The Role of the Ego in Customer Experience Management (CXM)

By Eric Murphy, Founder & Managing Director

As a kid, in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico, I used to get my haircut at Supercuts. Back in the 80’s, hair was a pretty big deal, literally. From the big hair of the hair bands Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, and Poison, to the fluffy perms of pop queens Whitney Houston, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Dolly Parton, hairstyles helped define a generation. I oddly remember Supercuts' slogan at the time: “We cut hair for your ego, not ours.” The brilliance of that slogan was its blatant recognition of ego as a key driver in decision making and the importance of approval and self-recognition. Fast forward 30+ years and things haven’t changed a bit. In fact, I’d argue that social media is the new Supercuts (ok, slight stretch, but stay with me).

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Today, we live in an extremely ego-centric world, as social media has provided a stage for every human being to essentially show off, seeking validation in the form of followers and 'likes'. Like a peacock fanning its feathers, people put their lives on display to share their successes, dominance, power, and prowess. Everyone wants to be an influencer. (Do you know how many different categories of influencers there are now? It’s actually kind of funny.) The epic rise and fall of Billy McFarland (Fyre Festival), Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos), and the recent college admissions scandal, all stem from the exacerbation of ego. Those are more extreme examples, but the point is that everyone, for the most part, has a deep desire to be/feel important.

All drama aside, this explosion of self-love has created an opportunity for brands looking to endear themselves to consumers. The fancy term for this new genre of marketing is “Customer Experience.” Google it. You will find a treasure trove of pundits talking about the importance of exceptional, real-time, personalized customer service. Some brands are already known for it (think Disney, Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom) and some brands are known for their lack of it (think most other airlines, cable companies, and NYC’s MTA).

So what exactly is “customer experience management” (CXM)? Is it just a cooler term for customer service? The answer is no. Customer service is a part of customer experience, but CXM is more than solving problems and answering complaints. Customer experience is an entire strategy that includes anticipating customer wants and needs, carefully managing expectations, communicating the right info at the right time, customizing the customer journey, paying attention to (and constantly refining) the details, reducing ‘friction,’ and yes, playing into the ego. As it relates to events, customer experience is about making every guest feel like a VIP regardless of their outside stature.

Next month, we will be releasing our first (free!) whitepaper on the subject of Customer Experience Management (CXM). In it, you’ll learn the five key phases of customer experience management and gain a better understanding of its importance in building extreme brand loyalty over the long run — and we’ll dig deeper into ego and the huge role it plays in a successful CXM strategy. Sign up here to receive it in your inbox on May 14th. Oh, and if you’d like to upload a photo of your totally awesome hairstyle of the 80’s, we’ll gladly send you a $25 gift card to Amazon. Come on. We dare you.


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