Isn’t “customer experience” really just human experience?

By: Lisa Sigler

August 14, 2014

customer experience
customer experience management

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.– Maya Angelou

There is a danger within the Customer Experience industry to reduce CX to a numbers game – the hunt for a better NPS score, positive customer satisfaction trends, fewer support complaints, increased efficiency, anything that can be plotted on a graph and gestured at to show a “customer-centric focus.”  Customer loyalty is important to the bottom line, and so it becomes a company priority; unfortunately, it is easy to lose sight of the “C” in CX – the Customer. When you have enough customers to have to analyze their feedback in aggregate using algorithms, it is easy to forget that each individual customer is a person, with life circumstances, wants, needs, hopes, distractions, and responsibilities, who has chosen to patronize your business.

It’s easy to forget – but sometimes companies remember in a major way.

For example, WestJet is a very successful airline, voted the favorite airline in Canada multiple times. They consistently focus on customer experience as a whole; sometimes, however, they focus on one customer’s human experience:

The Grimard family was physically separated because one of their children was seriously ill. The sick child needed special care, so the mother was living with him at a Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton. The father, meanwhile, stayed in their home in Saskatoon – 300 miles away- with the family’s other child so he could keep working to support the family.

Many companies would consider doing the obvious: fly Dad to Edmonton to reunite with his family. WestJet went far beyond that: they had a “West Jetter” train to do that father’s job as a Saskatoon City employee so that work would not stop while this family had some much needed time together.

Similarly, the TD Bank Group is known for its customer service initiatives. The TD Ameritrade group alone has implemented over 4,000 measures to improve customer experience. Each of those changes will improve overall satisfaction and loyalty. But those improvements will likely not resonate nearly as strongly as the experiences of over 30,000 TD Canada Trust customers when they were personally thanked, with gifts large and small, as part of the #TDThanksYou campaign.

Grand gestures like this are rare, and the cynical among us can cry “PR stunt!” But don’t forget the individual customers – the people – who experienced these campaigns. What do you think they’ll remember? How did it make them feel? Don’t let your CX programs become just about bar charts and bottom lines. Remember that customer experience is, in fact, just another expression for the human experience.


Lisa Sigler is Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value and benefits of technology to life. In her current role, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. of English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis.