Once upon a time, five world-class gymnasts taught us about the value of Customer Experience…
Stepping up to the mat, you place your right hand over your belly. Breath in. Breath out. A sense of calm shakes out over your shoulders. You’re about to take part in the most important competition of your life. Except… you don’t know what it is. Unlike the incredibly talented women of the US Olympic Gymnastics team, we in the world of Customer Experience (CX) never know which interaction is going to be the one that makes or breaks our business. Not too long ago these five women participated in the second most important event of their careers, the qualifier for the US Olympic Gymnastics team. Anyone can see that this group can teach us about perseverance and becoming the best at what you do. However, studying them can also help us to bring home a CX Gold medal.
Much like athletics, CX is all about playing the long game. Each and every time we step up to the mat, and have an interaction with a customer, we have to give it “everything we’ve got”. Aly Raisman, or as she the team calls her, Grandma Aly, has dedicated her life to the sport of gymnastics. Changing her diet, workout, and sleep routine to better her body for the next competition. Much like this, CX is only effective if we have been properly trained for it. You wouldn’t send someone who has never seen a balance beam to the Olympics, so why would you send untrained employees to handle delicate CX matters?
The next CX interaction could make or break our careers and companies, so we have to give it our all each, and every time. Only four months before the Olympic trials, Madison Kocian had a broken foot. She couldn’t train. When we stumble during a crucial CX moment, we see the power of the customer. With the Internet, and social media - ways of instantly sharing positive and negative experience - it is more important than ever to be able to recover and come back stronger. After Madison’s injury she said that she had a new passion for making the team. When she came back she focused on perfecting the brilliant basics first, just like we should.
This same principle was used when Gabby Douglas fell off the balance beam twice during the Olympic trials- a huge mistake to recover from. Gabby is a gymnast, but also has a biography, a made for TV movie, and a television series about her life. She is pulled in many different directions, much like our companies are at times. We want to have the best products, for the best price, and be leaders in our industries while also trying to hit our year-end goals, worrying about the competition and the internal dynamics of operating a company. However there comes a point when you have to decide what is most important. Now on the team, Gabby is zeroing in on improving in these last few months before the Olympics. When we get stretched too thin, we have to remember the customer first. It is the foundation to any company’s success.
Even if you have the best product on the market, it won’t be valued in the long run without a complementary commitment to Customer Experience. Laurie Hernandez, the youngest competitor on the team, was mostly unknown before her appointment to the USA Olympic Women’s gymnastics team. Last year, she won the junior national championship, getting the attention of the Olympic committee. Her signal was boosted, just like a company’s can be after a particularly good CX performance. People take notice of when someone does something well. Then, eventually all the things your company gets noticed for forms a reputation.
Simone Biles, the forerunner for the Olympic gold, has not lost a competition in the past three years. She has a gymnastic move named after her, and she is expected to be nothing less than fantastic this August in Rio. She is completely focused on what is important, rebuilding after any stumbles, and allowing her performances at each and every competition to build her reputation into one of the greatest gymnasts in the world. Biles knows the brilliant basics in her core, and it shows in her consistent and dependable wins.
The Olympic coach, Martha Karolyi, likes to say, “If you don’t like it, too bad. Someone else will, and they will work at it and they will be the winner.” The same is true in business. Your competition isn’t the similar product or service provider down the street, it is the always-present CX comparisons that are generated every time we chalk our hands and prepare for the next uneven bars. Just like our Fairy Tale Five Olympians, we have to give a gold medal performance consistently, and that takes years of practice.
Start training with Vector Business Navigation today, and we will teach you the brilliant basics of CX, always remembering that each and every interaction is an opportunity to earn your own CX Gold.
-Photograph Credit to Jason Lavenwood