Throwing Starfish - A CS Approach to COVID-19

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

My conversations with Customer Experience and Customer Success leaders these days all arrive at a sad truth--our customers' needs exceed our ability to help.

Our customers' needs exceed our ability to help.

Our profession is purpose-built to help customers succeed and thrive. CS leaders serve teams highly incentivized on positive customer outcomes. But in the COVID-19 era it's difficult to find that next best action.

When the needs of those I serve--be they customers or team members--seem too vast for my contributions to make a difference I always go back to a favorite (adapted) story. An adult walks the beach after a horrific storm, observing the hundreds of starfish pushed ashore by the waves to wither and die.

They spot a child walking amidst the chaos. The child picks up a starfish, looks it over, and throws it as far as possible back into the water--to opportunity. Then again...and again... As they cross paths the adult mentions the futility of it all. "Not sure it matters, kid. There's just so many of 'em." Unfazed, the child picks up the starfish where they both stand and gives it a heave back into the surf. "It mattered to that one." And on they walked.

It matters to that one

Similarly, for those serving customers in crisis, your work matters. Do what you can, for those you can, right now.

Original story: "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eiseley Adapted multiple times

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