This Too Shall Pass

What reactions have you encountered with the execution of your CX strategy? 

Have you heard or said the phrase, “This too shall pass?”  I certainly have from time to time in my career.  Recently I was participating in a webinar on the topic of how the employee experience links to the customer experience and this phrase came to mind.  Have you encountered employees who sit with arms crossed and unfriendly faces as you attempt to execute an improved experience for your customers? While their words say they are supportive of the CX initiative their posture suggests otherwise.  In my experience, employee reactions to organizations seeking a better experience fall into three categories.   

First there are the early adopters.  They are the enthusiasts; the “what can I do to help make this a reality” crowd.  They are your evangelists; the ones you can count on to spread the good news of customer experience and recruit others to do the same. They see the tangible benefits in executing an effective CX strategy and have an almost unrelenting trust in leadership to do what’s right for customers and employees.  I look for early adopters first when I’m looking to transform an organization.  They can help me achieve the quick wins that can gain momentum and drive more longer-term changes in the people, process and tools of an organization.  They may represent only 10% or less of the workforce but have the energy and enthusiasm of the other 90%! 

The second group are the “wait and see” team.  While they don’t oppose an initiative, they also don’t jump on the bandwagon right away.  Instead, they observe the words and actions of their colleagues before committing their full support.  They’ll attend the kick offs, be polite, perhaps even join a journey mapping team or share their insights on how to improve the experience.  They are the hidden gems within an organization who may have untapped talents to share from their function or department.  They may be the very experienced or newly hired that listen intently, evaluate carefully and judiciously decide if this CX movement is for real and for them.  This group often is the peak of the bell curve – perhaps making up 60-70% of your organization’s attitude towards a CX initiative.  We can draw opportunities from this significant contingent of the “wait and see” team. Don’t overlook their willingness to be convinced or cajoled into joining the effort. 

And finally, the last group is our “this too shall pass team”.  While we might tend to characterize this group as naysayers or negative nellies, don’t judge them too quickly. There will be employees within this group that will never join the march to a better customer experience.  However, their skeptical view of the initiative can sometimes work to your benefit.  They will bring a different perspective that can cause you to define your reasoning better, establish stronger business cases for investments or anticipate the downside to exemplify the upside of your CX initiative.  It’s possible that their negativity can be counter-productive especially to their colleagues who may want to participate but are afraid to rock the boat.  I would face this group head-on rather than fleeing to the other two. 

Regardless of which group you encounter, all can be beneficial to the successful execution of an organization’s CX strategy.  Each brings a unique perspective to what you’re trying to accomplish, and none should be overlooked in your efforts.  After all, what you really want is to turn the phrase, “this too shall pass” into “this too shall succeed.”


Robert Azman