Transforming CX and EX With Welcome Wagons


The Gist

  • Powerful welcome. A warm welcome sets the right tone for new community members.
  • Community strength. A supportive community enhances both CX and EX journeys.
  • Belonging pays off. A sense of belonging in a community can lead to significant benefits.

Picture this … my husband and I are two weeks into living in our new home, on a quiet little street, in a very small town in North Carolina. One sunny, but cold afternoon, we received a knock on our door. Was it a new neighbor? A solicitor? An appointment we failed to remember?

No … it was a very special person who has welcomed each and every newcomer to this little town, since 1987 — a tradition she was inspired to take on, that began in Memphis, Tennessee, just 60 years prior. This warm welcome got us thinking about the importance of CX and EX journeys.

A Welcome Wagon History

A man named Thomas Briggs, from Memphis, Tennessee, was inspired by the stories of early Conestoga “welcome wagons” that would meet and greet westward travelers, providing fresh food and water for their journey. In 1928, he decided to build on this concept by working with local businesses to put a welcome basket together, which he would take to a newcomer’s home. He would then take 30 minutes to walk the newcomers through what the town had to offer, including a newcomer’s club they could join.

Fast forward to today, and there are hundreds of these all over America, all started by individuals inspired by this story.

Related Article: CX and EX: Why Focusing Only on CX Is a Bad Idea

A Letter From the Mayor

When the founder of our town’s club returned to provide our orientation to the town, she brought a basket full of items from various local businesses, walking us through each one. However, what impacted us the most was a letter from the town mayor, not only personally welcoming us, but also providing all of his contact information and encouraging us to use it. This single piece of paper is what prompted me to write this article.

CX and EX Journeys and Community Building

As a “customer” of this town, receiving such a warm welcome sets the right tone for our lives here, reaffirming our choice to move to this town. As an “employee” (custodian) of the town, she showed us a sense of pride that made us all too eager to want to belong to what is now a 900-member newcomer and alumni club. It reminded me of how powerful a community can be in supporting new CX and EX journeys.

After saying goodbye to our new friend, it dawned on me that with AI being on the forefront of customer journeys, we tend to forget how powerful a supportive community can be when the two are combined.

A white picket fence with green plants growing at the bottom has a small slate sign with the word "welcome" on it in a piece about CX and EX journeys.
After saying goodbye to our new friend, it dawned on me that with AI being on the forefront of customer journeys, we tend to forget how powerful a supportive community can be when the two are combined.Christian Jung on Adobe Stock Photos

Related Article: How AI Is Revolutionizing the Customer Journey in 2024

Hitching Yourself to a Community Is ‘so 2010s’ … But Is It?

Back in 2011, and for the next seven years, I worked with an early-stage community software organization that believed in the power of community ideation (now known as “crowdsourcing” or “idea management”). The idea was to harness the collective knowledge of employees from different departments to solve challenges within the organization.

I have witnessed departments on two different sides of the world come up with new products we use every day. I’ve seen lower-level employees become leaders. And I’ve observed unwavering commitment and pride in the organizations they’ve worked for.

I’ve also seen customer communities thrive in ways that have helped organizations reduce the number of support tickets entered, a stronger customer advisory board (CAB) emerge, and new ideas come to life.

Simply put, there’s a lot of power in bringing people together, providing each other support, and watching your community become your organization’s cheerleaders. Yet today, communities are often overlooked in favor of journey automation, as it’s cheaper and faster to reach the CX and EX base with little effort. So, why do it, and more importantly, how do you go about it?

Creating a Sense of Belonging

Just like our small-town story above, if you’re a new employee or a new customer, there’s a lot of information and people to navigate. Having a community, whether online or not, to guide you through the first few weeks or even months, will go a long way toward that employee or customer feeling positive about “belonging” in your organization. That feeling can pay off in spades.


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