Customer Experience or CX is getting a lot of attention in business circles today. It’s a simple concept: put the customer first, not the company. Customer experience is the practice of putting the customer at the center of the business, seeing the world through the customers’ eyes.
CX is popular because of the results it can generate, from increasing loyalty and satisfaction to improving reputation and referrals.
Believe it or not, customer experience and yoga have much in common. Thinking about the two disciplines is a handy metaphor for remembering why CX should be at the heart of any company’s business plans.
5 Common Threads
The word “yoga” has been around for more than 5,000 years and comes from a Sanskrit word meaning union. Its origin is a reminder of what customer experience and yoga have in common: they create unions or connections that last beyond the moment, each with long-term staying power.
There are five other things customer experience and yoga have in common. They are both flexible, predictable, and comprehensive, require practice, and aren’t for everyone.
Customer Experience is Flexible
When people think about yoga, they may imagine a serene person in a pretzel-like pose. While yoga can improve flexibility and keep you nimble, tying yourself in knots isn’t what yoga is all about. Neither is customer experience.
Flexibility is the first way yoga and CX are alike. That’s because being customer-centric means keeping close tabs on what customers think, experience, and want from your company. What they needed yesterday may not be what they want today. Businesses must have a way to get continuous feedback from their customers then adjust – remain flexible – as those needs shift over time.
Customer Experience is Predictable
There are more than 100 styles of yoga – from traditional Hatha yoga to trendy types like hot, aerial, goat and laughter yoga (seriously). The common thread is a series of 84 basic poses, like Lotus, Downward Dog and Child. You could drop into a yoga class anywhere and expect to practice a selection of these established poses.
Customer experience must also be predictable, not capricious or random. An effective customer experience program is built on a set of principles and behaviors that are understood and practiced consistently across the organization – from the CEO to frontline personnel. Over time, customers come to recognize and expect a set of predictable behaviors from companies that have earned their loyalty.
CX is Comprehensive.
It is said that yoga can improve many aspects of one’s health and well-being. Claims of its benefits range from better sleep to anti-aging and disease prevention. For many practitioners, yoga forms a comprehensive approach to how they live their lives.
CX is also comprehensive, meaning that it must consider every part of the company that a customer experiences. How the phone is answered, courtesy from frontline employees, or the reliability of your website are starting points. But customer experience also includes things like the accuracy of invoices, pricing, quality of your product, and reputation in the community. Anything a company does that connects with the customer is part of the customer experience.
Yoga is a discipline. Expertise and results build over time with practice and dedication.
Customer experience can improve employee and customer loyalty, grow revenues and reduce costs. But it’s a journey that takes time to start and one that never ends. Attention to your company’s CX must be steady to achieve measurable results. It takes practice and training to get it right.
It’s Not for Everyone.
36 million people are regular practitioners of yoga, and one in three Americans has tried it at least once. But it’s not for everyone.
You could argue that a positive, on-brand customer experience should be a focus area for all businesses, but it’s not. Just like yoga, companies may have tried it or are aware of it but embedding a customer-first philosophy throughout an organization and its culture is difficult and rare.
The good news is that creating predictable, comprehensive customer experiences can set your company apart from its competitors. A strong CX focus can be a true differentiator, powering everything from bottom line revenues to employee recruiting and retention.
Control What Goes On Inside.
There is a yoga quote that goes, “You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”
The same is true for customer experience. You can’t control your customers, but you can control how your organization sets itself up on the inside to meet the needs and expectations of your customers.
There’s no need to tie yourself up in knots about CX. Just start. Begin by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Experience your company the way they do. Then, think about how you can improve that experience.