What Jerry Maguire Can Teach You About CX

Football Stadium

Happy National CX Day!

As CX Day winds down, I am reminded of a recent conversation with our CEO during a “coffee talk” – our version of informal town hall/all hands meetings.  Since the CX function is fairly new, I was invited to explain some basics about CX, as well as the work we’re doing here to serve our customers.

Our discussion focused on two pillars of CX: Empathy and Design.

  • Empathy: deeply understanding the customer, the job they want us to do, and the drivers that created that need.  Walking a mile in their shoes, watching them in their native environment, and really understanding what makes them tick.
  • Design: using that understanding of customers to design a product or service from the customer’s perspective – aka “outside-in” – that is so much better they can’t imagine going back to the old way.

And I like to have fun with meetings like this, so I went a little off script.  I think our CEO was a little surprised when I asked the crowd to guess which of their favorite lines from the movie Jerry Maguire might pertain to the discipline of customer experience… : )

  • First answer from the crowd was (of course) “show me the money.”  (not exactly)
  • Next answer: “you had me at hello.” (ok you’re in the right ballpark)
  • Next answer “you complete me.” (that’s actually not bad!)

I paused and looked at the CEO, asking him “Why are we talking about Jerry Maguire?”

CEO: “I can’t wait to find out” (he’s very quick on his feet).

There’s a moment early on in the movie where Jerry (a sports agent) is desperately calling his current clients (pro athletes) to convince them to stay with him.  He has a notable NFL star, Rod Tidwell, on the line when he says something like:

I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a video game *featuring you*, while singing your own song in a new commercial, *starring you*, broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not *sleep* until that happens. 

I see great examples of both a) empathy and b) outside-in design:

Empathy: Jerry has understood his customer’s emotional drivers (a massive ego, a desire to build his fame & notoriety… and the need to provide for family under his roof).   And he has understood the important need he’s being asked to solve: “optimize the monetization of my athletic skill!”.   (ok, yes, I actually mean “show me the money.”)

Outside-In Design: The customer couldn’t be more at the center of Jerry’s proposed design.  It’s all about Rod Tidwell.  In ~50 words Jerry clearly visualizes the future state of his customer’s experience – from the Rod’s perspective.   Because it’s all about Rod Tidwell.

There you have it folks: Empathy and Design, courtesy of Jerry Maguire.

CX leaders: What are some fun ways you use illustrations, analogy, or metaphor to help explain CX to team members and employees in your organizations?


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