At the end of each summer for the past 5 years I’ve taken my family of five on a backpacking trip of at least 50 miles. These trips have been amazing bonding experiences for our family, as three children - their digital tethers cut - learned to look beyond themselves and look out for each other, even if they started selfishly (“She’s carrying my lunch!”).
This year my youngest decided he wanted to do an epic journey with full bragging rights. We chose the 100 Mile Wilderness, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, which, at just over 100 miles, is the AT’s longest stretch of wilderness. Despite significant research and planning, we fell woefully short of our mileage goals on our first day. And the following days weren’t much better. The trails were horrible. They were full of boulders, rocks, tree roots, mud bogs, and river crossings. Our feet were sore and our spirits flagging by the time we reached each night’s camp.
One particular trail took us down the steep side of a mountain via a rockslide that went all the way to the bottom. We carefully picked our way down, sometimes having to lower ourselves over boulders as tall as we were. About halfway down, I noticed on one of the rocks a white blaze of paint angling off the to the left. My wife and son hadn’t noticed this weathered marker, focused as they were on each treacherous step in front of them.
If I hadn’t noticed that trail marker either, we would have continued to the bottom. There we would have cast about for the trail markers, and not finding any, would have had to climb back up the boulder field as we retraced our steps to the last known marker. It would have cost us hours of precious daylight and prevented us from reaching our campsite before nightfall.
On this hill, all it took was one person to say, “There is the next mark!” to save us hours of strenuous effort wasted in going down the wrong path.
The Chief Customer Officer Council gathers together brilliant customer executives, each with different levels of experience and resources. We, too, are on a challenging, poorly marked trail. It’s called the customer journey. Some of us have traveled this trail before and can offer clear landmarks and instructions to avoid the hazards. Other sections of the trail haven’t been traveled by anyone yet. In this unchartered territory, all it takes is one person to say, “There is the next big trend!” to point everyone in the right direction.
Last year, volunteer crews gathered to create order out of chaos on another leg of the 100 Mile Wilderness that we climbed. They spent countless hours clearing boulders, lifting stones, and setting in place steps that made a challenging hill trail simple for all those yet to come. Similarly, as a result of our efforts together as peers in the Council, we are paving steps up the customer journey hill with shared best practices, guidelines, and standards that enable members to avoid missing precious trail markers or making costly and time-consuming mistakes. Together, we’re creating the best map in the world.
Wouldn’t you rather walk along this path with us? Contact me if you’d like to talk about how these foremost chief customer officers from around the world can help you achieve success.