TX Contra CX: Pitfalls to Avoid in a Total Experience Approach


TX Contra CX: Pitfalls to Avoid in a Total Experience ApproachIn the last few years, the phrase “total experience” has become trendy. “Total experience” (TX) is a singular strategy for experience improvement that includes customer experience (CX), user experience (UX), employee experience (EX), and multiexperience (MX—or omnichannel). The idea behind a TX approach is that improvements to one type of experience will improve the other three experience areas.

For example, improving the experience for a branch teller opening an account for a client (by speeding up the process, automating it, providing status updates, sending email confirmations) also improves the client experience—an omnichannel process opens an account quicker and more seamlessly. There is also a less tangible, psychological effect in that happier employees lead to happier customers; good usability and omnichannel capabilities support both.

A TX strategy can be a powerful way to coordinate initiatives and align capabilities. But the danger of adopting a TX approach if you are primarily a CX team is that you are no longer placing the customer at the center of the strategy. 

This presents several pitfalls to be avoided:

  • Focus on employee experience runs the risk of turning experience optimization into business process optimization. Improving business processes and improving customer—or employee—experience are two different things. The former is about efficiency, profitability, accuracy, capacity, speed—all impersonal metrics that are business-focused. As one sees at many insurance or wealth management companies, entirely manual, person-to-person processes might be woefully inefficient and slow, but agents, policyholders, and carriers can be very happy with them. 

    Yet it is a slippery slope from discussions about employee experience (“The tech is bad,” “I have to enter things manually twice”) to discussions about automation, streamlining, workflows, task ownership, and responsibilities for outcomes. Organizational siloes and politics quickly take over the discussion, and the singularity and continuity of the experience are lost. Experience optimization becomes business process optimization.

  • Focus on UX and omnichannel runs the risk of turning experience optimization into a vendor selection. There are hundreds—perhaps thousands—of vendors who pride themselves on the superior usability of their solutions, which many of them have vetted and tested as part of their product development process. These sleek, modern, and visually appealing interfaces often contrast strongly with the antiquated legacy systems employees have to contend with. Knowing that omnichannel capabilities are the expected norm, these solutions often offer communications and alerts in email or SMS and have capabilities for chat, collaboration, and voice interaction. Experience improvement teams are quickly attracted to these solutions, but then they focus on vendor capabilities, not customer experience. 

    If the focus is employee experience, these discussions might quickly run into the core system capabilities that the solution provides (e.g., insurance policy administration, loan administration, CRM), not the outward-facing usability of the platform. In the end, these initiatives run the risk of turning into prolonged vendor selection projects, run by IT, where UX and omnichannel turn into a small line-item on the resulting RFI.

  • Focus on TX runs the risk of turning experience optimization into an NPS survey. Experience improvement teams adopting a TX strategy for multiple categories of experience (CX, EX, MX, UX) naturally look for ways to compare these experiences in an apples-to-apples manner. Survey-based favorability metrics such as NPS have become ubiquitous in the financial services and insurance industries, and they are a tempting way for experience improvement teams to compare different types of experiences directly. 

    But comparing an NPS for employee experience with an NPS for customer experience is misleading and potentially dangerous, like comparing the heart rate of a human with that of a cat. Just because it’s the same metric and is measured in the same way doesn’t mean that what counts as a good NPS for an employee experience is also good for a customer experience. A TX strategy does not require a single KPI to measure it.

CX teams are uniquely challenged to maintain their independence from Operations, Strategy, IT, Marketing, Product, and other teams while staying focused on experience improvement. TX strategy should be approached carefully so that the human experience stays at the center of improvement initiatives, not business processes, technology, or a one-size-fits-all solution. To learn more about the elements that make up these experiences, read our report Understanding Customer Experience: A CX Framework.