Customer Experience is a Rollercoaster

It was no small effort getting to the Forrester NYC CX conference this year. The unusually bad weather and the helicopter accident on the roof of the building next door put a serious glitch in our seemingly simple plans. Our journey curved us through long lines, closed roads, extra stops, and wrong ways while delivering a few glimpses of hope, a brief moment to recharge and a flurry of communications to get to our destination. All of these rapid ups and downs were a good reminder of the determination required to be successful in Customer Experience (CX). As pros know, the path to your (experience) outcome is never what you expect. There are always many twists and turns, and it requires tremendous perseverance, demands expert level prioritizing skills, and the agility to flex when your plans get diverted.

In honor of our experiences getting to Forrester CX NYC 2019, we thought we’d share some of the CX curves we’ve helped our clients navigate.

Sudden Turns

CX leaders need to have a well-orchestrated plan of action, but also be ready to respond to bumps in the road. Just like our flight, we expected a direct route, but ended up being rerouted and delayed during an unplanned layover to an off-course city. We started weighing options and alternative paths but there were limits because of choices we made earlier on the journey (e.g. checked bag). Scenario planning for what might come is essential to success. Here are some typical CX execution challenges in planning:

  • Technology constraints force time-consuming workarounds
  • Finance approval processes are misaligned with iterative development efforts
  • Delays occur due to supply chain bottlenecks and delivery challenges


Syncing disparate systems and activities can make or break the CX vision. On our trip, we stood in a long line at hotel check in where only two people were working the welcome – no doubt a miss between data and predicting staffing needs. This would have also been a great moment to remind guests about the option of digital check-in or incent app usage to shorten lines. No matter how mature you get, CX requires constant communication, collaboration, and reminders to keep things optimized and evolving so they don’t fall off the track. Some of the most difficult maneuvers that derail CX efforts:

  • Late stage challenges with downstream employee’s ability to effectively deliver
  • Those who prefer business as usual will create a groundswell of resistance
  • Leaders agree in concept, then stop short of meaningful contribution


As our cell phone batteries were draining in transit, we had to rely on our back-up chargers to maintain our productivity. Managing expectations and taking advantage of the energy gained can be tricky if you’ve put in everything you’ve got into phase one of a project. Some typical difficulties we see in building on inertia:

  • Translating pilot metrics into business outcomes
  • Adapting mid-pilot based on real-time customer or business feedback
  • Accomplishments are undermined as being too narrow or unable to scale

The CX journey can be exhilarating, and sometimes scary, but hopefully it is also fun and gives you goosebumps. Luckily, the road home was uneventful, well timed and even enjoyable given our new perspective, which is the reward for the uphill climb. In other words, when it comes to CX, the effort is always worth it.