I was running some reports last week when I noticed something interesting: a CXPA member with the name of “Mr. Kris Kringle.”
As this is the holiday season in many parts of the world, and the name “Kris Kringle” is the alias of the one and only Santa Claus, I had to learn more. The only other bit of information I had was Kringle’s location--the Lapland region of Finland—and company: North Pole Enterprises.
I turned to longtime CXPA member Sirte Pihlaja, CCXP and leader of the Finland CXPA network, to see if Kringle had ever attended a local network gathering. “It looks like he has signed up for several virtual events this year,” she said, though never in person. And best yet—she had an e-mail address for me.
“Hello Mr. Kringle,” I wrote. “I’m Gabe Smith, CCXP, Content Manager for CXPA. I’m always interested in telling the stories of our members, and I’d love to learn more about the CX work you’re doing in Finland. Let me know if you’d like to meet!”
He responded quickly.
“Dear Gabe, it’s great to hear from you again! I believe it’s been about 30 years since we’ve corresponded. I’d love to talk with you about my long, long career in CX. It’s quite a busy time of year for me, which I’m sure you understand given the scale of our global operation delivering presents to children around the globe, but I want to make the time to share my story with the CX community.”
Delivering presents around the globe? Was this really the one and only Santa Claus? Père Noël? Father Christmas? Joulupukki?
The Original CX Pro
We connected via phone, and, as the story says, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
How did I know? Let’s just say that he gave me a compelling reason why I didn’t receive the game “Hungry, Hungry Hippos” that I asked for when I was 8 years old.
I dove into my questions. How long had he been a CXPA member? Why did he consider himself to be a CX pro?
It turned out he’d been a member since the beginning.
“I knew I had to become a member,” he said. “I’ve always believed that great experiences lead to great memories, and I’m always looking for ways to improve my operation in service to the children of the world who I consider to be my customers.”
Kringle estimated that he serves in excess of 2 billion children each year, covering 317 million miles in just 32 hours to ensure that each child receives a gift. It’s a vast undertaking that leaves little room for error.
“My team and I receive letters, e-mails, tweets, and in-person requests from children around the world,” he said. “We have to scan and track each of those requests into a centralized system that our distribution center and supply chain can access. This lets the elves really do what they do best and put me in a position to succeed on the big day.”
As the leader of the operation, Kringle has made his commitment to customer experience and continuous improvement clear.
“I’ve been doing this a long time,” he says, “and we can always improve. We’re not perfect, but I’m committed to the vision that every child experiences happiness and wonder during this time of year.”
New Year's Resolution
Kringle’s commitment to continuous improvement isn’t just limited to his operation, however. He’s also committed to self-improvement.
“CX finally put a label on what I’ve been trying to do for centuries,” he says. “I consider myself a CX professional. I think it’s finally time to earn my CCXP next year.”
In the past, Kringle hasn’t been able to take the exam because there’s not a testing center near his village. Now that CXPA offers a remote-proctored exam, he looks forward to sitting for the assessment.
“I’m not looking for another job,” he says, followed by a booming laugh. “But I do want to prove to myself that I’ve learned a lot after all these years.”
And Kringle looks forward to continuing to see the contributions of his fellow CXPA members from around the globe.
“They were all such good girls and boys who grew up to become wonderful adults,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed learning from those who believe, like I do, that there’s magic in creating wonderful experiences for people.”#2020