Is Customer Experience Really a New Discipline?


Customer Experience really is a new discipline. There’s no doubt about it.

When I think of customer experience (management, design, metrics) it reminds me what happened about 20 years ago with financial planners. Before this specialty appeared, we had attorneys and accountants. Then, tax accountants and estate attorneys. Next, bankers created the trust officer. After that, voila, financial planners appeared on the client side to help us (now undereducated consumers) navigate the new maze we created for ourselves. So, out of complexity came a new discipline that made the world easier to understand.

Customer experience is everything we do for and to customers and how it makes them feel.

When there’s a change to the customer experience, there are, of course, changes throughout the organization at all different touch points and in all the silos. (Imagine when restaurants start taking orders with iPads how that will affect marketing, operations, training, manpower planning, OSHA, kitchen capacity, etc.) So far, there isn’t an equivalent to the financial planner discipline. We surely need one.

An integrated-marketing-with-operations-with-people-with-brand-with-finance department is what we need. New relationships between departments/silos need to be forged to make customer experience work better for everyone. Shared context in which everyone can work compatibly and enjoyably needs to be introduced. Effective language needs to be established so that the different departments that make experiences happen can talk with each other without ending up in a turf war.

This is the work of the successful Chief Customer Officer or Managing Director of Customer Experience for 2011-2012. Let’s get to work!

About the Author:

Since 1998, as IBM’s eVisionary, he has been designing and developing experiences that differentiate brands and deliver bottom-line results. Mike has worked on over 700 client engagements in 26 countries. He understands first-hand the value of properly translating across cultures. As a facilitator, Mike has been used as a board-level facilitator by LeasePlan (Europe and Mexico), Habasit, TELUS (Canada), PartnerTech (now Scanfil), Meeting Planners International, the Institute of Management Consultants and other organizations to develop strategy, articulate vision/direction, and encourage alignment. Mike founded StoryMiners, one of the world’s first experience design consulting agencies, in 2002. The firm is known for its ability to find the essence of a company, brand, or service and translate it into a compelling experience that helps clients shape their futures. The value of his work is estimated at over $1.6 billion in sales won, expenses cut, and brand value added. Mike is the world’s only working speaker, consultant, and experience designer to have earned the top designations in his chosen fields (CSP, CMC, CCXP). Mike earned his MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. He works in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and gets by in Russian ;-)