Architects and Heroes

Are you a leader whose business growth depends on winning customer loyalty? Does that depend on delivering a superior customer experience?  Then first you must win the hearts and minds of your frontline staff.

They, not you, make your customer experience vision come true.

I’m not saying that executives and managers and customer experience designers aren’t important. Leadership is crucial. But strategy only looks brilliant when there is consistent, effective frontline execution of the plan.

For example, the Kansas City Royals won the last two American League Championships, and they won 2015’s World Series. They have good players but KC is small market and there are no $100 million superstars.

Now stay with me here for minute, even if you’re not a Kansas City Royals fan, because we’re going to talk about how YOUR organization wins in the realm of customer experience. So let me play out my baseball analogy.


Like any organization, the Royals have senior leaders and managers and subject matter experts who design and build it. Royals owner David Glass, general manager Dayton Moore and head coach Ned Yost and others (including scouts, statisticians, etc) design the plan to win. They prioritize the resources to recruit the right players, develop those players, field the team and try to make the right decisions throughout the season to put the Royals in a position to win. I like to think of this group as the ARCHITECTS of the organization.

But who actually goes out and plays the games?  Who has to hold up under pressure when it matters the most and make the big plays that change the outcomes? Only the Royals players can win the games! Without them, no victory is possible. When the Royals ball players chase their dreams successfully, they also fulfill the vision of the organization’s architects. A good definition of a hero is a person who carries the dreams of others. That’s why like to think of this group as the HEROES of the organization.

How does winning happen in the customer experience? It takes a partnership between architects and heroes to win customer loyalty.

However – and this is my point – in too many organizations, the frontline team members are not treated as the heroes they are; as the crucial players who win the games. Fortunately, many leaders are waking up to the realistic viewpoint that unless team members feel they are valued and important in their organizations, they won’t play like heroes! (The Royals’ secret sauce is they feel they “belong”; are a part of something really special, i.e., a shared vision.)


I am excited to see how CX designers and managers and executives are striving to create a great place to work as an essential part of their CX strategy.  The leaders are applying Voice of the Customer science and techniques to improve the team member experience. That starts with assessing your workplace experience through the eyes of your frontline team members.

How do you know, scientifically, what is most important to earning your team members’ commitment to deliver a superior customer experience? What is most important to winning your team members’ loyalty? What is their level of engagement today? In a multi-unit retail firm, where are frontline teams strongly motivated to execute the CX vision? Where are they apathetic? Why? What can you do to create a more energizing, loyalty-inspiring and engaging environment to bring out the best in team members? Because without their passionate engagement and commitment, team members won’t play like heroes.

Whether they act like heroes reflects back on you, the architects of your organization. Just as great customer experiences and customer loyalty are outcomes of great team efforts, highly engaged team members and team member loyalty are outcomes of effective leadership.

To learn more about how to improve your customer experience, click here to contact me.


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