Gerry Brown
Gerry Brown (CX Research Director)

What’s in a word? Well, quite a lot actually. My one word is “experience“.

“Experience” currently only appears in one place in organisations. That’s in the Customer Experience (CX) Department. You might not even have a CX Department. The CX Department is generally small (5–15 staff), and its job is to win over the hearts and minds of potentially thousands of employees that CX practice is a good idea.

The CX Department tries their best, but this is a big ask.

Is there a better way to engage your colleagues with the CX concept that doesn’t involve big expense in tough economic times? Here is one idea. Brand your departments with “Experience”. This may sound weird but stay with me. Just imagine you had a Sales Experience, a Marketing Experience, and a Service Experience Department. What might be the impact?

The “Sales Experience Department”

Sales has connotations of “hunters” and deal closers focused on revenue targets and commission payments. “Sales Experience” is something different. A “sales experience executive” thinks of how to provide a pleasurable experience — both delivering value and being “nice to be around for the customer”.

These are the salespeople invited into their accounts as trusted advisors to deliver higher revenue and customer loyalty for their organisations.

A “sales experience executive” also values the employee experience. Traditional aggressive sales management methods do not apply. Sales Experience Managers need to show emotional intelligence, empathy, and guidance for the many difficult challenges of the sales role and deliver excellent employee experiences (EX) for salespeople.

The “Marketing Experience Department”

Marketing Departments are often targeted on creating sales leads — and lots of them. Just imagine Marketing tasked on creating experiences rather than leads? Managers will be much less inclined to push out sub-optimal campaigns to deliver “activity”. Experience encourages quality not quantity.

The “Marketing Experience Department” understands the need to collaborate with sales and service colleagues to share data and tools to create a real-time 360-degree view of the customer. It will focus on delivering customer feelings — remember the famous Maya Angelou quote? “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The “Service Experience Department”

Of all customer-facing functions, Customer Service is most likely to deliver experiences today. Contact Centre software specialists like Genesys and Five9 champion the CX and EX cause. So do trade associations like the Contact Centre Management Association (CCMA) and the UK Institute of Customer Service (UKICS).

Now Service organisations need to go even further. Building “experience” into every customer interaction — using automation to improve both EX and CX. Becoming the central enterprise hub for customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. Adding the Experience moniker helps Service departments to reinforce their purpose and role and drive further operational experience improvements.

What About Other Departments?

How about the Billing Experience Department that collaborates with vulnerable customers to solve their financial challenges without calling in the bailiffs? The Finance Experience Department that pays expenses and bonuses without being chased? The HR Experience Department that champions meritocracy and every employee’s personal growth and development?

This is possible. For example, shoe retailer Zappo’s swopped out their dull back-office staff for energised individuals who were customer-centric enthusiasts when they discovered the dull guys’ negative effect on front office staff. One Swedish insurer outgrows its rivals by having every staff member accountable and bonused for reducing the internal and external customer effort (scores) they personally produce.

The Bottom Line

Experience should be a shared cultural value that delivers mutual respect, and compassion for others — whether customers, colleagues, or business partners. The word ‘experience’ helps us empathise with their struggles, successes, and journeys.

Adding “experience” into your operational organisation charts will change internal and external perceptions of management purpose and intent. It is a simple, low cost and sustainable way to reinforce the customer-centric behaviours every CEO wants. It can help change your culture for the better.

Of course, measurement systems would need re-alignment so every person that delivers quality end-to-end experiences both externally and internally is merited and rewarded. No bad thing. Try it — and share with me and others your stories and outcomes. I am sure they will be inspirational.


For more information, please contact Gerry Brown, or head over to and drop your details in the form on the top right.

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