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As 2018 wrapped up, we finished mapping three very different B2B journeys – healthcare, manufacturing, and distribution. We found one major consistency: customers in all three reported recent backorder issues. The customers were all businesses, but that’s where their similarities ended. Some were   mom   and pop retail storefronts; others were global manufacturers whose names you would immediately recognize, but their stories were similar : The small business takes a customer order, then purchases the required inventory. Later, they receive a call that the product is back-ordered. This puts them in an awkward position – does the company scramble ...
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Customer Experience as an industry is at a crossroads.   As I have written before , the results that we should be seeing are not there. It’s time to put up or shut up. If we as an industry do not turn it around, we might see our budgets and headcounts reassigned somewhere else. In our recent podcast, we had a guest Bob Thompson, CEO of Customer Think Corp., an independent research and publishing firm focused on customer-centric business management and the founder and editor-in-chief of CustomerThink.com . Along with being a popular international speaker, blogger, and author of   Hooked on Customers: The Five Habits of Legendary Customer-Centric Companies ...
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I have used  Uber many times over the years. I always request a driver at the moment I need transportation. But recently, I tested out Uber's pre-scheduling option for a ride to the airport. At the beginning of my journey, my experience was excellent. Then a glitch happened that shifted my perspective on using Uber again for time-sensitive events. I will get to that point in a moment. Let’s first discuss why I initially felt delighted, because other companies can replicate these factors to satisfy their customers. At the beginning of my journey, I was... 1. Kept INFORMED. Uber systems sent me alerts, communicating that my driver, Chris, was on his way ...
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Two weeks ago, I posted “ Is Customer Experience a Missed Opportunity? ” and shared CCW’s 2018 Market Survey. The report discussed the fact that many customer experience (CX) programs are failing to drive change. There were multiple takeaways; only 9% of programs said their primary use of journey maps was “to ‘orchestrate’ predictive and/or proactive engagement,” whereas 31% primarily used them “to fix ‘pain points’ in the experience.” This was one of many reasons CX hasn't been having a strong impact in many organizations. A recently released report from CustomerThink CEO Bob Thompson, “ Customer Experience at a Crossroads: What Drives CX Success? ” takes ...
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My wife and I took a long-overdue vacation to Mexico, and stayed at an ocean-side resort over the holidays. At check-in, the desk attendant told us they would upgrade us to an ocean-side room for free. Great! We were looking forward to having a nice view. Five minutes later, he came back saying, “I’m sorry. It turns out the room is already occupied.” The result? While rationally we ended up the same, emotionally we were disappointed that we lost the opportunity for the ocean-side view. Bad data made a worse customer experience . Similarly , a local retailer recently sent me a gift card. Since we moved this summer, I gave him my new address, which ...
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This blog comes from my blog archives.  I wrote it back in October of 2016 and as I re-read it this morning, I realized how relevant it remains here at the outset of 2019. Given the number of recent posts on the forum addressing the many challenges of CX within businesses far and wide, I felt it was appropriate to refresh this latent 2016 blog topic. On the cover of the November 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR) in pink uppercase lettering is the headline “WHAT KEEPS CEOs UP AT NIGHT.” Just below that are the words “Brand building, executive pay, and managing Millennials—for starters.” My finely attuned CX radar kicks in here and I notice that the ...
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Customer Experience is having some growing pains. There are a lot of reasons for it, which  I have shared before.  However, by adopting a renewed focus on the following five concepts in Customer Experience, you can overcome these challenges, and, perhaps more importantly, stay ahead of the competition. We discussed these five areas in a recent podcast. I have assembled them here for your reference. 5 CX Concepts to Stay Ahead of the Competition   1. Focus on the ROI of CX improvement   You go into business to make money. If you are a senior manager or the CEO, you need to know that where you have deployed your resources is paying ...
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With the start of a new year, we would like to thank and acknowledge the contributions of three long-time members of the CCXP Advisory Committee, each of whom have announced their transition to other roles within the CXPA volunteer community. Barbie Fink, Chair of the CCXP Advisory Committee for the past five years, has been appointed to the position of CXPA Treasurer on the CXPA Board of Directors. Barbie served on the exam pilot team before being appointed as chair of the then CCXP Certification Board. During her tenure, she led a global team of 25+ CCXP professionals and external testing experts in completing a major two-year effort to update the integrity, ...
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“Our client-centric banking approach is driving momentum in our core business fundamentals,” said William H. Rogers, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of SunTrust Banks, Inc. Business results for SunTrust are on a steady growth path, which the company attributes largely to renewed emphasis on   Client First   as a guiding principle. In my   online talk show interview   with Jeff VanDeVelde, Senior Vice President of Client Experience and Loyalty at SunTrust, he explained: “As our executives were re-writing our enterprise guiding principles, we determined the need to put more focus on   being client 1st  as a guiding principle, and especially the ...
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Your customers are people and people’s behavior is complicated, especially as customers. Many psychological theories exist to help explain why people do what they do, and when those theories apply to how people behave as customers, they are called Behavioral Economics. I have been studying Behavioral Economics for a few years now and applying those principles to Customer Experience. However, a colleague pointed out to me that sometimes I forget that everyone else hasn’t necessarily been as engrossed in the topic as me and when I talk about them, it’s a bit like drinking from a firehose for the audience. My co-host (the aforementioned “colleague”), Professor ...
