UX CX discrimination is XXXX to me

Gary - 13 th April 2016

The sudden emergence of a new job title often reflects the acknowledgement within business that a new discipline has become important and worth doing, especially if that job title starts appearing on the board. I don’t mean some of the weird and wonderful ones I have seen recently such as ‘Digital Overlord’, ‘Dream Alchemist’ and ‘Thinking Partner’ as these are simply attempts to re-present old jobs in new clothes (Head of Digital, Creative Director and Media Planner) rather than the emergence of something new and business critical. I mean those titles which didn’t exist a few years ago but now represent a wholly new discipline and are now all prevalent and becoming more and more powerful.

The titles that have caught our attention in the past 5 years are those such as Chief Customer Officer, Customer Experience Manager, Chief Experience Officer, Head of User Experience, Head of UX Design and so on. There are loads of different titles all in the area of Customer Experience and User Experience. It seems to be the place to be.

It’s not difficult to see why companies have seen the need to appoint senior positions in this area. Competitive differentiation has been commoditised away and the only way to do it is through ‘experience’. Doing CX well correlates with higher revenue, increased loyalty, and improved stock performance but many companies are tackling it by creating new digital departments and creating more silos.

New silos, new job titles, lots of jargon and consumer confusion is probably the norm when business is faced with change but in this instance it really puzzles me, surely it is simple. We should not be bothering to distinguish between CX and UX at all.

As evidence m’laud let me present the case of Moose Cabs (not their real name of course, but the story is real and based on a Taxi company in Hatfield)

I have recently been visiting Hatfield on a regular basis for meetings with one of our newest clients; David Lloyd Clubs. Their HQ is based at a David Lloyd Club (which is a brilliant club which I can highly recommend) and is too far to walk from the station so I have to get a taxi every time.

I order the taxi by phone but the so called ‘UX’ has blown my mind.  I get a text telling me it is on time, what colour it is, the registration and the name of the driver. Magnificent. When I re-order my taxi it has stored my normal journeys and asks me to select which one I need; ‘select from journey 2 or 3’. Genius, it even send me a nice little thank you. Fabulous.

Fantastic UX. Couldn’t be easier or more insightful. Cigar time.

So how are things in the Moose cabs CX department?

The taxi kept turning up at the wrong door to pick me up when I am returning so I called them to ask them specifically to go to the office entrance. Not once has this happened. The walk isn’t long between the two entrances but long enough to get soaking wet and if you are a little late you get a rather sharp text informing you that ‘waiting charges will be incurred’. To add to this the drivers are not Hatfield’s finest. Probably the grumpiest, non-conversant set of drivers this side of Moscow and the cars are old and tatty.

Thumbs down for the Moose Cabs CX department.

The lesson it is that it was like dealing with two different companies. I went from CX to UX to CX to UX back to CX. There was no unified experience and definitely no alignment to the brand (Moose cabs vision is to be the most personal cab company in the world…they have been reading Jim Collins)

OK, small scale stuff you might argue but the same thing happens in big multi billion pound companies every day. We worked with one which had its UX ‘department’ on one side of the building and the CX side on the other. They dressed differently, spoke differently and there was open war between them. One side positively gleamed if the other fouled up and nobody seemed to recognise that to their customers the question of whether it is CX or UX that fouled up is irrelevant, it is all one brand to them.

So all this UX and CX discrimination is XXXX to me.  Whether it is face to face, over the phone or online, they are all just other channels, part of the series of touchpoints amongst the 1000s that build brands.  I predict that soon it will sort itself out. Companies will put all their ‘X’ in one basket; Customer Experience is the new battleground, its already the way brands compete and differentiate and Customer Experience will be the place to be and the job title to have. 

Gary is the chairman and one of the original founders of Brand Vista. With over 20 years of brand experience both on the client and agency side he loves finding out what customers and consumers are really thinking and turning this knowledge into compelling brand propositions that succeed in the real world.
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