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Crossing the Customer Experience Crevasse

mountain climber at the Kumbu Icefall
Araceli Segarra in MacGillivray Freeman’s documentary, Everest

The year was 1998. MacGillivray Freeman’s 45-minute documentary, Everest, premiered at Boston’s Museum of Science.

It was breathtaking. I had never seen anything so adventurous and inspiring. I brought friends and family back to the IMAX theatre to watch it again, and again, and again.

There’s one scene I’ll never forget. Araceli Segarra, the first Spanish woman to climb Everest, crosses over a crevasse on an aluminum ladder.

Those wishing to reach Everest must cross the Khumbu Icefall, a treacherous glacier that moves constantly. It creates deep crevasses and towering ice seracs that can collapse at any moment. There’s no escalator on Everest.

The crossing of the crevasses requires a great deal of skill and caution. Any misstep or mistake can result in a fall into a crevasse, which can be hundreds of feet deep. And depending on the route, the climbers cross over between 20 to 30 ladders.

As the Sherpas say, “If you fall in the crevasse, you will fall all the way to the other side of the world.”

Watching Segarra cross the ladder, ominous music in the background as the camera zooms in on her feet, sparks moments of fear, courage, and joy.

One foot. Then the other. Each step bringing her that much closer to her destination.

mountain climber crossing a crevasse
Crossing a crevasse in MacGillivray Freeman’s documentary, Everest

Metaphorically, this ladder crossing is a transformation effort. At LoyaltyCraft, we help companies execute a customer-centric strategy. This requires a willingness to step up to the ladder and take each step in the journey. Just like climbing a mountain, there's no magic wand and the work takes time and commitment.

Here are the 10 steps we take alongside our clients:

  • Step 1 – Conduct a CX Assessment: To know where we’re going, we need to know where we are. This first step provides a solid understanding of the organization’s CX maturity.

  • Step 2 – Establish a Roadmap and Vision: Now we set a course in alignment with company executives. Together we establish the North Star, and we chart the activities to move up the mountain.

  • Step 3 – Pair the CX Leader with a Coach: We don’t climb mountains alone. Having a guide who’s been on the route, who knows the dangers and shortcuts can reduce risk and save time.

  • Step 4 – Build a CX Champion Team & Playbook: Creating an organizational groundswell requires a diverse team dedicated to the mission. We recruit cross-functional team members based on their relentless customer-focus and growth-mindset. Again, you can’t climb mountains alone.

  • Step 5 – Focus on the Employee Experience and Experiential Learning & Outdoor Education: There’s no customer experience without employee experience. Connecting every employee around a shared CX vision is a step that’s too important to skip.

  • Step 6 – Develop greater Customer Understanding and Empathy: Who is our customer? While it sounds like a simple question, most organization lack clarity and alignment. We shift the conversation with data and research. We use personas to increase understanding and focus on jobs to be done. And we bring customers to the table for journey mapping, recognizing the moments that matter from the outside-in.

  • Step 7 – Apply CX Governance: Customer Experience must have a seat in the boardroom. The strategy requires direct alignment with corporate objectives. And to implement the strategy, governance includes a process to review and discuss metrics, prioritize initiatives, and make investment decisions.

  • Step 8 – Gather and Respond to the Voice of the Customer: An effective VOC Program starts with listening posts at key touchpoints in the customer journey. But that's not where it ends. We must analyze feedback, take action, and close the loop.

  • Step 9 – Measuring what Matters: Let's measure the lead, not just the lag. This means a focus on what activities retain customers and what sends them leaving out the back door. Quality Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be based on how the customer sees the issue vs. how the company sees the issue. For most companies, customer-based accounting, earned growth and net revenue retention are unfamiliar territory. As Fred Reichheld states in his book Winning on Purpose, “Viewing customers as a company’s most important assets is just talk until each customer’s value is tracked and quantified.”

  • Step 10 - Agile Execution: Customer Experience innovation requires faster time-to-market, better collaboration, greater flexibility, and constant feedback – all benefits of utilizing Agile methodology. By taking learnings from software development, we apply Scrum to create a CX backlog, leverage cross-functional team members, establish a cadence, and focus on continuous improvement. In other words, we get stuff done.

Crossing the customer experience crevasse requires careful planning, a clear vision, and a willingness to take risks. By following the 10 steps outlined above, companies can create a customer-centric culture that drives growth, differentiates from competitors, and disrupts industries.

If you're ready to take your organization to new heights, consider partnering with LoyaltyCraft to help you reach your CX goals. Let’s get started on your journey!

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