabilities.
  3. CX is a fundamental building block. Whether you care about CX or not, it is an integral component of every organization. Every time customers have any interaction—from a marketing impression to a customer service contact—they have an experience made up of functional, accessible, and emotional components. You can chose to ignore CX management, but CX will always exist.
  4. CX has well-defined ROI. Our research shows that good CX correlates to loyalty with consumers in both the U.S. and UK. We’ve also found that relationship hold true in B2B markets such as IT, pharmaceuticals and commercial banking. We also see more companies getting a handle around how CX affects their specific business results. As long as the business case remains strong for providing good CX, companies will continue to care about it.
  5. CX professionals are growing. CX management is no longer a “cottage industry” where a handful of people attempt to do things on there own in a “trial and error” mode. Our research shows that there are more than 100,000 CX professionals in North America. These CX professionals are increasingly connecting with each other, sharing learnings and best practices, and establishing repeatable activities within their organizations.
  6. CX management is maturing. The early stages of CX maturity, CX Intrigue and CX Exuberance, looked similar to many boom and bust cycles that characterized trends like CRM. But our research shows that we are entering into the era of CX Professionalism where CX management practices are being codified and permeated across many organizations. Once these practices take hold and drive success within companies, it will be hard to abandon them.
  7. CX has the CXPA. The reason we founded the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org) was to ensure that the practice not only survives, but that it thrives. With the power of a non-profit professional association at its back, the CX management field is likely to get better, stronger, and more influential.

The bottom line: Together we can make sure that CX management thrives

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

5 Responses to Seven Reasons Why CX Will Thrive, Not Die

  1. Colin Shaw says:

    Bruce, you raise some good points. Having said this I also still see too many Senior Exec’s looking for a silver bullet; too many people just changing their job titles to say ‘Customer Experience’ and not changing what they do and other areas my orginal post outlines.

    As I outlined I am being provocative to highlight some of these issues… I sincerely hope you are right and I am wrong! 

  2. Mishbatt says:

    I think both of you are raising great points and establishing good discussion for us to consider. So, thank you! It’s funny (or not) but I see all of this happening. I think some companies in industries with old management philosophies are still struggling with this type of transformation. My hope is that the more progressive companies and us practitioners will prevail and continue building the Customer Experience discipline. Let’s say our CX prayers! Thanks again to both of you!

  3. Mishbatt says:

    PS… We look forward to seeing you in DC in November Bruce! Thanks!

  4. Great discussion, I think that CX will always be around, but I do think that what it means to ‘traditionally’ practice CX is changing. For the purpose of this discussion, I’ll use UX/CX as one in the same, as I don’t feel that there’s any true semantic differentiation. And I’ll repost a question I asked on Quora recently about “What are the key disruptive trends that will impact the UX profession in the coming years?”

    “While I am confident that UX has, and will always have, a fundamental role in business, I’ve recently been considering the changes in the UX profession in the past decade. The field is evolving, and I’m interested to hear about what others are seeing in the field that will impact / disrupt / change it currently means to be “UX Professional” of the future.

    There are a few themes/trends I’m seeing, notably:

    – The growth and expansion of UX software solutions – online surveys have been around for years, but the last few years I’ve more and more software replacing what was often the manual domain of researchers (e.g. usability testing, card sorting) and designer/developers (e.g. rapid prototyping tools). Many of these are taking a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ part of UX, at price points that are considerably cheaper than human-based UX work.

    – Market Speed – The speed at which products / apps (even companies) are developed and deployed has forced us to rethink UX strategy (e.g. the LeanUX movement is, in part, a reaction to the need for speed). I called this the “Tyranny of Change” in a blog last year. http://www.upassoc.org/upa_publi

    – The UX discipline as a ‘required skill’ as part of other professional roles – I’ve been in various discussions with other folks in the field about how UX skills are now listed as required for roles like Software Developers and Business Analysts. No doubt two of many professions that could use a UX mindset, but companies are now considering endemic to such roles.

    – The growing power of Big Data / Analytics – The ability to analyze and predict human behavior based on data analysis is already powerful and arguably in it’s infancy. I’ve seen many great articles/discussions on the argument for the ‘truth’ and validity in utilizing quantitative volumes of cross-referenced data (vs. qualitative ethnographic learnings).”

    So, what’s a CX/UX professional to do amidst this change? I know I’m not alone in feeling a little existential ennui. There is, I believe, a very bright spot amidst this change. Because what I do see remaining is the need for dedicated leadership in strategic ux/cx roles. To Bruce’s point above “You can chose to ignore CX management, but CX will always exist.” It’s a role that all companies (especially larger ones) that can’t be replaced with a new software, or process, or data whiz. The customer voice does not survive long amidst the politics, thinking patterns, and KPI motivators across workstreams. It need executive sponsorship, oversight, and teeth. And as Bruce’s surveys point out, some have figured that out, but there are plenty of companies failing to adapt, and the calls for this type of leadership are growing.

    Thanks,
    Ronnie Battista

  5. Jvalentinevoc says:

    My take…once you’re in…..you’re in! It is very difficult to say that customers are no longer important or a focus in a company and the moment you decide to take this course of action…..enter at your own rist……as customers will know/feel it! I’m parked with Bruce on this one!

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