If you consume any information about business, technology, or business technologies, you’ve doubtless come across two terms pretty frequently. Those terms are “customer experience” or “CX” and “user experience” or “UX.” The terms are refreshingly clear and direct, and focused on what ultimately determines the success, failure, and satisfaction levels of every customer and user interaction.
Herewith, a noteworthy aside. UX is a superset of CX. UX includes the experiences of both customers and those who deploy, use, and manage the underlying, enabling technologies. IT support people are not customers of a company, but they are definitely users and, in some senses, customers of the tools and services that help them do their jobs.
Given their importance, I fear too much current UX and CX discussion is too myopically focused on relevant technologies. Much of that discussion is currently fomented by companies historically focused on IT solutions, notably those created for customer relationship management (CRM) and IT service management (ITSM). Vendors ranging from Appian to Zendesk now copiously incorporate mention of CX and UX issues in their marketing and sales content. CRM market leaders such as Salesforce and Zoho and ITSM leaders such as Freshworks and ServiceNow have become particularly adept at positioning their solutions and technologies as enablers of CX and UX success.
Those solutions and technologies are only half of the CX/UX story, though.
CX and UX: More Than Technologies
Two factors ultimately determine the success of all CX and UX efforts: the enabling technologies, and the stories about those technologies that engage, inform, persuade, and invite customers and users. Those stories include everything from how users are introduced to and trained on the relevant technologies to how they’re instructed to ask questions and resolve issues.
Great CX and UX stories can help to set customer and user expectations, and to address and resolve issues and challenges. But perhaps their greatest business value is their ability to showcase and celebrate customer successes. Customer success stories engage, inform, persuade, and invite industry analysts and other influencers, other customers, and prospects to pay attention. After all, analysts, customers, and prospects all find customer stories far more compelling and convincing than anything a vendor or even some analysts may say.
Those who build, buy, deploy, and influence the purchase of CX and UX solutions need to pay more attention to how those technologies and the goals behind them are being explained, “marketed,” and “sold.” This is true for customers and for the internal users, largely within IT, who are responsible for deploying, managing, and supporting those experiences. Significant, sustained success depends on more and better synergies and integrations between those who build, buy, and deploy the relevant technologies and those who tell the stories that surround and support those technologies.
Better CX/UX Storytelling: Why and How
Initiatives ranging from digital transformation to support for work from home and work from anywhere demand greater cooperation and collaboration between technologists and marketers. And that cooperation and collaboration must always include a focus on crafting effective stories and telling them well. Nothing less will ensure that every customer and user always has the best possible experience, whatever the tasks or technologies involved.
A common process outline for UX or user interface (UI) design includes these steps: Empathize, Define, Ideation, Prototype, and Test. I invite you to consider adopting a similar outline for the process of creating the content you’ll need to tell the stories that enable and celebrate CX and UX success at your organization. And I hope I’ve persuaded you that the work required is both necessary and eminently worthwhile. After all, without your customers (and the users who support them), you’d have no business.