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My wife and I took a long-overdue vacation to Mexico, and stayed at an ocean-side resort over the holidays. At check-in, the desk attendant told us they would upgrade us to an ocean-side room for free. Great! We were looking forward to having a nice view. Five minutes later, he came back saying, “I’m sorry. It turns out the room is already occupied.” The result? While rationally we ended up the same, emotionally we were disappointed that we lost the opportunity for the ocean-side view. Bad data made a worse customer experience. Similarly, a local retailer recently sent me a gift card. Since we moved this summer, I gave him my new address, which he entered ...
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My immediate answer to this is no – there’s a ton of good work happening to improve customers’ experience. But that’s a qualitative response, informed largely by the great work I see our clients doing . Unfortunately , if you read surveys about the current state of the customer experience, you may come away with a different perspective. For Customer Contact Week, I reviewed another CCW white paper, their   2018 Market Study . The white paper includes two surveys – one from consumers evaluating their current experiences and another from companies showing what they’re doing. The customer survey shows that consumers aren’t wowed by their experiences, ...
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I recently met with my financial advisor and learned my portfolio was riskier than my wife's. That's always been the case; I have always been the one taking more risks. Sometimes the risks I take pay off; sometimes they don't. My good lady wife is more risk-averse than me, it seems. She does not take many risks, save for marrying me in the first place. I wonder if that was one of the risks that paid off for her or not. Risk aversion was the subject of our latest podcast[1] . People have different tolerances for risk. Sometimes their tolerance for risk is across the board, and sometimes it varies depending on the different domains of life. When we talk ...
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In preparation for  Customer Contact Week  in Nashville, CCW shared their special report on journey mapping with me. Given our focus and expertise on journey mapping, I’m commonly asked to review these types of reports. Unlike most, however, CCW’s special report truly gets to the heart of the matter – journey mapping is not about creating a map; it's about driving customer-focused change in your organization. Most of these reports focus extensively on how to create a map, typically going into the author’s specialty. They’re sales pieces. Instead, CCW includes interviews from practitioners at Groupon, FlipKart and Urban Health Plan to give context for using ...
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Improving Customer Experience? It’s Academic. I have always been surprised by the massive wealth of data in academia that doesn’t get used. The reason, I believe, is the language. The way academic research is written is like a reading a legal brief; it’s impenetrable. You come away from it thinking the person who wrote it is very clever, but don’t understand what he or she said at all. My co-author and podcast co-host Professor Ryan Hamilton jokes that academic research is not written for a human audience. It would seem sensible to me that we change that. Funny enough, not everyone on the academic side would agree with me. Professor ...
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Understanding Customers’ Mental Budgets I won some money at a Casino recently, an unusual outcome for me. It wasn’t a huge amount, but it was a nice windfall. Did I spend it on something practical? No. Save it? Nope. Give it to charity? Not a chance. I bought a fancy new fishing reel that I had my eye on but previously had felt was too expensive. It’s excellent, and I couldn’t be happier. So why did I buy it when I won money but wouldn’t buy it when I would just have to pay for it from my usual funds? The answer is found in the concept of mental accounting, and it might have significant implications for your Customer Experience. We discussed ...
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One of the most common questions I am asked by CX leaders is, “How do I get executive buy-in for our program?” What the question reveals is that while many companies have “bought in” enough to dedicate one or more employees to focus on the experiences of customers or have funded insights programs to measure performance and identify pain points, true executive commitment still lags. And this is a problem for experience management programs because successful transformation efforts require senior executives to set direction, lead communication efforts, model desired behaviors, and hold the rest of the organization accountable. So how can you get executives more ...
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CXPA in the New Year

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Dear members, As we write this letter to you, the old year has passed, and winter has the northern hemisphere firmly in its grasp. The holidays are officially over, and the new year is upon us; a time for hunkering down with family and friends, reflection, and the setting of goals. John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” As your CXPA leadership team, we are looking towards an exciting future and during our two-day planning meeting this past November, we laid out a plan to get us there based on feedback from our membership, market changes, association sustainability ...
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I am concerned. I recently read two pieces of research about Customer Experience that worried me. The first was from  Nunwood , a UK-based research company with a Customer Experience index, and it showed that improvements in Customer Experience were not happening. The second was from  Forrester , and it said the same thing: no increases in Customer Experience improvements. With all the effort that companies are putting into improving their Customer Experience, why are there no improvements? The C-Suite want to see a return. If this continues, I am sure the investment in resources and money dedicated to the effort will stop—and rightly so. However, if ...
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One of my favorite movies in my younger days was “While You Were Sleeping” starring Sandra Bullock. I absolutely adore Sandra Bullock and must have watched it repeatedly. This holiday season as I return from a military deployment that took me away most of the year, I find myself “waking up” and just want to say to each of you, “ Wow you’ve been busy while I was away! ” When describing what it feels like to be a military reservist returning to civilian life following a deployment to a war zone, I usually borrow this analogy from a friend of mine. You know when you’re sitting with a group of friends watching a really good movie, and just as the action ...
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