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October 2013

8 posts from September 2013

Why CX Day Matters: Corporate systems must turn to face the customer

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, professionals around the world will be gathering, both online and in person to discuss the challenges and celebrate the people who are creating great customer Cxdayexperiences. Many of us face monumental challenges within our organizations because the systems are designed to maximize efficiency and accountability to top management. So, as Oracle president Mark Hurd points out, we are anxiously awaiting top management to put the systems to work for the customer. That day is going to come because the customers, not the employees, will demand it.

In Houston, CX Day will be celebrated at the Uptown Tasting Room beginning at 5:30 pm. Attendance is free, we will have food and drink, as well as presentations by Bill Clayton, the Reliant VP of Customer Care and the founder of Normal Modes, Angela Randall. RSVP for Houston.

LinkedIn: Why CEOs Must Become Customer-Experience Evangelists, 2013-Sep-27 by Mark Hurd, Oracle President

As I look at those three obstacles — core technology, organizational structures, and budget priorities — it’s clear that they can’t be overcome by a feisty social team, or a hard-charging sales leader, or even by a forceful finance chief. No, those barriers to becoming a truly social business that can deliver superb customer experiences can only be knocked down by the CEO.

And that’s why in my meetings with customers across the country and around the world, I tell CEOs that they need to become Customer-Experience evangelists. It’s not enough for CEOs to bless some plans for which others will be champions, or to ask the CFO to see if he can reallocate some funding to kickstart a CX campaign.

Instead, CEOs need to make Customer Experience a top priority across the company, and make CX a central goal of transformational efforts that attack those three obstacles that today only look like inconveniences, but that tomorrow will manifest themselves as dangerous and devastating threats.

A better way to segment your customer base

Most people only consider whether customers are big or small, not their potential. Tq130924sdBut actually, a customer of potential has different needs than any other. And your company has the most to lose if your people are discounting those needs in favor of winning new customers.

Art & Science of Customer-centric Growth: Most Growable Customers, 2013-Sep-6, by Steven P. Dennis

In concept, any good customer growth strategy has three basic components:

  • Plans to retain your Most Valuable Customers (“MVC’s”)
  • Actions to attract and engage your Most Valuable Prospects (“MVP’s”)
  • Strategies to increase share of wallet with your Most Growable Customers (“MGC’s).

Most often, struggling brands fail to clearly define and track these segments, understand their unique needs and put into place differentiated, workable programs to move the dial with each.

But even if companies don’t use this exact framework they typically are pretty good at focusing on the big spenders, while simultaneously obsessing over winning new customers.

Unfortunately this often means they aren’t spending enough time on their MGC’s. And that’s usually a big miss.

How to spot a myth in your own brain

As our Tq130918sdbrains are sense-making machines, they pretty much supply us with an explanation for everything we see. Occasionally the brain is stumped and we become conscious of the process. When that happens, it's a great opportunity to go into scientific mode and test a hypothesis. Don't just make an assumption and go on. Form a theory and do some research.

Daily Good: How to Train your Brain to See What Others Don't, 2013-Sep-8 by Carolyn Gregoire

"There's a belief that correlation doesn't imply causality, which is true. People see all sorts of correlations in coincides that turn out to be spurious, so they get a bad reputation," Klein says. "But in my work I find that a lot of insights are fed by people spotting coincidences and making assumptions, and instead of just saying 'It must be true,' doing to follow-up work to find out if it's true."

Get ready to put your message on a card

I love postcards. They arrive in your mailbox. They don't have to be opened. You can scan them. Tq130921sdYou can stick them someplace to process later. When you find them again you get a sense of instant recognition.

The postcard format is spreading across the web like wildfire. Can you postcard-ize your messages? Send me one!

Inside Intercom: Why Cards Are the Future of the Web, 2013-Sep by Paul Adams

Cards are a great medium for communicating quick stories. Indeed the great (and terrible) films of our time are all storyboarded using a card like format. Each card representing a scene. Card, Card, Card. Telling the story. Think about flipping through printed photos, each photo telling it’s own little tale. When we travelled we sent back postcards...

Get ready to change your mind

Whether you're reading email or listening to someone speak, you should always be looking for a chance to upgrade your understanding, Tq130913ldimprove your mental model, and discard mistaken beliefs.

Daily Good: The Most Overlooked Leadership Skill, 2013-Sep-1 by Peter Bregman

Typically, we choose our leaders for their skill at conveying messages clearly and powerfully. But, in my experience, it’s their ability to receive messages that distinguishes the best leaders from the rest. That’s because the better you are at receiving, the more likely people will talk to you. And that’s precisely what every one of us needs: to be surrounded by people who are willing to speak the unspoken.

Why future profits depend on current customers

A customer you have in the future cannot fund your growth and profits. You can gamble on the future by chasing prospective customers, and you may win big. But you acquire new customers by spending the money made on the old ones. If you reinvest profits into helping your current customers, you will be learning more and gambling less. Tq130911pd

Apparently, gambling is more exciting than learning.

Econsultancy: Companies more focused on acquisition than retention stats, 2013-Aug-30 by Graham Charlton

According to a new report, both companies and agency clients have a greater focus on customer acquisition than retention (44% vs. 16% for companies and 58% vs. 12% for agency clients).

Just 40% of companies and 30% of agencies have an equal focus on acquisition and retention.

Why I joined the CXPA and how you can benefit

Most marketing activities are about targeting and capturing customers. But as a target, I don't want to be captured, I want to be captivated. Unlike other marketing networks, at the CXPA you can share and promote great experiences. You can give credit to a front-line worker who brightened your day. You can study campaigns that engendered deep and lasting loyalty. You enjoy being a customer as well as trying to acquire them.

Houston, meet the Customer Experience Professionals Association. Cxpa_avatar_02_bigger

Join us for a global celebration of companies and people that are creating great experiences for customers... CX Day, Tuesday evening, October 1, 2013. We are meeting at the Tasting Room, 1101-18 Uptown Park Blvd, in the Galleria area. The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, and you are welcome to arrive late.
Please RSVP.

Learn about the Awards, the online support and the CXPA at

In Houston, we'll have networking, introductions, discussions, and brief presentations by two local customer experience experts:

William Clayton
VP of Customer Care Operations
Reliant Energy

Angela Schmeidel Randall
President and Founder
Normal Modes

As Vice President of Customer Care Operations, Bill Clayton is responsible for leading Reliant’s customer care and service operations for mass market customers. In this role, he oversees the company's call center and mid-office operations. Clayton also serves as the company's energy expert in matters related to energy efficiency. With nearly two decades of experience, he has in-depth knowledge of the utility and retail electric industries. Clayton has managed a number of specialized consumer programs for Reliant and has held various roles within residential load management, field operations, retail marketing, program development and retail operations. He graduated summa cum laude from Abilene Christian University with a BA in Political Science.

Angela Randall's Houston-based firm, Normal Modes, specializes in user experience design and usability testing. Angela has more than 15 years of experience in user interface design, user experience development and usability testing with complex, data-driven websites and applications. She began her career with AIM Management Group, then worked with Continental Airlines to redesign and upgrade the airline’s customer-facing systems, including the first voice-automated flight-booking engine. All systems remain widely used today. Angela is a member of the Usability Professionals’ Association. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, and a master’s degree from Rice University.