Tag Archives: Becky Carroll

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Becky Carroll

As we get gear up for the 2009 NACCM: Customers 1st Event this year, we’re going to be interviewing and getting to know the speakers and sponsors who will bring their perspectives on customer service to you. We recently sat down with chair Becky Carroll, last year’s NACCM: Customers 1st Live Blogger and blogger at Customers Rock!. She will be presenting during the Aligning Social Media with Customer Strategy Summit on Tuesday, November 3. Download the NACCM:Customers 1st Brochure to find out more about the program this year.

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Hello and welcome to the NACCM: Customers 1st podcast, today I have the pleasure of speaking with Becky Carroll. Becky Carroll is the founder of Petra Consulting Group and blogger at the Customers Rock!. She is a long-time customer advocate and someone who is passionate about social media, marketing, and the customer experience. In 2005, Becky founded Petra Consulting Group, a strategic consulting agency helping companies grow through customer conversation leading to stronger customer relationships. She was also the live blogger at last year’s NACCM Customers 1st Conference.

And with that said, I would like to welcome Becky.

Tell us a little bit about your self and your passion points.

Becky: Well you’ve covered a lot already! But, so, like you said I am the founder of Petra Consulting Group. And I founded that to build on my passion points, which are the customers. For a long time I have been focused on customer not just consumers, but from a B2B perspective as well. And how businesses can really grow customer conversations that will intern grow customer relationships. So from that, I started my blog Customers Rock to talk about great customer experience. A positive blog, it’s not one of those ranting blogs that you see a lot of, but positive. And to share with companies others that are doing it really well. So that we have some great examples to build from as we build our businesses. And then the other thing that is one of my passions is helping people. A little over a year ago, I started teaching a class at UC San Diego on how to market with social media for business. That’s been a lot of fun to work with students from around the work who are taking the class. Work with local business in San Diego, and work with them to figure out how to use new media to help them improve their business and grow. I think that covers your question.

Thank you for serving as our first official blogger at NACCM Customers 1st last year. What did you get out of the conference last year? What made it different?

Becky: Well last year was the first year I’d been to the NACCM: Customers 1st Conference. I loved it, it was a great conference and a lot of fun to be your first official blogger so thanks for that. One of the things I really enjoyed about the conference, and what made it different from other conferences I’ve been to, is it had a lot of different chances to get your hands dirty. It was held in Anaheim at the Disneyland Resort. And so we had the opportunity to go out with someone from the Disney Institute and understand what was going on with customer service. Understand how Disney is so good at taking care of their customers who they call their guests. So that was a fabulous opportunity, and I’m a huge Disney fan, so for me, I thought that that was really the best. But I think the other thing that was great about last year’s conference was that there was a wonderful opportunity to meet with the speakers. They were very accessible. There were opportunities to sign up and have one on one time with them. Met them at lunches and dinners and I thought it was just a very open environment, sharing conference, and I loved that we were there with other people who were liked minded and very customer centric and understand how important customers are to business success.

This year you strategically partnered with us to develop the agenda for the Aligning Social Media with Customer Strategy – Give us a preview of what to expect from this summit and why it’s so crucial that professionals attend this summit, what makes it so unique?

Becky: Thanks. I did have the opportunity to work with your conference team to help put this special day focused on social media together. One of the reasons I did it was because I’m always getting questions from people in my class or others who call me or on my blog saying, ‘Hey Becky, my boss saw an article on Twitter in the Wall Street Journal and he’s telling me to go do it but I don’t know anything about it and I’m not sure it makes sense for my business.’ So I think it’s important that businesses especially those who want to get closer to their customers think through whether or not they really need social media. Is this just hype or something we need to take seriously. And if it is something we need to take seriously, how do you go about doing that and which tools do we need to start using? So this summit is a great day for them, it’s the beginning of the Customers 1st Conference, to start thinking about how to make this a strategic not an emotional decision. And hear from people who are really leaders in social media who are doing it and doing it from a customer relationship building perspective rather than just a PR perspective, which is what many people are doing it from. So I would encourage anyone to come to the summit day on aligning social media to really find out how to know the best way to use social media to build customer relationships.

