Over the last 5 years business journals have [mistakenly] exhorted companies to improve their customer experience.  Even though a variety of companies, consultants, and other professionals will benefit handsomely from this purported “wisdom” they’re wrong!

Here are 3 reasons the customer experience is overrated.

  1. Customers don’t care about the experience – in fact customers are more interested in what your products do.  When companies put together their strategic plans, they invest in building products that meet market needs.  Companies market, sell, and support their products because this is what customers buy.  Customers don’t buy the “experience.”
  2. Positive customer experiences won’t make or break your company – whether you invest $1 or $1M in customer experiences you’ll never be able to satisfy all your customers.  Looked at this way, the investments are only marginally effective. 
  3. Extraordinary experiences cost too much – corporate executives are more interested in profitability than delivering positive experiences.  Said another way, management seeks ways to increase revenues and decrease costs.  Each investment in the customer experience adds cost.  As a result, companies shouldn’t focus there.

So before you mindlessly accept conventional wisdom, I urge you to re-examine your business priorities.  Companies exist to make a profit which is why so many management teams are focused on minimizing customer acquisition costs and reducing ongoing lifecycle expenditures. 

In each instance above (and others), the pivot point is that investments in the customer experience are wasted efforts that do little to improve a business.  If you make a living from improving the customer experience, I hope the truth doesn’t get out.  Instead, let’s hope companies continue to “buy” the nonsense of improving the “customer experience” as a way to win and keep customers.

Did you make it this far?  Hope your blood isn’t boiling.  It is always difficult to come up with some compelling “anti-experience” messages for my annual April Fool’s post (others here).  Even as I wrote the post, I knew many readers might agree with my “assertions.”  For those people, the notes above are made in jest and demonstrably false.  In fact:

  1. Experience is everything (from Inc.)
  2. Bad experiences may not kill a company, but they can sure hurt (see this example of one highly publicized bad experience eliminating $1.4B in market capitalization)
  3. Customers will pay for better experiences

If I “got you” please share with others on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or another favorite social media platform. Happy April Fool’s! Consider subscribing to my regular blog posts here (bottom right corner).

3 Reasons the Customer Experience is Overrated
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