Title search:

View Archive

May 2, 2019

Customer Experience: A Tale of Two Opposing Views

By Jeff Teugels, Crossroad Consulting

190502 Crossroad Consulting CX pic 1 cropped.png

One may not assume that a customer perceives a ‘customer experience’ as was intended by the provider. Conversely, an experience that is favorable for the customer does not always contribute a company’s performance. The challenge is to unite both perspectives.

Anno 2019, Customer Experience or ‘CX’ is omnipresent. The CX concept was introduced in 1982 by Holbrook and Hirschman as a holistic construct. In the meantime, both academics and practitioners believe that a favorable customer experience not only positively impacts customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and word-of-mouth behavior – something customers themselves have known all along – but that it also is a compelling precursor of the much-coveted competitive advantage.

Despite this consensus, the CX concept remains foggy because the holistic construct has diverged into two mostly unconnected schools of thought. The main reason is that academics and practitioners tend to look at customer experience through one of two opposing lenses. One is the organizational lens and the other is the customer lens. This is one of the conclusions of a review of customer experience research since 1982 drawn by Kranzbühler et al. (2017).

The one who looks through the organizational lens assumes that experiences can be designed and that all customers will perceive stimuli alike. The one viewing through the customer lens ascertains that firms cannot deliver value since the customer is always a co-creator of value. While the former focuses on organizational structure, strategy, and customer-employee interactions, the latter considers individual customer journeys, cognition, affect, and senses.

Static and Dynamic Customer Experiences

A distinction is made between static and dynamic customer experiences. A static CX describes how an individual evaluates one or more touchpoints with an organization on a cognitive, affective, and sensory level at one specific point in time. A dynamic CX considers the evolving cognitive, affective, and sensory evaluation throughout the entire customer journey.

190502 Crossroad Consulting CX pic 2.png

The organizational lens points to the design of static CX and to the management of dynamic CX, yet the focus on static CX tends to dominate. The customer lens analyzes customers’ perceptions in three planes: the static CX itself; how dynamic CXs are formed; and how cognition, affect, and the senses impact both static and dynamic CXs.








  • The organizational lens focuses on what is within a company’s control; the customer lens looks at the whole picture.
    190502 Crossroad Consulting CX pic 3.png

As one can see, the famous customer journey is a key component of the customer lens. The ultimate goal of a customer journey is to “teach companies more about their customers in order to market better, sell faster and serve more effectively” (Milbrath, 2019). Being taught requires a willingness to learn and to shift to an outside-in view. Only then can one look inside one’s own processes and, with lessons learned from customers, improve them to match expectations.

Yet most organizations fail to truly master the art of customer journey mapping. Three reasons account for this fact. First, looking