Drinking the CX Kool-Aid?

August 5, 2015 4:26 am

An article came out last week entitled “Customer Experience is the New Competitive Battleground in B2B.” Perhaps it was just a title thing, but the premise of the title bugged me.


I think it’s because while it’s TRUE that Customer Experience is a competitive battleground, this is not really a NEW idea, at all…

..but maybe that wasn’t exactly why.

The irritation stuck with me.  I pondered on it:  The balance of the article was relatively benign, and it included some stats reinforcing the importance of CX that were not necessarily B2B focused.

It was because it was nothing controversial or new.  

I’m tired of articles like this.  It was a representation of many other articles on CX that are being published today; little more than a regurgitation of 5-10 year old ideas and concepts, repurposed with a few updated stats.

This is why I hate reading MOST of the stuff written about CX today.

By and large, I find the themes, advice, steps and counsel to be basically the same ideas we’ve been talking about for years – only slightly recycled – with varying results.

Have you noticed this, too?

Now, if you are a newbie, you might not recognize this pattern, which means this post isn’t intended for you. However, if you’ve been in the industry say, 6+ years… keep reading!

Why?  Do articles like this really do us any good?

Perhaps we have swallowed the counsel of content marketers and branding experts who tell us that we must prove our worth by producing more “stuff” and pushing it incessantly through every possible channel?   Is it possible we’ve accepted the notion that doing this might actually trump client delivery as our best marketing asset as well as the measure of our success?

Are we posting stuff just to post stuff?!

Perhaps I’m just cranky. I will admit to being equally crabby about the “experts” that are spewing out diatribes on the following topics:

  • The crowd economy
  • The sharing economy
  • Social media
  • Personal branding
  • Influencer marketing
  • Community management
  • Content Marketing

Are CX practitioners now guilty of the same thing? 

Looking back, I started writing about customer experience management in 2005, after pioneering for years in eCommerce, building startups and working with leading companies and a big-5 consultancy. I was full of insight and passion about applying my rather unique background to help define and shape customer experience.

Back then, “CX” wasn’t “a thing.”

There weren’t customer experience-related titles or job postings. There were no Chief Experience Officers. Few people really understood the work I did, and while it wasn’t initially an easy sell for clients, I was blessed to be busy enough. I spent the balance of my time pouring my soul into thought pieces on the topic.

However, by 2009, I had grown weary of writing about CX.

As I’d predicted in my early posts, the shine eventually wore off the CRM industry, and when it did, the terms CEM and CX became the new industry darlings. By this time, the CX chum was in the water and there was a hot, somewhat competitive rush to brand oneself as an “expert”, author, industry group leader, certification provider… etc. I had a number of colleagues in the space and enjoyed some of my interaction with other practitioners on social media. Over time, though, I began to withdraw, as the entire CX landscape began to feel like an increasingly cavernous echo chamber that has only grown exponentially since then.  I got to a point where, instead of being inspired and excited by the dialog it made me tired.

This was the catalyst for some significant change.

Against the counsel of my colleagues, a cadre of social media experts, “influencers” and marketing celebrities, instead of writing more, instead of promoting myself and my company more, I decided to refocus in a manner that cut entirely against the popular grain. I determined that I would direct our energies differently and determined to:

  • Stop giving away our IP in blog posts
  • Spend substantially less time creating promotional material, graphics & content
  • Ratchet back significantly on all social media channels
  • Refuse to engage in silly debates and echo chamber discussions
  • Discontinue attendance at conferences that would not produce serious growth
  • Let the work justify itself

I spent some time thinking about where I wanted myself and my company to be and decided from then on that we would:

  • Spend 80% of our time actually doing *remarkable client work
  • Work for world changers, technology makers and excellence junkies
  • Do projects that scare us, stretch us and drive our growth
  • Keep people squarely at the center of everything we do
  • Focus on driving meaningful and measurable transformations

**Note: Remarkable for us means that we do the kind of work our clients are inspired to share with others, and praise it based on merit. This, combined with repeat business is how we exclusively measure our success.

This not only paid off for the clients we serve, resulting in 100% client word-of-mouth — it has tripled our annual revenue.

This experience has taught me that dancing to the beat of my own drum doesn’t necessitate tooting my own horn in an echo chamber.

Solomon once said “There is nothing new under the sun.” A lot of the stuff we’re putting out there, branded as “fresh” is well past its expiration date on a sniff test. The problem is, some of us are too drunk on our own Kool-Aid to know it. The litmus test is the value we’re adding with our contributions.

Now might be a good time to ask whether your company is making echoes or helping raise the bar. Your clients know the answer.

When we lose touch of our true purpose and mission as CX, UX practitioners, business and/or marketing consultants, strategists, etc. — we become a shadow of what we’re meant to be – and faceless in the crowd. However, if we can stay humble – and in touch with our purpose – we can drive the kinds of meaningful transformations that help change minds, hearts and the experiences of the people we serve – and business as we know it.


Categorised in: , , , ,

Comments are closed here.