Why “Are you ‘doing’ experience?” is the dumbest question ever.

and breathe neon sign on tre

WARNING: Rant alert. Sometimes you just have to let it out.

“When did you start doing customer experience?” One of the dumbest questions ever. This is like asking, “so, when did you start breathing?” Dumb, right? But what’s the connection?

From the minute you start a business, you are “doing” customer experience. In fact, you are “doing” employee experience, too.

For a business, experience is everything people, both customers and employees, “experience” when they encounter anything the business touches. The answer to when a business started “doing” customer experience should always be, “the day we opened.”

The real question should be, “when did you start caring enough about the experience people have with you to want to improve it?” Maybe even better would be, “when did you realize that people are the only reason you are in business and that maybe how they experience your company is a big deal?”

It seems nuts that that should even be a question. All the MBAs out there and so many still question whether they should “do” experience—customer or employee or, gasp, both. NOTE: In most contexts having to do with experience, “doing” is code for giving a sh*t about it and then—for the enlightened few—taking some action.

I know I can be curmudgeonly cynic, but I just cannot understand why senior executives must be sold on whether experience is important or not. Like breathing, experience is something that happens whether you think about it or not. Don’t you think that if any one of those executives started experiencing shortness of breath, they would go see a doctor? But when confronted with improving a customer experience that is like an obstacle course, they must debate endlessly over whether it is worth improving. What exactly do they teach in B schools?

Business is human, not one enterprise exists without people, and when people do anything, they have an experience. And experiences can be designed, maintained, and continuously improved to be as easy, enjoyable, and effective as possible or they can be subject to the whims of nature to either be great or suck depending on a hundred and one factors.

So, look at your business, go “experience” it as your customers do and see whether it is smooth sailing or a minefield. Walk around your office, or wherever your employees work, and do the same. Is it engaging and inspiring or is it a soul-sucking prison where people have to be rather than want to be?

Experience. It is happening whether you like it or not so you can either ponder the cost effectiveness of “doing” it and live with ongoing and worsening shortness of breath or you can “do” something about it, go see the doctor, and get back to health.

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