In this short post I consider the role of good & evil in Customer Experience.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe
I admit I’m not a follower of the Marvel comics movies. But when stuck on a long haul flight or in a hotel room with nothing on but CNN, almost any Marvel movie is a welcome distraction.
So I never saw them in any order, nor do I grasp the entire mythology.
But in the movies I did see, it was always clear which characters were ‘good’ and which characters were ‘evil’.
The Marvel universe is a pretty binary place.
Good & evil in Customer Experience
Sometimes when I read articles & posts on Customer experience, I feel like I’m watching a Marvel comics movie.
That happens when the author of the article positions the company they’re describing in one of two ways:
- When the company described in the post does things ‘right’ or right in the author’s opinion – then they’re good
- When the company described in the post does things ‘wrong’ or wrong in the author’s opinion – then they’re evil
It’s never in doubt who is good and who is evil. The content & tone make it clear.
And when it comes to the evil companies – which are the posts you see most often – look out for these kinds of words –
They’re dumb, apathetic, lazy, careless, wasteful, ignorant, greedy, selfish, OK Boomer (ok I added that one).
It’s practically biblical how evil they are. And this is what worries me.
If a company doesn’t deliver the experience the writer likes, the default setting seems to be how dumb, apathetic, etc. they are.
But if Customer Experience is as binary as a Marvel comics movie, there’s not much room to manoeuvre. Not much room to improve.
I don’t ever see Thanos becoming the good guy or Wonder Woman becoming the bad guy.
The real world is more nuanced than a Marvel comics movie
The real world is more nuanced than a Marvels comics movie. Customer Experience deserves more than a binary good & evil measurement scale.
I had lunch with a Client in Asia not long ago.
She had navigated the pivot from Head of Customer Service to Head of Customer Experience. And our lunch conversation turned to organizational culture.
She had built a great service culture in the Customer Service function. That was one of the reasons she had been appointed the Head of Customer Experience.
And now she needed to develop that service culture across the entire organization. Into departments & functions where service wasn’t seen as the most important characteristic.
With her usual pragmatism she told me –
“Dan, we’ve been around a while as you know.
And we’ve got really great people in this company. In all departments. It’s not that we’re bad or we don’t care about Customers. We care a lot.
It’s just that we’ve become too comfortable. Things have been good here for a long time. The impetus for change is muted.
I think my job is to help our folks understand our future desired state as a company and why being too comfortable in what we do and the way we do it isn’t sustainable going forward.”
Her people are good, her colleagues are good, the management supports the change and she’s successfully completed her gap analysis.
Do their Customers complain? Of course they do. But as an organization they’re working on it. And as practitioners know, it takes time.
Saying they’re good or evil isn’t productive. It’s not even accurate.
They’re working to be better.
Why I don’t publish personal complaint posts
If I have a personal complaint with a company I contact them directly and privately. I give them the chance to address my issue.
If I was a ‘normal’ Customer I’d consider sharing my complaint on social media. And I’d write a detailed post of the bad thing or things that happened to me. And maybe I’d feel better having shared my tale of misery & woe.
But I don’t view myself as a normal Customer. I’m proud to come from the industry.
And I think industry professionals look at the bigger picture. We’re interested in the underlying dynamics or conditions that led to whatever it was that we experienced. We dissect the ecosystem.
Leave it to ‘real’ Customers to sit in judgement. I’d rather look for the lessons.
Good & evil in Customer Experience
Industry professionals don’t have to use ad hominen words like dumb, apathetic, lazy, careless, wasteful, ignorant, greedy or selfish to describe organizations.
They don’t have to rant.
I’ve never seen a conference event yet where the Host says “Welcome everyone, our next Speaker will rant and roll their eyes for the next 30 minutes or so. We hope you enjoy it!”
It doesn’t have to be about the role of good & evil in Customer Experience. It could be about the lessons to make things better.
Thanks for reading!