In his induction speech into the Wisconsin State Bowling Hall of Fame in 2012, my dad referred to me affectionately as the “pied piper” for my ability to inspire others to go along with new ideas (example: a local bowling fundraiser that raised over $300K for breast cancer research). I had spent the past few years working for my parents’ business of 40 years — you guessed it, a bowling alley. It was a successful business with a loyal but aging customer base. To stay competitive and meet the needs of younger customers, we established new capabilities, including an online presence, social media channels, and email marketing. We also expanded on core league offerings with new products and experiences. Our efforts paid off with historically high revenue over that same period.

CX Leaders Push Their Organizations To Think And Behave Differently

Years later, my first customer experience (CX) job called for candidates who could “think big and act accordingly.” As I’d quickly learn, driving change in a corporate environment is much harder than in a family business where the owner favors you. At the heart of most CX roles is change leadership — urging the organization to evolve its thinking and behaviors to achieve their desired level of customer obsession.

Inspiring change requires a bit of pied-piper magic — that unique mix of vision, action, and leadership that compels others to come along for the ride. My new report, titled Delta Dental: Differentiating Through CX To Avoid A Race To The Bottom and coauthored with Judy Weader and Lisa Nakano, highlights the origins of CX at Delta Dental of Virginia (DDVA). Their journey began when Chris Pyle, VP of marketing, communications, and government relations, proposed that DDVA double-down on CX capabilities in order to retain and grow market share. With his CEO’s blessing, but limited additional resources, Pyle carved a path forward focused on three strategic initiatives: educating and aligning the organization around the customer, partnering to unlock quick wins, and building essential CX capabilities. Did DDVA’s CX efforts spark a customer-focused movement and desired business outcomes? Read the case study to find out!

Delta Dental Of Virginia’s Three CX Initiatives


Go Faster With Peer Insights

CX leaders can learn so much from each other’s experiences. In addition to best-practice research and tools, Forrester VIP clients have access to case studies, peer discussions, and exclusive networking at our upcoming Executive Leadership Exchange at CX Summit North America.

Thanks, Chris Pyle, for sharing your insights. To others, if you have a CX origin story to share — or if you’re stuck getting started — I’d love to chat! Please reach out at