If a Tree Falls in the Forest…


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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

We’ve all heard that saying, right? Or perhaps you’ve heard the modern version: If a tree falls in the forest and no one tweets about it, did it really happen?

According to Wikipedia, “If a tree falls…” is “a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality.”

I much prefer the Urban Dictionary definition: “It symbolizes the ineffectiveness of unheard opinions or thoughts.”

You might see (or hear?) where I’m going with this. Let’s wax philosophical for a few minutes as I tie that falling tree thought to the customer experience.

If a customer tells you about his experience but the right person/department doesn’t hear about it, does it mean anything?

If customers provide feedback, but you don’t act on it, does their feedback matter?

If a customer tweets a complaint/issue, and no one answers, did the issue never happen?

If a customer has a bad/good experience but doesn’t tell anyone, did it really happen?

If no one is watching or if no one says anything, did that bad/good experience really happen?

If a customer recommends your business, but you don’t acknowledge the referral or deliver the same experience that garnered the recommendation, does that Promoter matter?

If you say you have a customer-centric culture, but you don’t listen to your customers, are you kidding yourself?

If your customers’ perceptions are their reality, are they your reality, too?

If it gets measured but doesn’t get done, what’s the point?


Are you around to hear your customers? Are you paying attention? How effective is your customer listening? Are you doing something about it?

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. – Albert Einstein

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Annette Franz
Annette Franz is founder and Chief Experience Officer of CX Journey Inc. She is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She has 25+ years of experience in helping companies understand their employees and customers in order to identify what makes for a great experience and what drives retention, satisfaction, and engagement. She's sharing this knowledge and experience in her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).


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