If you could give companies that are looking into social media efforts one piece of advice, what would it be’?

Becky: That’s easy, it’s listen. I think too many companies are jumping into social media without stopping first to hear what customer are saying. I look at social media as a party, where you go into the room and there are lots of people who are having lost of different conversations on lots of different topics. And you would never walk up to just on group and say, ‘Hey my name is Becky and I want to tell you all about my business and what I do. And hey, would you like to get on my mailing list’? People would kind of look at you and go, ‘Ew, no thanks,’ and walk away. If we first listen and find out what that conversation is about and learn a little more about those who are in the conversation, then maybe we can come in a little bit softer and a participate instead of just shouting at people. So I always encourage the one thing, if nothing else is done in social media, there are some tools out there that are free, and listen to your customers, listen to the conversation, listen to see what they have to say about you, your brand, your competitors and your industry. Use this to supplement to the rest of how you’re listening to the voice of the customer to really learn how to build relationships.

Any else you’d like to share?

Becky:I would like to leave people with the thought that customer focus is so much more important right now than it ever has been. The relationships that are built and fortified now I think are going to be able to withstand this economic storm. I think that companies that really focus on getting to know their customers needs, preferences and desires are going to be well positioned and ahead of the game when we come out on the other side.

We’d like to thank Becky Carroll for speaking with us and a very special thank you to our listeners. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/customerworld.

See you in November!

Connecting Employees with Customers

Becky Carroll recently posted on the Customers Rock! blog that taking the time out to listen to what customers are saying is an important part of the customer experience. The old age saying is that a happy customer tells a friend and an unhappy customer tells 10 people. Becky goes on to explain that social media is important because it gives customers a platform to leave feedback and opinions, and if you can somehow meet and solve problems live online, well that’s even better!

How good of a job is your company doing in interacting with your customers through social media?

Zappos.com Remains a Customer Service Rock Star

It’s no surprise that Zappos.com comes in the Becky Carroll’s list of top customer service rock stars of 2008 in her latest post in Customers Rock! Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com once mentioned to Becky that they are a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes. Their main focus is keeping customers happy, as Becky explains when a customer service rep recommended a competitor’s website to her when they told Becky that she would not have her sandals in time for Christmas. Few companies do this, and this is what makes them stand out from the rest. Is your company focused on keeping customers happy?

NACCM 2008: We Are All Storytellers

Becky and Greg have been good enough to provide their own perspectives on our keynotes yesterday. I also was on hand for our great presentations. The morning began with an opening address from our chairperson, JoAnna Brandi. I’ve had the chance to work every day during this conference with JoAnna. She has reminded so many here of the importance of looking past customer satisfaction and to remember that even for ourselves, satisfactory marks are not enough. We are all seeking the exemplary. She reinforced what Kevin discussed the night before that we are all seeking the magical, that moment that makes us go WOW!

Keith Ferrazzi, author of “Never Eat Alone,” followed and he focused on the importance of relationships in order to help us achieve our goals in our career. Keith had been good enough to host a web seminar with us over the summer to share some of these ideas. Here is just a small portion of that discussion:

Keith was followed by Joe Torre. I had the chance to meet Joe before his presentation. He is a very warm, welcoming, and friendly individual. During his discussion, he answered many questions from the audience. He was quite frank, not only about the actual details of his remarkable career, but he also reminded everyone that in the end, no matter the figures, or the expectations, it all comes down to people and their own personal responses. Everyone in attendance appreciated not only his insights in baseball but also his management experience, handling difficult bosses, temperamental staff, and the expectations of customers. His ability to manage all of these elements clearly has led to his success on and off the field.

