Rescue your business from the soulless language of CX

Here’s something mildly ironic.

Customer experience, the discipline that wants to put emotion and how people really feel at the heart of business, is terrible at communicating.

There’s no excuse for it. CX people understand that our gut emotional reaction is crucial to how we behave. And they know that breaking down internal barriers and buying people into the need to change is half the battle. So you’d expect them to be really great at making sure everyone sits up and pays attention to what they’re saying.

But what does the CX industry call the cumulative hopes, fears, delights and worries of thousands of people?

Voice Of Customer (VOC).

And what about the myriad challenges of keeping those people happy no matter how, where or why they want to deal with you?

Customer Experience Management (CEM).

Pow! Sign me up for the revolution!

They’re all just dry nouns. Where’s the zest? Where’s the action? Where’s the clever thinking? CX people in practice are all about pushing boundaries and rethinking processes, but apparently that doesn’t extend to the language they use. Is it any wonder people aren’t particularly motivated to put VOC at the heart of CEM? I’d rather put an F-O-R-K in my E-Y-E.

There’s another problem.

Better customer experience means caring more about the people who buy your products and use your services. You have to empathise with them, understand their frustrations, put their needs first. But this jargon-filled language is cold and abstract. Even the word ‘customer’ reduces a human to their transactional value – it adds just a little extra distance between the company and the person at the other end. Can you really empathise with people when you’re talking about customer sentiment analysis at key touchpoints? (When what you really mean is how people feel when they deal with us.)

If you’re serious about reshaping your business from your customers’ point of view, then you have to ditch the marketing-speak and start talking like a human. Our friend Jorge Mascarenhas, Telefónica’s Head of Customer Experience, gave some advice at our event last year: ‘Don’t talk about retention. Just say: we want customers to stay with us.’

My advice: make stuffy, jargon-heavy language the first barrier you break down when you start trying to improve your customer experience.