User Experience vs. Customer Service

An article caught my eye a few days ago. The subject was about good careers for the future. Having three kids, I have interest in things about the future. But beyond that point, one of the careers sparked my interest, or rather, skepticism.

The “User Experience Manager” who should have a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s preferred. And who would potentially make solid money according to the article.

Here is how the article describes it:
               “What’s user experience? Why, its what happened to you when you went to get your new drivers license or when you, say, read a captivating column online about professional opportunities. User experience managers were first widely seen in Web-design firms, focusing on a website in development from the viewpoint of a user who would eventually have to navigate the thing. Now, user experience is the watchword for banks, insurance companies, restaurants and virtually any company that has reason to evaluate and improve the way its customers and prospective customers encounter its people and processes”

Why am I skeptical about a user experience manager? Because it’s a new watchword as the article states, it’s a refocusing, a convergence upon the customer. And I ask; shouldn’t a focus upon the customer have already been in place for any business around before the “user experience manager” was in vogue? In fact it sounds an awful lot like a customer service manager or public relations manager – have companies lost focus on customer service so badly that traditional managers are being usurped by a user experience manager? And better yet it points to a breakdown in a whole population of employees whose job it is to treat customers properly if they need another titled manager to come in and help customer relations. It seems to be a veiled attempt to make themselves feel better for trying to improve things.

But that’s just my take, I’ll take the good old-fashioned customer service manager any day. Fortunately for EXAIR, the leadership of this company has never lost focus upon treating the customer properly. Since Roy Sweeney started the company 28 years ago, he has made it a point to make sure his employees understand the importance of the user experience when it was still called customer service. Keeping the user experience at the top of his priorities all these years has led to a population of employees who understand what is important to this company. And when we understand what is important to EXAIR we also learn…

  • To care about our customers, listen to them and help them.
  • To become knowledgable about products, service and resources available to customers.
  • To be accountable and responsible to make decisions without a necessity to refer problems up the line.
  • To solve customer problems quickly and effectively.

I’m glad to say I haven’t heard of any plans for a customer experience manager at EXAIR. We will leave it to the banks and insurance companies and restaurants to hire them, we all know they lost focus a long time ago anyway. In fact I will even be so bold to say – if you are considering hiring a customer experience manager yourself, expose them to EXAIR to learn a thing or two. I can imagine they would all be prepared with their Blackberries, and laptops and all the new technology tools they think will be helpful – only to find out it’s not the tools that will help the customer, it is the people behind them. Kind of like this…

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer

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