Joe was followed by Peter Guber, Chairman & Founder of Mandalay Entertainment. I’ve had the opportunity to hear Peter speak before. He discusses the importance of storytelling to achieve those goals we have. Great storytellers are able to engage their listeners and create an emotional connection. Storytelling is such a fundamental aspect of our emotional makeup, we all can be storytellers, but its understanding the power of storytelling that will help us to become great storytellers. Here is a small portion of that presentation:

As we come into our final day of the conference, we have several corporate practitioners who will be sharing their own experiences in dealing with the daily challenges so many face in customer-facing organizations. I won ‘t have the opportunity to post immediately after but in the coming days and weeks I will certainly add more material from the event. If you haven’t been by the site, be sure and check all of the great material we have been posting including photos from the conference.

Finally, I want to send a ‘shout-out’ to my colleagues. The team who produces and puts together this great event, works very hard to create an experience attendees will not forget. Even for those of you not here can see how much effort and work goes into creating this remarkable conference. You can be sure they appreciate your feedback in order to ensure you have the best possible time here.

NACCM 2008: Another Day


By Becky Carroll, Customers Rock!

At the NACCM Customers 1st Conference today, we had the opportunity to listen to some fabulous keynotes as well as start to dig-in to the sessions. Along the way, we may have even gotten a little Goofy! Lots of nuggets, video, and photos, including Keith Ferrazzi, Joe Torre, and Peter Guber. Keep reading! Inspiring Employees
The theme across all of the keynotes today was one of community, relationship building, and emotions. (Customers Rock! note – many of these themes work very well with the social media tools that are available to connect with customers, and with each other.) JoAnna Brandi kicked off the day with an energetic discussion of being leaders that inspire customers to be more engaged at work, which, in turn, leads to better customer engagement. As leaders, we need to use more positive emotion; this will affect our employees and our customers. Keep your employees out of the fear we are seeing, and start focusing on the positive. What is right? What is possible? What is the next solution we can find?
She also challenged attendees to stop focusing exclusively on customer satisfaction, as customers don’t want things that are just ‘satisfactory’. They want something better than that! While important, satisfaction is not the end game. The pot of gold at the other side of the rainbow is joy, happiness, Wow, and Magic. We have to start creating emotional relationships with our customers. This is done by showing up at work with emotion, not checking it at the door! It is the leader’s job to make sure everyone around them uses Magic ‘ Make a Great Impression on the Customer. Never Eat Alone The first keynote was Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone.He turned this into a working session to give people a personal relationship action plan for the upcoming year. Who do you need to work with to get you where you want to go? People are critical to your success, and relationships are the core. We discussed which words describe business relationships: Trust, human, feedback, fun, candor, collaborative. Which words add for most personal relationships? Laughter, love, listening, intimacy, reliable, trust, passion. The shift ‘ a business relationship is a personal relationship in a business environment. Make it purposeful; strategically guide your relationships. It is not about waiting for someone else to start the relationship; it is about you being proactive with others. If you have strong personal relationships, you will be more easily forgiven when you mess it up! Video of Keith: you can’t get there alone. Keith had the group go through a series of exercises to help crystallize thinking around this. Our job in this world is to create an environment around ourselves that invites people in to have a better relationship with us. It is all about what we do ‘ it is our responsibility. Lower our guard, invite people in. As we talk to people, we ought to be having the following internal conversation: – Is there something I can care about with this person? A way to connect and remember?
- Is there a way I can help? ‘How can I help you? Who can I introduce you to’? How powerful is that?! Keith also discussed the ‘Fluffy’ factor. This was referring to a phone conversation where the service rep could hear a dog barking in the background ‘ ‘Fluffy’. “What is the name of your dog,” this rep might ask, as a way to connect with the other person and see them as a human being (not just an irritating caller). We need to show up as the human and empathetic individual they want to see. If all call center folks projected a wonderful positive outcome, in their own minds, it would begin to manifest itself. How are your customer service people seeing your customers? As a pain, or as a real person with real issues? Keith also shared about the importance of being real, authentic, and human to others. He stated that others can tell right away if we are not being truthful or transparent with them, even over the phone! We need to have the following mindset, with customers or with those we want to build relationships with: We really care. We want to hear you (people need to be heard). When we have this mindset, we begin to empathize. I will wrap up this section on Keith with a video of him telling the story about someone who cared about another human being and how it changed lives. We then had the pleasure of listening to Joe Torre, manager of the LA Dodgers, share nuggets from his many years in baseball. Here are some highlights:

