If you’ve been paying attention at all, you know that I have a few pet peeves, and jargon or “business speak” is one of them. Why now, in 2020, are we suddenly interested in our customers? Specifically: The Customer Experience (there’s an abbreviation, necessarily: CX)
Here’s how one source defines the Customer Experience:
CX is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business, from navigating the website to talking to customer service and receiving the product/service they bought from you. Everything you do impacts your customers’ perception and their decision to keep coming back or not—so a great customer experience is your key to success.
You might ask: how is that different than a company’s brand? (the expectation a customer has every time they interact with a company), or customer service? (how a customer is treated in every interaction with the company), or customer engagement? (every interaction with the customer), or general common courtesy? (treating customers as you would like to be treated).
In my humble opinion having been a supplier to marketing agencies, selling to marketing contacts in corporations and helping clients to develop their own marketing strategies, these “new” initiatives might be ways in which we justify our own existence. It’s been said that there is nothing new under the sun, and that’s certainly true of the Customer Experience (CX!).
Just as in branding, your customers are having an “experience” whether or not you have an official policy around it. Of course it’s a good idea to let your employees know how you expect them to treat your customers. This happens through training, the values exhibited by your leadership, the company mission statement (if they live it), your communication strategy, your brand attributes and setting customer service parameters.
I’m not at all suggesting that the customer experience is not important. I’m suggesting that company leaders maybe should have been thinking about that long before now. Do you really need a consultant to tell you that your customers may not be enjoying the experience if they have to wait in long lines, if they have to go through a million prompts and holds before getting a human on the phone or if you don’t deliver on anything you promise in print or in advertising? (If you do – call me! I’ll definitely charge you to tell you this stuff.)
There are legitimate reasons to hire a marketing person or use a marketing consultant. Every business owner or manager does not have marketing expertise and it makes sense to have an experienced person guide you through the process. Just don’t discount the advice because you can understand what the consultant is recommending!
In their defense, there may be some marketers that find jargon to be a necessary evil. In my corporate experience, if a supplier presented their product or service in plain easy-to-understand language, they were likely nudged out by competitors who literally “baffled the buyer with bullshit”. (I’m not sure why that was the case, but it was a reality in my world. If you work for a major corporation – please make that stop. You’re not getting the best suppliers.)
When you interview a consultant or freelance marketer and they talk about “leveraging world class experience with innovative, out-of-the-box solutions to identify core competencies, increase bandwidth and deliver robust results”… beware. You’re not likely to have the best customer experience. I’m just saying.
Barb Hendrickson is President of Visible Communication, LLC, President Emeritus of the Incentive Marketing Association and recipient of numerous Professional awards. Barb is a frequent speaker and trainer on Social Media, Storytelling, Using LinkedIn for Business, Incentives & Promotional Marketing and more.