The CX space is becoming a little like progressive rock used to be in the 1970s. Overly technical, too elaborate and complicated, inwardly focused and somewhat exclusive. Punk rock exploded of the back of prog rock and it set the stage for fresh energy that dared to be different and could hold its own.

Customer experience should constantly be top of mind but it seems to have become over complicated and drifting without much heart and soul. So, what would a punk rock version of CX look and feel like? That is the theme of a brand new book by Adrian Swinscoe…

Back in December 2017 I sat with a friend of mine, Oisin Lunny, in the Basketmakers pub in Brighton. After two to three pints of Guinness, I started on a bit of a rant about the state of customer experience (CX).

I bemoaned the lack of progress that we seemed to be having and how, despite all of the rhetoric, we were still facing the same challenges that we had faced five years previously.

What we needed, I concluded, was for someone to do something more ‘punk’ if they really wanted to stand out and lead their fields.
That idea sat with me for a good six months.

However, in the summer of 2018, I started to think more deeply about what punk is and what a punk version of CX would look like.

As I thought about it more and more, what struck me was the idea that there was something that could be learned from the evolution of rock music genres and the emergence of punk rock in the 1970s.

Prog rock as a musical genre emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s in the UK and the USA. Now, whilst it was popular it was also often accused of being overly technical, too elaborate, complicated, more focused on itself rather than its audience and was often accused of being in danger of disappearing up it’s own a***.
The same thing was happening to the customer service and experience space. It started to exhibit some of the same characteristics as prog rock did in the 1970s…..namely it’s becoming overly technical, benchmarked, frameworked, measured, codified, certified, specialised and functionalized.

I’m not alone in thinking this. Dennis Fois, CEO of NewVoiceMedia, a cloud contact centre platform provider, when asked the question: ‘If you could change one thing about the tech industry, what would it be?’ answered:

“I’d make it less self-absorbed. It’s a bit narcissistic. We’re should not forget that we’re not doing this for ourselves: ‘Look at us! We have the greatest technology!’

We’re doing this for others – we’re helping our customers help their customers, or we’re doing this for our agents. I think that we, as an industry, very often lose sight of that. I’d love it if the self-congratulatory attitude was toned down a little bit. I’d love it if we were more subservient and more graceful about the societal purpose that we, as technology companies, serve.”

Now, if we go back to the musical genre analogy, what happened next is the really interesting bit: Punk exploded out of the back of prog rock with it’s democratic, diy, back to basics and all heart and energy approach that inspired both a cultural and musical movement and a mindset. It dared to be different and was OK with the fact that not everyone liked that.

If the CX space was exhibiting some of the same characteristics as prog rock did in the 1970s then what would a punk rock version of CX look and feel like?
That is what I explore in my new book, Punk CX.

However, in keeping with a punk ethos it is not a traditional book. It does not contain 50,000 words and another framework aimed at solving all of your problems.

It is short, to the point, full of ideas, possibly a bit shouty and profane in places, heavy on design and many folks may not like it.

And, that’s OK.

It is designed to inspire, annoy, make people think and encourage them to be braver and more innovative in their thinking and doing.

Overall, it is an invitation to become more punk in our thinking about how we approach, design and deliver better and stand-out customer experiences.

After all, isn’t that what we are all wanting to achieve?

This is an edited version of an article that was originally published here.