  • You only get better (at whatever you do) when you have to deal with setbacks. Tough times don’t last; tough people do.
  • It’s the little things in a game that help you win. Concentrate on the little things; big things will happen.
  • Be loyal to each other on the team, and have respect for that other guy who is out there, perhaps where you want to be.
  • You can’t assume your customers are yours forever.
  • What can I help us do to win today?
  • Whatever line of work you are in, it is all about the people.

Making Connections Through Storytelling The morning ended with a fascinating speech by Peter Guber, Chairman and Founder, Mandalay Entertainment. Peter has quite a line of Hollywood successes, including his role as producer for such films as Gorillas in the Mist, The Deep, The Color Purple, and Rain Man, to name a few.
Per Peter: “Coping with failure in uncertain times is a necessity; it has always been a partner in my journey.” He shared three navigational states for these times and how to get through them – fear, uncertainty, and change. Peter also shared that the game changer, the secret sauce, is the story we tell ourselves and the story we tell our customers and clients. Oral storytelling. It is in all of us. We need to connect our story to the emotions of our customers and employees to help them propel themselves through all of this. We are all wired to do oral storytelling. When we do it, it changes the word from “customer/client/patron” to “audience”. One thing to keep in mind about an audience: they expect experiences and to be engaged emotionally. They want to be moved. Here is a video of Peter talking about how human beings are “wired” to tell oral stories. Peter encouraged us to unleash our story for our benefit, and do it by MAGIC. MAGIC ‘ like a hand, each of the following concepts works independently, but they work better together. Motivating your Audience to your Goal Interactively with great Content Are you motivated about your story? Yes ‘ you can craft a powerful story. You can tell, before someone says a word, whether they are authentic. Be calm; be coherent with it. Then tell it. Demonstrate you are authentic with your story. This engages people. Audience ‘ everybody you talk with (not to) is an audience. How do I get their attention? If it’s not a good time to do it, don’t tell your story! Know what is interesting. Try to be interested in them, create an emotional connection. The context makes the story different for everyone. What are they interested in? Find out then connect it to that. Aim for the heart, not the head. Feelings. Often times a story, elegantly presented, can change the results. Here is another video of Peter discussing how he convinced the head of the studio to let him make the film Gorillas in the Mist. In this video, Peter was just talking about how he had come to realize that he was not connecting with his audience (the studio head). So, he became a wounded gorilla in order to help explain why it was important to tell the story of saving gorillas: Goal ‘ specifically direct someone to a call to action. We have to have authentic goals that are generous; then, we both win. Virally-advocated stories are authentic; they have to be real. Interactively ‘ it has to be a conversation. The more senses you engage in your story, the more likely you are to own it. They feel they are participating in the story ‘ let your audience own it so they can tell it for you. It’s the way we are wired. Interactivity ‘ think about it before you start. You have to surrender control. Why do you think you control the customer or your brand? When you relinquish control, it allows them to come forward and own the information in a unique way. Content ‘ The actual story is the Holy Grail. Look to your own experience ‘ true story, inspired by story. Use observation ‘ retell other people’s stories. Use them for emotional transportation. Look at history and use artifacts; make emotional connections today from it. Use metaphor and analogy; he became a gorilla for the studio head to get him to connect with the story and make the movie. Think of your customers as an audience, interact with them with really great content, and enjoy the front row seat to your success. Other Goodies The afternoon consisted of 4 main tracks of sessions. I attended the session on Disney presented by Maritz and The Disney Institute. Bruce Kimbrell was again the presenter, along with Kathy Oughton from Maritz. Bruce told a great story about how serious Disney is about surveying customers in the theme park. He shared that some days, the survey at the entrance gate to the park might only ask for your zip code. On other days, the conversation might go like this: Disney: “Hi, do you have a some time to take our guest survey? We would need about 2 hours of your time.” Guest: “Uh, no, that would take up a big chunk of my time here.” Disney: “Well, how about if we take care of you for tomorrow?” Guest: “No, I would have to change my flights, my hotel…” Disney: “What if we took care of that? Would you be willing to give us your time?” Now that is serious focus on getting the voice of the customer! I also had the opportunity to sit in on JoAnna Brandi‘s session/discussion about what makes people feel good at work. Here were some of the attendee responses – - Liking the people I work with – Harmony – Making a difference – Being recognized by others, especially when you find out about it later JoAnna is trying to understand these motivators so she can help coach others on how to improve employee retention and loyalty. There’s More! Go check out my blog, the flickr group, and my Tweets to see/hear more about the day. Last day – tomorrow!

