I started doing yoga back in January as a New Year’s Resolution to become stronger and healthier. I’ve kept with it, developing a discipline of going to class two or three times a week at my local fitness center. I’m hardly a hard-core yogi, but I have observed some interesting parallels between my yoga practice and my work. It turns out, customer experience is like yoga!
Here are a few reasons customer experience is like yoga:
1. It’s easy to get started.
You can do yoga without any equipment at all. It does help to have a mat if you’re working on a hard surface, but carpet and grass work well, too. It’s also easy to get started on building a solid customer experience. You simply need a little focus and commitment to take the first steps.
2. Anyone can do it.
While some assume yoga is only for flexible people or those who can’t hack a “real workout” you’d be surprised who shows up. My class includes a former NFL player, executives and solopreneurs, high school students, moms of all sizes and several men.
Companies embracing customer experience are just as varied. They’re not only retail business and purveyors of consumer goods. B2B companies, industrial and manufacturing firms, even non-profits benefit from improving customer experience.
3. You set your own pace.
My instructors are fond of saying yoga “is a practice, not a performance” and customer experience is the same way. You can’t expect to walk in on day one and do a perfect Flying Crow (I can’t), but if you set your mind to it and work hard, you’ll get there eventually.
The same is true for your company’s customer experience discipline. You may not start out with a 9 on your NPS (Net Promoter Score), but consistent commitment over time can get you there.
4. Small changes make a big difference.
Every class I’m surprised by how a little shift in my form or balance can completely transform how I feel. Are my feet together or apart? Head up or down? Weight forward or centered?
Minor shifts change everything, just like little tweaks in how you treat customers can dramatically change how they view your business. Seemingly simple things like how people are greeted and how often you stay in touch can mean the difference between brand advocates and adversaries.
5. You can do it anywhere.
Lots of people go to yoga in a studio or fitness center but it is even more fun to do it outside, in a park, or on a paddleboard. If you prefer privacy, do it in your living room. It doesn’t matter where you practice, as long as you do.
In a similar vein, customer experience is not restricted to one place, which many assume is the point or sale. You build a positive experience by hiring the right people, communicating expectations and sharing values. CX starts in the boardroom and reaches every corner of your company. It impacts customers when they’re researching, shopping, buying and long after the sale.
6. You have to stick with it to see dramatic results.
One thing I love about yoga is that I can do it whenever I want. Sitting in a chair or talking on the phone, I’ll do a few poses to calm or energize myself. At the same time, I know that if I stop altogether, I won’t enjoy the long-term benefits of strength and flexibility that I really crave.
Cultivating a positive, profitable customer experience also takes commitment. It’s not a “flavor of the month” kind of project, it is a way of life. Companies that excel at customer experience know that they’re never done improving. They’re always listening and responding, adjusting and refining. The results are not always immediately apparent but the benefits do accrue over time.
Whether you’re just getting starting with customer experience or if you’ve been working at it for a while, I encourage you to keep going. Don’t get discouraged if the results are slow to come. The payoff is there, waiting to be discovered.
Photo by Aaron Neifer on FreeImages.com