Customer Experience (CX) is obviously a central concept for the UX industry. But in what way do we actually work with it? And how good are we at delivering a great customer experience? As usual in my posts where I analyze the UX industry I will differ between the B2C process and the B2B process.
Pareigis (2014b) makes the distinction between CX as knowledge of customers, CX as a new type of offering (different from goods and services), and CX as a new construct for understanding customer evaluations. This distinction sets the finger on why I think it’s hard to understand what service logic (or any close-to-synonyms) is all about. Realizing that different people might mean somewhat different things is an important step on my way to understand what I really should do with these ideas. (While reflecting on this I also realized that it is a problem that the concept of “services” is used to denote everything and anything, which I elaborate on in another post.) I do think that all of these perspectives are of interest within the B2C process as well as the B2B process. However, I do think that each perspective have a slightly different touch within each process.
CX within the B2C process
In the B2C process I would say that the perspective CX as knowledge of customers is the fundament of any UX designers job. We need to reflect on the customers situation in order to make a good design. I think the UX industry is already pretty good at this.
To see CX as a new type of offering is something that I believe is a much larger step to take. It means that the service provider (or ‘experience stager’) has to decide to target customers of the most premium of offers (Pine & Gilmore, 1998), and it means to be totally dedicated to deliver the best experience possible. Thus, many of our clients will not be ready, or even want to work with customer experience on this level. Rawson, Duncan and Jones (2013) outlines a process of working with this premium experience design. As they state, the root causes of poor customer experience always stem from the inside. Therefore it is necessary that the organization is ready to undergo a major change to be able to deliver this premium experience. Also, this kind of focus on superior customer experience might have a rather tight limit on how much the business can grow, as this kind of experience is expensive to deliver (Verhoef et al, 2009, p. 38). Most clients are not ready for this, and thus most UX designers have not worked fully with this perspective. It requires a specific set of skills, which I do not think that most UX designers have.
As a new construct for understanding customer evaluations I believe this is extremely important in the B2C process. However, I do think that our clients are not always expecting this kind of broader perspective on a customer evaluation. Thus, I believe it is an important skill for a UX designer to help the client understand the value of a feedback that goes outside of what the company can influence directly. As Kristensson (2013) points out, it is important to not only rely on the customers predictions of value. He also highlights the fact that customers remember the value of an experience incorrectly. In order for the customers to remember the value more correctly Kristensson suggests to remind the users of data that was gathered during the experience, and also to use high quality communication opportunities. But an interesting philosophical thought is whether we actually should remind the customers? If there are psychological mechanisms that makes people forget some things, why not just work with the things they remember?
CX within the B2B process
In the B2B process I think the UX industry is less well prepared to work with the customer experience. When looking at CX as knowledge of customers I already stated in an earlier post that I think it is of the utmost importance that we adapt to our clients understanding of the service logic perspective. We need to more clearly target different types of clients according to their knowledge of how to make use of our services.
CX as a new type of offering could most definitely add value to the services of the UX industry. Especially for the individual UX business I think that it’s important to “stage a good show” in order for the clients to keep buying their services. To me, this perspective is about giving the best experience possible.
I also believe that CX as a new construct for understanding customer evaluations could be really helpful for the UX industry to better implement. Of course we should go to the broader perspective also when evaluating our services (experiences) delivered to our clients.
In order to improve the B2B process within the UX industry I believe that it could be interesting to analyze our services from the perspective of the model presented by Echeverri (2015). Are the five specific practices (informing, greeting, delivering, charging, helping) the most relevant ones for our services? Do we and our customers achieve congruence within the expectations on what procedures, understandings and engagements that each practice should consist of? My experience says that it is quite common with incongruence in the UX industry – that is, our clients have other expectations than we do, thus we feel that we are not allowed to do what we want, and they are not totally satisfied with what we are doing. Furthermore, is it enough for us to make sure that we and our clients have the same expectations? Many actors are involved in a UX process, and any of them can work either with or against our proposed perspective, much like the customer experience of one customer can be strongly influenced by another (Verhoef et al 2009, p.35).
So what does the UX industry need to do to better work with CX?
- Identify what skills are needed to work with customer experience as a new type of offering
Look into how to make better evaluations of the customer experience (starting point: Pareigis (2014a) and Kristensson (2013))
- Figure out how to better explain what a client organization should do with a customer evaluation that has a broader perspective
- Define different types of clients with respect to their knowledge, experience and expectations of our services
- Define strategies for handling the above mentioned different types of clients
- Define an evaluation of our B2B services that takes on the broader perspective discussed above
- Analyze the UX industry from the model of Echeverri (2015)
- Follow the process of Rawson, Duncan and Jones for the B2B process of the UX industry:
- Identify key journeys;
- understand current performance;
- redesign the experience and engage the front line;
- implement the changes across the organization
- modifying the organization and its processes to deliver excellent journeys,
- adjusting metrics and incentives to support journeys, not just touchpoints
- Follow up Verhoef et al (2009) to find the latest research on customer experience
- Echeverri, 2015. Value co-creation and co-destruction in service encounters.
- Kristensson, P., 2013. User experiences of new digital welfare solutions.
- Pareigis, J., 2014a. Interactive value formation and customer experience.
- Pareigis, J., 2014b. Three perspectives of customer experience.
- Pine & Gilmore, 1998. Welcome to the Experience Economy.
- Rawson, Duncan and Jones, 2013. The Truth About Customer Experience.
- Verhoef et al., 2009. Customer Experience Creation