NACCM 2008: What’s Your Red Ball

The Conference has arrived, and I have to say, in my opinion, it began with a bang. A day long pre-conference summit that lead to the official launch of the conference opened by JoAnna Brandi, Publisher, Customer Care Coach & President, Joanna Brandi & Co. who in turn introduced our opening conference keynote, Kevin Carroll. Kevin is a remarkable presenter with a personal story of conviction, personal success in the face of great strife and difficulty. He has been inspired by the truly simple and discovered the remarkable and innovative in his life. His opening keynote was not only a chance to share that perspective but to also to help us consider the opportunity we have being here to develop, network and share. Everyone came away very enthusiastic and excited.

I have here a snippet of his presentation. He discusses the inspirational moment that he describes “saved his life.”

Afterwards, we sat down with Kevin and JoAnna who discuss some of their shared perspectives:

After seeing these videos, I’m sure you’ll want to learn more, so be sure and visit his website and blog and his own social network related to his books.

Then I sat down with Becky Carroll, from CustomersRock! who has already been participating in many great sessions and will be here posting her thoughts during the conference. Here she discusses the Disney experience

If you haven’t subscribed to our feed, be sure and do so, you don’t want to miss more of her great insights and thoughts during the next few days.

Next, I met Fred Broce, Program Manager of Request IT for GSK. He’s here presenting later today on the IT Service Catalog: Opening New Customer Channels While Driving Service. I asked him to share some highlights on what attendees can expect during his presentation:

Finally, last night, the CSIA and ICCSO who hosted the International Service Excellence Awards that honored companies large and small, and individuals in customer service positions based on the highest industry standards. I actually had a chance to record a great deal of material, but I’m going to need a little more time than one night to edit it all. But I will share this clip from the opening remarks from Brett Whitford, Secretary-General of the ICCSO, as he tells a rather extraordinary story of individuals going that extra step of customer service.

We have two more days of great experiences and presentations we’ll be sharing. Gregory North has joined us and is also blogging his experiences. So be sure and check back here and our event website to see the many updates including photos and videos we’ll be posting.

Customer Loyalty: Pre-Conference Summit

Cross-post from Customers Rock! by Becky Carroll

Today was my second day here at the NACCM Customers 1st Conference, and it was filled with pre-conference summits and the official kick-off to the event by Kevin Carroll, author of Rules of the Red Rubber Ball. Here is an overview and some nuggets from Disney Institute, nGenera, JetBlue, and of course, Kevin. (Note – if you follow me on Twitter, you already have a taste of what went on at the summit!) Disney Loyalty The day started with Bruce Kimbrell from The Disney Institute who keynoted with a great speech on Disney and their keys to customer loyalty. Bruce asked a great question: Who are you loyal to and why? Some of the answers included the following:

  • Nordstrom – they treat you like you matter
  • Keen shoes – high quality product, and solid customer service if there is a problem
  • Sports team – get a sense of community
  • State Farm Insurance – they are there before the police!
  • Kroger Foods – great customer service experience

Each responder had their own reason for being loyal. Bruce shared that at Disney, they believe the greater the connection, the greater the loyalty! Relationships are built when two things happen:

  1. Customers want to associate with your brand beyond the transaction
  2. Your customers and employees interact positively with each other

