Tuesday Nov 27, 2012

The Talent Behind Customer Experience

Earlier, I wrote about Powerful Data Lessons from the Presidential Election. A key component of the Obama team’s data analysis deserves its own discussion—the people.

Recruiters are probably scrambling to find out who those Obama data crunchers are and lure them into corporations. For the Obama team, these data scientists became a secret ingredient that the competition didn’t have. 

[Read More]

Tuesday Oct 30, 2012

The Softer Side of Customer Experience

It’s election season in the U.S., and you know what that means. It means I stop by the recycling bin in my garage before entering the house with the contents of my mailbox. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing my usual direct mail purge when I came across a piece from The Container Store®. This piece would have gone straight to the recycling bin, but the title stopped me: Learn what WE STAND FOR! [Read More]

Thursday Oct 04, 2012

Purple Cows, Copernicus, and Shampoo – Lessons in Customer Experience

What makes a great customer experience? And, why should you or your organization care? These are the questions that set the stage for the Oracle Customer Experience Summit, which kicked off yesterday in San Francisco.

Day 1: The first day was filled with demos and insights from customer experience experts and Oracle customers sharing what it takes to deliver great customer experiences. Author Seth Godin delivered an entertaining presentation that included an in-depth exploration of the always-connected, always-sharing experience revolution that we are witnessing and yes, talked about the purple cow. It turns out that customer experience is your way to be the purple cow. Before everyone headed out to see Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon at the Oracle customer appreciation event, the day wrapped up with a discussion around building a customer-centric culture. Where do you start? Whom does it involve? What are some pitfalls to avoid?

Day 2: The second day addressed the details behind all the questions brought up at the end of Day 1. Before you start on a customer experience initiative, Paul Hagen noted that you must understand you will forge a path similar to Copernicus. You will be proposing ideas and approaches that challenge current thinking in your organization. Just as Copernicus' heliocentric theory started a scientific revolution, your customer-centric efforts will start an experience revolution.

If you think customer experience is like a traditional marketing approach, think again. It’s not about controlling your customers and leading them where you want them to go. It might sound like heresy to some, but your customers are already in control, whether or not your company realizes and acknowledges it. And, to survive and thrive, you'll have to focus on customers by thinking outside-in and working towards a brand that is better and more authentic. We learned how Vail Resorts takes this customer-centric approach. Employees must experience the mountain themselves and understand the experience from the guest’s standpoint. This has created a culture where employees do things for guests that are not expected.

We also learned a valuable lesson in designing and innovating customer-centered experiences from Kerry Bodine. First you make the thing, and then you make the thing right. In this case, the thing is customer experience. Getting customer experience right means iterative prototyping and testing of your ideas. This is where shampoo comes inthink lather, rinse, repeat. Be prepared to keep repeating until the customer experience is right.

Many of these sessions will be posted to YouTube in the coming weeks so be sure to subscribe to our CX channel.

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