The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “urban legend” as “an often lurid story or anecdote that is based on hearsay and widely circulated as true.” If you’ve spent any time in the customer experience industry, you’ll know we have some CX “urban legends” in our midst. 

Here are my top four:

1. 'Customer Experience Equals Customer Service'

While customer service is certainly a big component of the CX strategy, it is still just a component. The service is just one communication element between the customer and the brand, which usually occurs during delivery/transaction. Customer service skills become vital, but the CX starts long before then, but more on that later.

Related Article: Customer Service Friction: A Double-Edged Sword

2. 'Customer Experience Needs to Be Maximized'

I’ve written many times about a practice that can sometimes run counter to creating a great CX — an incentive on "the score." A few industries are known for a post-sale plea like, “If you don’t give me a 10, I’ll be fired, lose my home, my wife will divorce me and I’ll be living in a van down by the river.”

CX should place an emphasis on the most important customers as well. If a customer is costing you money, perhaps “doing everything” so they give you a top score isn’t ideal for the business.

Also, the various CX touch points along the customer journey couldn’t possibly all be perfect; otherwise, you will either be out of business or the only one left in business. That journey might even be maximized in the areas you can control, but perhaps not in the place that might start earlier in the journey, but more on that later (do you feel the anticipation yet?).

Related Article: 9 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty

3. 'Customer Experience Equals Surveying the Customer'

Just as customer service is an element in communication, your customer survey is also an element — albeit an important one — of the conversation with customers. It is a key reason your CX enterprise software platform is an important decision in building your CX strategy.

It should always have tools to manage the customer feedback loop after a survey and the ability to translate feedback into root causes. The communication continues beyond the survey and starts long before then.

Learning Opportunities

4. 'Customer Experience Begins at or After the Sale'

When you consider where so much of CX measurement takes place, it surrounds a transaction or the service received after a transaction. It certainly is the most intuitive place to field a CX survey. But in reality, those time frames are actually the middle of the customer journey, which started long before then.

The customer experience with your brand starts when a consumer hears about you. This could be as a part of a marketing campaign, a conversation between friends about product recommendations or as simple as passing by a branch location. The experience starts much earlier than we usually measure.

Often, that results in companies missing an opportunity to measure that part of the experience, or they end up creating a transactional survey that is longer than Milton’s "Paradise Lost." It is the reason that I encourage our customers to create more (and shorter) surveys to eliminate the fatigue of recall in long surveys. If the consumer has ever thought about your brand for even a second, the CX has already begun.

Related Article: What You Should Know About Voice of the Customer Survey Questions

Riding the Customer Experience Road Trip

CX is a journey, and on this road trip, you’ll need to avoid falling for the urban legends. It will never be perfect. You may get stuck along the way — during strategy decisions, in implementation, after deployment or in continuing to show the change (usually positive change is demanded).

But here’s one easy thing you can do — don’t give credence to the CX urban legends.