What Customer Experience Is NOT!


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Did you know customer experience is the new:

  • marketing
  • customer advantage
  • trend in business
  • user interface
  • answer ????


No. It’s not.

It’s not any of these things, and yet I keep seeing blog posts and articles and podcasts and books that make these claims. It’s not new. It’s not a trend. And it’s not only about digital or only about content marketing or only about sales personas. It’s just not.

Let’s break down how I’m seeing these claims, as one of the “old timers” around these parts.

1. It’s not marketing.

Customer experience is about the entire journey your customer has with your organization. Marketing, and the promise marketing makes to prospects, is definitely a part of customer experience. But it doesn’t stop after the customer becomes a customer. In fact, the experience begins before they know your brand all the way through when they leave you. It’s not a marketing gimmick. If that’s the way you’re looking at it, you’re going to let down customers from the very beginning of the relationship.


2. It’s not a new customer advantage.

While customers have more “power” than in the past, depending on how you look at it, customer experience has always been a top consideration for the best companies. Knowing customers can post online reviews shouldn’t be the great motivator for delivering exceptional experiences for customers. Avoiding mean tweets shouldn’t be the motivator, either. Customers have always cared about how you treat them. This is not new.


3. It’s not a trend.

This one really gets to me. One quote from a recent article said: “Customer experience (also known as CX) is the new marketing, and it’s also one of the hottest trends in business right now.” This rolled up so many things about what’s wrong with this mindset! If customer experience is a trend, then we’re all in trouble. Trends are short-lived and fleeting. Your customer’s experience, whether you invest in it or not, should not be something you consider as a trend. It will happen regardless of your attention to it. It just might not be a good result for the customer or for your organization.

4. It’s not just digital or social.

Your customers don’t give a hoot about your silos or org charts. Digital is part of the experience ecosystem, just like paper bills and in-store salespeople and the receptionist who answers the phone. Claiming your customer experience is great because you roll out a new app is as short-sighted as it gets. Don’t define your customer’s experience based on your part of the org chart.


5. It’s not the only answer.

Blasphemy, right? Me, a veteran customer experience consultant, claiming it’s not one true way! Well, customer experience has to be supported by all the nuts and bolts of standard business. This means you have to deal with operational limitations, industry regulations and sometimes just the way it’s always been done. Those who are suddenly shouting from the rooftops about customer experience don’t necessarily understand the back-end realities that make it really work.

Ok, climbing off my soapbox now. What else is customer experience NOT? I could go on and on, but what do you have to say?

Image credits: jurvetson, jbcurio, hahn.elizabeth34, Traveloscopy via Creative Commons license

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


  1. Great post, Jeannie! It funny, I called my car manufacturer yesterday to check on a warranty issue and they don’t have a customer service team–they have a customer experience team. I can guess what you’d say about that. It’s still ok to have a customer service team that is a cog in the greater customer experience.

  2. Thanks, Jeremy! Yes, changing the name doesn’t really do anything for the customer. It’s all about action!


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