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What I learned from Chicago blues about Customer vs User eXperience

I’ve just waked up this morning in Chicago. No no, that is not a beginning of my blues song. But actually, it might be.

There is still some blues music in my ears. And there are still some thoughts in my mind too. You know the heart/feelings/emotional and the brain/calculate/rational story when we talking about customer buying process and experience too. So my heart is still full of blues but my mind wants to take me away from that. What actually happened last night and the day before in Chicago at the legendary the Buddy Guy’s Legends blues bar in the heart of Chicago.

On Friday evening after I had visited some others blues bars in downtown Chicago I decided to go to the Buddy Guy’s Legends blues bar too. I went into and wanted to pay the entrance fee but I couldn’t go further. The security stopped me because I had a backpack. Chicago is a tourist town, am I right? Sure I am. So my first question is, if it is so unusually that a big fan of blues music from outside the US, who has a hotel at least a half an hour from city center because of really high hotel prices, has a backpack when looking around the Chicago. I think it is not. I’ve been in so many big and small rock and blues concerts (from two hundred thousand people at Rolling Stones concert last year at Quebec festival to just a few people in some bars) but had been never treated that way.

So what were my customer and user eXperience on Friday night and the next evening? On Friday they did not ask me at all to show what I have in my backpack or they didn’t ask me to put it in the dressing room, because they don’t have it. And they don't have something else too. They just said I must turn my back and go away. Imagine what were my feelings at that time? I just wanted to listen some good blues music because the night was still young. Instead of that I could not enter because of such ridiculous security and organizational reason. It not need to be said what was my Customer eXperience. And my user experience didn't begin at all. They just need to look into a backpack or put it in some other room. Of course I told them that I’m from EU and that I can’t understand the situation which might be easy to solve. At least they invited me to come next evening without backpack. And the security guy at the registration desk understood the situation and was friendly with me. But the real story just started.

So I came next evening without the backpack, just with jacket around my arms, and wanted to enter. There was the other security guy at the front door who had been there on Friday too and he saw my friendly conversation with the indoor security guy. So he might saw that I am ordinary senior man with no beard or any sign of violent behavior, but instead of that he asked me hard what I had under the jacket in my hand. So he still saw me just as a threat not as a Customer. You might imagine what was my Customer eXperience again. And then I made a big mistake. I still don’t know if I was upset or I was trying to make a joke but both were inappropriate at that time. But you know if they hadn’t treated me that way at the beginning it would not happened anyway. So I said “a gun of course”. At the same moment he asked me to left the entrance door. If I thinking about that this morning I realize that I had luck that they did not put me down on the floor. It seemed that I was ended the second time without Buddy Guy’s legends. Then I realized that I must change the roll I was playing. I was not a Customer anymore, I immediately deeply apologized myself and I started to beg. I was successfully did this and I could enter and have a good blues night.


Blues might be old, but the Buddy Guy’s Legends blues bar owner doesn’t need to be still in that time. Especially if he wanted that his bar becomes a No1 blues club (not just a bar) in the Chicago City. The owner needs to know something about where Customer journey begin, what is front desk and what competences all the employees need to have to treat the Customer well. And they need to know that the good music is just a part of user experience and that the bar needs something more if they wanted me come back next time. Especially if competition is in the town.