The Gist

  • Invaluable learning. Every customer experience failure offers critical lessons and insights that guide us toward improvement and ultimate success.
  • Toolbox strategies. Develop a CX failure toolbox with strategies to overcome challenges and work through failures.
  • Team support. Surround yourself with a supportive CX team to help navigate failure and keep moving forward.

It’s baseball season, so naturally I am thinking about — failure.

First of all, we all fail. But although failure is unavoidable, it’s also a natural and essential part of your success cycle. Going beyond customer experiences and the customer journey, the failure/success cycle permeates through every level of our own lives. Whether you’ve botched dinner plans or have gone through a business shutdown, failure exists at every level. 

Embracing Failure: The Road to Hall of Fame Success

Failure isn’t bad. Look at Albert Pujols, a surefire first-ballot Hall of Fame baseball player. He was drafted in the 13th round (where just 11% of players ever get a swing at the big leagues, according to Bleacher Report). Nobody thought he’d ever make it to the majors, and yet he’s gone on to hit over 700 home runs and was named MVP not once, not twice, but three times.

He also hit .296. That means he “failed” 70% of the time. Incredible. Just imagine the mental fortitude of baseball players — at any level — who have to simultaneously expect/accept failure yet not be consumed by its depressive impacts.

Related Article: What I Learned About Learning From Career Failure

Overcoming CX Challenges: Building Your Failure Toolbox

One time when I was in a market research meeting and a client stated that my analytical approach was incorrect, even after I demonstrated that there were a number of ways to approach the analysis and that each generated the same output, the client requested that I be removed from the account due to my “condescending demeanor.”

Failure is merely a collection of challenges. It can be extremely overwhelming at times. That’s OK. However, I think that one of the best things we can do to work through failure is to be ready with a few strategies to take on those challenging moments. I like to call this my failure toolbox. 

Let’s have a look inside. 

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: 5 Ways to Ensure Successful Customer Experience Outcomes

Data, Response & Team: The Three Pillars of Conquering CX Failure

First, there is my supporting data. This is the data that supports my successes and documents my challenges. Data usually comes from measurements, such as those generated by a social media analysis or social listening/reputation tools. Always look back at your numbers to chart your improvement.

Second, I have my response. Knowing the reasons for failure is crucial when you’re approaching failure. Most financial linkage analyses on using the customer feedback loop across the customer experience touchpoints in a voice-of-the-customer program demonstrate the same outcome: Successful recovery from a service failure can often yield better outcomes and no failure at all.

Additionally, having a meaningful response mechanism can also help to support and enhance the employee experience. As the expression goes, you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. When challenges arise, be ready with a response. Some responses require more thought, but enabling employees to respond makes it easier for everyone involved.

Third, I have my team. Mistakes will happen, and having a good team around you will support you. When that client asked I be removed from the account for simply explaining methodology, I was certain I would be shown the door and without a job in no time. I felt the impending doom of a massive failure. However, I had a great team around me that came to my defense when I couldn’t. 

Accept CX Imperfection & Keep Going

It’s important to remember that every day won’t be perfect and that we all have limits. Failure is out there, but so are you. Be confident and keep going. And, bringing it back to the baseball analogy, don’t let fear of failure stop you from swinging for the fence.

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