I saw an advertisement today that read “Customer Service Is Over, Customer Experience is the new champion. Make sure you’re getting CX right.” My first thoughts (almost immediately) were:

a) Another misguided attempt to replace a concept that does not need replacing, and

b) How do you get “Cx right” without service?

Unfortunately, this is a common trend with technology products:

a) We try to forget initiatives that did not meet expectations by changing their name (almost as often as Sean Combs, a.k.a. P. Diddy, a.k.a. Puff Daddy, a.k.a. Puffy, a.k.a. Diddy, a.k.a. Brother Love changes his name), and…

b) We disconnect the technology from the behavior it is intended to promote/compel/enforce.

I acknowledge that we have grown accustomed to calling things by the wrong name. I mean, jellyfish are not fish. Peanuts are actually legumes. And tin foil, well, it is made out of aluminum. Still does not excuse you from being negligent with what you call the initiatives that drive your business. I have shared in the past that, as long as your customer experience initiative helps stakeholders give customers what they need, make it easy, and provide the emotional context they need to make decisions about you, that you can call your program whatever you want. But let’s at least call them something that aligns with the goal. The reason customer programs have been what we called them in the past is that there is a legitimate need for the very things we have named them. We don’t call Cx customer experience because service is a thing of the past.

It is not by coincidence that our technologies and strategies for winning and keeping customers have suffixes like “-relationship,” “-engagement,” “-service,” “-centricity,” “-transparency,” and now “-experience.” Also not a coincidence that it is so easy to prefix the words “employee” and “partner” to these words (employee-relationship, employee-engagement, employee-experience, etc.). They are further connected to terms such as transformation, effort, and loyalty because these are expected outcomes of building relationships, increasing engagement, and more.

Never allow the name of a technology or popular strategy/methodology to distract you from what your customers and employees need. Words matter. Being mindful of what your business relationships need matters even more.

About the author: JC writes about interpersonal and business relationships and the technology that improves them. His books are available on Amazon and other major retailers.