Wednesday, March 20, 2019
CX Events

Modern CX Day 2: Wild Wisdom from Cheryl Strayed (and why it matters for your CX)

Samantha Hausler
April 12, 2018

3 minute read

One of the top highlights this week: Cheryl Strayed, best-selling author of Wild (now a movie), took stage at Modern Customer Experience in Chicago to impart her wisdom on the crowd. One of the most interesting parts about it: Everything Cheryl learned while hiking over 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail back in 1995—an adventure few of us would be so willing to take—could be applied to not only how we approach our day-to-day lives, but how we think about developing customer experience strategies. Here’s what to know:

Cheryl Strayed shared her wisdom at Modern Customer Experience.

Anything we take on can always turn out badly, can always lead to failure, but Cheryl enforced that we need to embrace this uncertainty, because the opposite outcome is that “[the result] will be glorious, and teach us lessons along the way.” The same goes for delivering customer experience. Even if you think you’ve got a winning, foolproof strategy that will make every customer happy… Guess what? It can still turn out badly.

“Success is built on many failures.”
-Cheryl Strayed, best-selling author

But, failure is inevitable in order to learn from what goes wrong, push the needle forward, and create something that works for your business, and more importantly, your customers. With ever-changing expectations and the ever-changing technology needed to deliver on those expectations, it’s inevitable our customer experience strategies will fail before seeing success. Take the risk anyway.

Cheryl Strayed Wisdom from Modern CX

Most of us in customer experience roles work within companies with many layers, many processes, many barriers. It’s draining to keep fighting for something that doesn’t seem to draw the same attention from leadership or across departments, even though you know it’s the right thing for business. Now, pushback at work is vastly different from embarking on a rugged journey through the wilderness, but in either situation, Cheryl says the mentality you have will affect your outcome.

“What choices do you need to make today that will pay off a year from now? Five years from now?”
-Cheryl Strayed, best-selling author

In customer experience, it’s essential that we push our teams to do what’s necessary to fully understand the customer, and be able to effectively act on what we know, even if they haven’t totally bought in yet. Whether it be a shifted focus to data analysis or adopting the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, having a strong self power will help you overcome organizational hurdles and be the change-maker needed to deliver better experiences to your customers.

Cheryl Strayed Wisdom from Modern CX

While Cheryl was on her adventure, one of her hiking boots (from her only pair of hiking boots) sprung out of her sack and down a steep cliff. There was no recovering it, and there was still a lot more terrain to trek. What did Cheryl do? She threw her other boot over the cliff too and proceeded to construct a pair of makeshift boots out of duct tape.

“What is one boot without the other boot?”
-Cheryl Strayed, best-selling author

When you’re put in an unexpected situation with customers, the last thing you want to do is react in a way that will ruin or end the relationship. Don’t throw in the towel, take a step back, and evaluate what resources you have in the moment to alleviate the problem—make the decision to “toss the other boot” if it means you can create a better experience for the customer.


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Samantha Hausler
Samantha Hausler is a bit obsessed over digital tech trends, coffee, travel, brunch, and reality TV. Samantha is a Marketing Strategist for Oracle CX with over 9 years of experience in the industry. by Oracle is the destination for professionals who are building the next generation of customer experience. Here, you can find breaking news, in-depth analyses, expert insights, and useful tools that will empower you to think and work progressively.