Keith Ferrazzi Talks Customer Experience Leadership in the Digital Age

We recently sat down with Total Customer Experience Leaderships Summit’s keynote
speaker Keith Ferrazzi, who is also CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight and Author of
Never Eat Alone. Ferrazzi discussed how customer experienced has evolved in the
digital age and the importance of customer experience leadership.
This year, TCEL will explore the new realities of building
brands and relationships in today’s socially driven and data abundant world.
The event will shine an important lens on the power of insights and the
critical need for marketers to focus on factoring emotion into the bigger
equation to get a return on customer relationships. Download the brochure for
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Here is what Ferrazzi had to say:
IIR: Why are
empathy and emotion so important in when it comes
to customer experience?
Ferrazzi: Technology’s
pretty much leveled the field with regard to quality, making customers more
likely to develop relationships with the companies they choose to work with.
That’s put the customer in the position of looking for a more personal
experience. They want to work with people they trust. Empathy, vulnerability,
emotion are ways to develop that trust. 
IIR: What
are the key traits of a great customer experience leader?
Ferrazzi:  Obviously,
accountability is critical. You’re responsible for your customer’s experience,
good or bad. But trust, creativity and adaptability are also pretty high. You
have to trust your team to constantly look for new ways to improve the customer
experience. You need the creativity to see the bigger, longer picture. And you
need to be lean enough to change courses when necessary.
IIR: If your
customers have a bad customer experience, how do you reconnect with
them moving forward?
Ferrazzi: Before
anything else, admit your mistake, if it was your mistake, and apologize
directly. So many difficult situations can be neutralized with two simple, but
sincere, words: “I’m sorry.” Customers are angry after a bad
experience because they feel like they were treated poorly. By apologizing,
you’ve already changed the dynamic and make resolving the situation more
collaborative. From there you can turn a bad customer experience into a loyal
customer just by being open to their feelings.
IIR: How has
the digital revolution changed the overall customer experience?
Ferrazzi: It’s
certainly had an equalizing effect. Neither customer nor company is limited by
the old, pre-digital marketplace. Small start-ups can compete against big
brands by serving a specific niche and can reach customers all over the world,
just by being where their customers are online. And with so much market
segmentation targeting your specific customers is more cost effective. You’ll
reach fewer eyes but the ones you do reach are more likely to be interested in
your product.
IIR: How has
social media affected customer experience?
Ferrazzi: It’s
made feedback instantaneous. You know immediately whether your customer’s had a
good or bad experience. The customer is far more empowered and a dissatisfied
customer is always more likely to voice his or her opinion. One bad meal, one
rude CSR, and Twitter, Facebook, Reddit knows immediately. You can see that as
a problem, or you can use that same medium to show how much you value your
IIR: How do
you make the connections between experience, brand and loyalty, which
together create customer expectations?
Ferrazzi: Understanding
what your brand brings to your customers, not just in the specific goods or
services, but in the visceral experience, is critical. Even if you are your
brand, is your audience one who is looking for something posh or homey?
Luxurious or utilitarian? Intellectually rigorous or practical? Know what
emotional need your fulfilling in addition the good or service you’re
providing, and you’ll turn a generic transaction into an “experience”
which will trigger loyalty. 
Want to hear more
from Keith on customer experience in person? Join him at Total Customer
Experience Leaders Summit 2014 in Miami in April. Mention code TCEL14LI
& Save 15% off the standard rate. Register today
The TCEL Team