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From UX to CX – Evolving the Enterprise

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During a recent conversation with my friend and mentor Jeff Sward, talk of evolution and revolution arose. Evolution to soften the harder edge of revolution to be more precise.

Said he (as close as I can get to the exact words), “When you start talking about change, most people hear ‘Revolution!’ and it’s uncomfortable for them. They’ll listen to you and perhaps nod and agree, and then go back to what they were doing. Back to what’s comfortable, safe, and unthreatening."

It’s a common fact that most people fear change. Of any kind. At any time. No matter how beautifully wrapped and packaged. Corporations are the same if taken as the holistic enterprise that they are. No matter the needs and desires of the individuals who make up the enterprise, the entity has a persona separate from them. And while no company can work without its people, THE COMPANY has to answer to lofty questions and adhere to strict standards.

User Experience, the practice and philosophy, is undergoing a rebirth of sorts, both in designation and scope yet all too often it’s still the thing most companies want to tack on at the end to make it all look pretty. “Okay,” says the sales manager to the services manager, “let’s get this over to UX so they can do whatever it is they do.” This conversation has many variations and most miss the mark considerably, and if you’ve read any of my previous posts or I’ve had the pleasure of leading you through a workshop, you know what I’m referring to. Right? UI does not equal UX. And vice-versa. And, I might add, neither can exist in a silo.

Tyler Trollinger posted an article from HBR - "Leaders Focus Too Much on Changing Policies, and Not Enough on Changing Minds” that is core to this culture shift and it’s what I feel is the next best step - the evolution in which we come to understanding all users as customers.  

On my one year journey in Cincinnati last year I had the privilege of meeting Marc Macaluso at the Design Thinking workshop I led for World Usability Day. Marc is a leading expert in the CX discipline and facilitator for the Digital Customer Experience (CX) Meetup, and through the work and a workshop we’ve done together (at SmartData) he’s been the major factor in my shift from “user” to “customer” and HBR nails it in that it’s all about changing minds.

To grow is to evolve

If you, the enterprise, want to grow then you must embrace the inevitability of evolution, and, that it will sometimes start with revolutionary ideas. Ideas so far out in left field you can’t even see them. Ideas so beyond your imagination that they’re like the Native Americans not seeing Columbus’s ships on the horizon because they had no frame of reference for them, as the story goes.

If you’re the person talking revolution, culture shift, change management - take your pick - your path must be paved with the stepping stones of tone and balance. These are most likely small stepping stones because more often than not you’re taking the baby steps required to change minds in a way that doesn’t seem threatening and revolutionary. From the boardroom to the shop floor, everyone must support and evangelize the direction.

Why Users Are Our Customers

Anyone who interacts with a system - and I’m using this in the broadest sense - is a customer. To switch our internal dialogue from user to customer, is to treat our knowledge workers with a deeper kind of respect. In this switch is the opportunity to understand them at a deeper level, and when we do this, we listen differently, we engage differently, and we provide solutions differently.

While there’s definitely more I can write about this, I’ll let Marc weigh in with some thought leadership from his perspective to close out this post.

"By putting the Customer first, we optimize the completion of our business objectives. We want to know: What are the devices and channels our Customers prefer? What are they doing, thinking and feeling? How do they want to feel? How do we make them feel? What information do they need to make a decision? If we are focused on helping Customers make good decisions to accomplish their goals, we’ve done our job. These fundamental CX concepts influence their overall feeling toward our brand or product. We see that CX is about creating memorable experiences that drive brand perception, return visits and purchases.”

Well said, Marc, and thank you for the quote!

To your continued success,

Jeff