Disney gets 80,000 people at their parks in one day. How do you positively interact with all of them? On average, each guest (Disney speak for customer) has 60 interactions with Disney cast members (employees) per day. This is 60 opportunities to make or break the experience; they are the face of Disney! If 59 are great, but number 60 is a jerk, what do I go home and talk about? Disney uses experience mapping to identify all points of contact with customers, look at the experience through the customers’ eyes, and then align Disney strengths to “moments of magic”. Key takeaway: plan it out! Identify and prioritize key opportunties in the customer experience, match specific tools to each opportunity, select partners to involve, then go make it happen! Thank you, Bruce, for all of your Disney insight. Swarming the Magic Kingdom I spent most of my day in this highly interactive activity, led by Frank Capek of nGenera (Don Tapscott’s company). He laid the foundation for the day by discussing the next generation customer experience. In other words, with the potential for collaboration found in social media (such as blogs, wikis, social networks, YouTube, etc), how can we enable customers to actively co-create their own experiences? This isn’t experience by intent (improving service levels) or experience by design (creating based on customer needs and priorities) but experience on demand (engage and co-create). After talking about this for awhile, Frank set us loose in Disneyland to take a closer look at what customer experiences are taking place there – down to the smallest detail. We rode rides, analyzed Main Street USA, and listened to Christmas music being aired in the park. We observed what it felt like to be a first-timer, what it felt like to stand in line, and how easy/difficult it was to get around the park. At the end of the day, we came back together and used our collective thinking to brainstorm ideas around not just improved customer experiences, but specifically how customer experiences could be different for those who are “digitally connected” (especially young people who live on social networks). Ideas included the following:

  • “Log in” at the park to learn about wait times in lines, get a personalized experience
  • Have Disney “follow you” around the park (opt-in, of course) via your mobile phone or simply your park ticket (inserted at various attractions) to log your activities and create a “storybook” of your day that could be emailed/link sent to you. You could even opt to have your log update your Facebook or MySpace status throughout the day, sharing your experience with your friends.
  • Using texting/Twitter to share issues with Disney in real-time

It was a great session to get out in the sunshine, look at things from a different perspective, then take and apply it back to our own companies: Walk in your customers’ shoes. Innovate the customer experience. Don’t forget social media! JetBlue and “Jetitude” Rob Maruster, Senior VP of Customer Service at JetBlue held a great session to share how they are bringing humanity back to air travel through servant leadership. Here are some tidbits:

  • JetBlue administers 35 customer surveys each flight (regardless of how full they are); 8% of customers give their feedback (a decent response rate)
  • They use Net Promoter Score (NPS), rather than just customer satisfaction, to gauge how well they are performing and look for opportunities for improvement. It seems to be directly correlated to whether they are running flights on time in a particular month!
  • If something doesn’t go as planned, JetBlue invokes their Customer Bill of Rights and, within 7 days of the flight, they send out flight vouchers to help make up for the inconvenience. “Please, let us try again!”
  • You have to be relevant to customers in order to drive customer loyalty.

I liked the way Rob shared about JetBlue’s customer-focused thinking as he discussed one of the key inputs to their Balanced Scorecard: Drive a Low Cost Culture. He was quick to point out that it is important to be smart about costs, but not to be cheap! “Don’t touch the things that touch the customer.” Great motto, Rob! Rob also talked about their JetBlue attitude, or “jetitude”. They have five “Be’s”:

  1. Be in Blue always (you are always on stage – see my related post!)
  2. Be personal
  3. Be the answer (don’t pass the buck; execs, please walk the talk)
  4. Be engaging (reach out to customers; don’t wait for them to come to you)
  5. Be thankful to every customer (actually thank them for their business)

Finally, Rob talked about the importance of “servant leadership”. Leadership brings all of the above together to serve the employee and, in turn, the customer. They need total transparency, and they need to be willing to get their hands dirty in order to help make it happen. Great talk, Rob! Oh, by the way, JetBlue collected business cards from everyone in the summit and gave away 2 JetBlue travel vouchers! Wow! Great way to show appreciation. The Red Rubber Ball Kevin Carroll opened the official conference at day’s end with his inspiring speech on the importance of play. Per Kevin,

“Play is serious business!”

Kevin encouraged all of us to harness the power of sport and play in everything we do – including our jobs. What inspires you? For Kevin, a simple red, rubber ball (like a playground ball) inspired him to live differently, with purpose, passion, and intention. In fact, he has an amazing life story that took him from a difficult childhood to the military, the NBA, to Nike, and ultimately to being a speaker/author who helps others reach for their dreams. He is a life-long learner, and he shared his “lessons from the playground”:

  1. Commit to it (find what you are passionate about and commit to it)
  2. Seek out encouragers (surround yourself with people who give you permission to dream big)
  3. Work out your creative muscle (need to reawaken our creative side)
  4. Prepare to shine (create your vision, make it clear)
  5. Speak up (stand up for something, what you believe in)
  6. Expect the unexpected (be forever curious, you never know where you will end up!)
  7. Maximize the day (live each day to the fullest – don’t try to get to tomorrow too soon)

Kevin was inspiring, entertaining, and unpredictable. He even tossed out balls into the audience and shared a video of playing “tag” at Nike – with 4,000 coworkers! He challenged us to get the most we can out of each day, as well as out of this conference. After his talk, Yemil Martinez (Director of New Media for the conference) and I had the opportunity to video Kevin’s discussion with Joanna Brandi, conference co-chair, as they discussed the future of this country and how play can help. I will upload that video later this week. Kevin then freely gave me a nice gift for my older son to encourage him to find his passion in life. Thank you, Kevin! Kevin was also nice enough to give me two minutes of his time to share his thoughts with my Customers Rock! readers (and you) on the importance of building community with customers. Thank you so much for your time and energy, Kevin! We will be following you. (Photo credit: nruboc)

NACCM 2008: Off To The Races

Good morning everyone, we are live here from the 2008 NACCM: Customers 1st Conference. We’re very excited to bring to you regular updates from the conference that will include photos and interviews with many of the great speakers who are here presenting. Our goal over the next few days during the conference is to provide daily updates. You’ll be able to check back here and the event website and see the latest from the conference.

We’re off to a fast start with posts by our chairperson, JoAnna Brandi, CEO & Publisher, The Customer Care Coach, who has been regularly blogging in the weeks leading up to our conference. She joins us with a few early posts as she prepares for the conference to begin. And this morning she has some early thoughts for everyone getting ready to network and participate in some great presentations from a wide-range of companies and presentors.

Also, Becky Carroll of Customers Rock! is on hand and will be posting her own experiences during the conference. She gives us this great perspective to begin with. She will be actively updating everyone on twitter so be sure and follow her here.

Now I had the chance to quickly catch up with Amanda Powers, Conference Director of NACCM: Customers 1st. She had a few minutes to stop and share with us a little about what has gone into this year’s event as well as some details of what to expect during the next few days.

Finally, we are very proud to have The International Service Excellence Awards at this year’s conference. I had the opportunity to speak with Brett Whitford, Secretary-General, of the International Council of Customer Service Organizations and Christine Churchill, Executive Director of The Customer Service Institute of America who will be hosting the awards ceremony tonight. Hear from them as they tell us about these renowned service awards. Remember, if you are here, you can still purchase tickets to this great event.

Over these next few days there are so many people to meet, and great presentations to watch. We’ll be updating you throughout the conference, so be sure and subscribe to our feed to get our updates and check our website for even more detail from the conference.

The Customer Bathroom Experience

Becky Carroll brings up some interesting perspectives on the customer experience at the bathroom, which seems to be a forgotten space in her latest post at Customers Rock! Her thoughts’keep restroom signs simple and easy to understand. After all, we want to avoid embarrassing mishaps when customers can not differentiate between the two restrooms.

She also posted this video of the beautiful fixtures of the public ladies room at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. An important lesson here is to carry the image of your brand everywhere, and that includes the bathroom. Enjoy!