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Customer Experience Conversations: Crystal Collier

In this next post in our Customer Experience Conversations series, we sat down with Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit’s keynote speaker Crystal Collier, CEO of CX Act, formerly TARP Worldwide.
CX Act has pioneered the science of quantifying, managing and optimizing the customer experience and has remained a leader in the CX market since 1971. Today, through its innovative research, technology and customer interaction programs, it continues to set the standard to improve clients’ customer service performance, customer value and “The Profit of Interaction.’
In April, Collier and TCEL will explore these topics and the all of 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.
Here is what Collier had to say:
IIR: How is empathetic leadership changing leadership in customer experience today?
Collier: Without considering empathy’from the C-suite to the frontline employee’delivering a superior CX is nearly impossible. Customers are driven largely by emotions, and their behaviors result from feelings. If you don’t understand the emotions and leverage empathy to drive change throughout the organization, you are missing incredible opportunities to drive bottom-line results.
IIR: Why are empathy and emotion so important in when it comes to customer experience?
Collier: Emotions govern so many of the decisions we make, so CX must consider and accommodate that reality. Understanding the emotions associated with each customer touchpoint is critical’adding emotions to the customer journey mapping process is a great first step.
IIR: What are the key traits of a great customer experience leader?
Collier:  A great CX leader knows how to balance efficiency and effectiveness metrics for a complete measure of CX performance. A great CX leader knows that satisfaction is more than a score. A great CX leader taps into the voice of the employee as well as the voice of the customer. A great CX leader regularly, frequently, and passionately monitors and observes customer interactions. A great CX leader knows what touchpoints matter most to her customers and ensures they are best in class.
IIR: If your customers have a bad customer experience, how do you reconnect with them moving forward?
Collier:  One of the most important things to recovering from a bad experience is taking ownership. Ownership and accountability can set the stage for recovery. You need to own the issue with a genuine apology and deliver on promises to fix it. From there, putting measures in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again is key.
IIR: How has the digital revolution changed the overall customer experience?
Collier: The digital revolution has revolutionized access’access to customers, to data, to companies. Understanding what channels you control and where resources should be allocated is critical to an effective digital strategy.
IIR: Employee recognition can positively influence employee behaviors and cultivate a customer-centric culture. How do you recognize and motivate your employees?
Collier: Regular, timely, meaningful, and relevant employee R&R can help keep the focus on the CX; linking it to VOC metrics is also helpful.
IIR: How do you strategize and innovate on your company’s customer experience to continuously improve it as the marketplace grows increasingly competitive?
Collier:  You must understand what your customers want in 2 areas: 1- what do they need to make them totally satisfied and 2- how do you best deliver this service to them.
IIR: How do you make the connections between experience, brand and loyalty, which together create customer expectations?
Collier: The brand sets the standard for the experience and the experience drives loyalty. Delivering on the brand promise with employee behaviors is important exercises to increase loyalty and deliver a superior CX.
Want to hear more from Crystal on customer experience in person?  Join her at Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2014 in Miami in April where she will be presenting a keynote session entitled, ‘Bringing Empathy into Your Organization.’
Your experience at TCEL will include three full days of high-level visionary keynote presentations and in-depth case studies illustrating linking insights & data, data measuring & mapping, design thinking, synthesize intelligence from B2B and B2C companies across verticals, disciplines and cultures to march forward with a sound total customer experience plan.
To learn more about the event and register, click here:   http://bit.ly/1dQq6xh
About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.

Your 2014 Customer Experience Strategy Checklist

Customer experience is a huge opportunity for growth today. Organizations who are doing it right are seeing profits soar above those who have not. The key is understanding how to align customer strategy against the other long range goals of driving loyalty alongside new business. 
How you get this done is what your peer groups will be discussing at the upcoming Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit.  This year, TCEL explores the new realities of building brands and relationships in today’s socially driven and data abundant world. Discover the emotional drivers that are critical in creating an effective customer story. TCEL shines 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. We cover it all at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit.
April 9-11, 2014
Trump International Beach Resort
Miami, Florida
Download the brochure for more information: http://bit.ly/1idxeUe

Here is Your Customer Experience Strategy Checklist: 

  • Build an Experience Management Core Competency, Experience Engineering Inc.
  • Be a Leader that Inspires Creativity and Innovation, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide
  • Change Behavior Towards the Customer Experience, Ferrazzi Greenlight
  • Use VOC to Take Actionable Insights, Asten Johnson
  • Master the Mindset of the Millennial Candidate, Career Builder
  • Use Emotional Energy To Make Your Customer Experience Programs Easier, Faster and Smarter, Brandtrust
  • Put Big Data to Good Use and Optimize The Customer Experience, TNS
  • Bring Empathy into Your Organization, Tarp Worldwide, Sensory Logic
  • Use Employee Recognition Programs to Energize and Strengthen Customer-Centric Organizations, Janet LeBlanc & Associates Inc.
  • Use Empathetic Marketing for Total Customer Experience, Insights Consulting Group
  • Move Brands Faster and Longer in the Social Media Era, Microsoft
  • Build Brand and Loyalty Through Customer Experience, Forrester
  • Incorporate the Rational and the Emotional into the Customer Experience Journey, Bank of Montreal

Visit our website to download the brochure and view the full program:  http://bit.ly/1idxeUe
As a member of our LinkedIn Group, we’d like to offer you a 15% off the standard registration rates, use code TCEL14LI to save. Register today: http://bit.ly/1f1zpvh
We look forward to seeing you in Miami!
Cheers,
The TCEL Team
#TCEL14

Earn a Free Pass to Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2014: Become a Guest Blogger

Earn a complimentary all-access pass to Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2014 by serving as a Guest Blogger at the event. As a Guest Blogger, you’ll have access to TCEL’s comprehensive agenda attracting the best in customer experience insights from around the world, right in Miami in April.
You’ll get a pass to the annual TCEL event plus exclusive access to a networking community and on-demand webinars, to help you grow and learn throughout the entire year.
Guest Blogger responsibilities will include submitting at least one post per week to the Customers 1st blog between now and the conference and attending specifically assigned sessions at the event and blogging live or same day.
By participating as a Guest Blogger leading up to and at the event, you’ll receive an all-access pass for the 3-day TCEL event, taking place April 9-11 in Miami, Florida. In addition, Guest Bloggers are responsible for their own travel and lodging. Learn more about the event by visiting our website:  http://bit.ly/Nc3sWm
Apply today by sending your name, title, company, short biography and links to your blog or writing samples, along with a few sentences about why we should choose you to be our 2014 Guest Blogger to Amanda Ciccatelli at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. We will review your submission and contact the chosen Guest Bloggers directly with more details.
All readers of our blog receive an exclusive 15% discount off the standard registration rate with code TCEL14BL. Register here:  http://bit.ly/Nc3sWm

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

Companies are Lacking Integrating Customer Experience Strategy

These days, most companies are surprisingly still in the early stages of formulating customer experience strategies, according to new research published by Econsultancy, a provider of digital marketing and ecommerce solutions, and CACI, which specializes in assisting brands maximize the value from their customers by delivering a truly integrated, multi-channel experience.
‘The sheer difficulty and complicated nature of integrating the customer experience is identified as the single greatest barrier to improving the customer experience. This is a challenge but one that businesses need to overcome,’ said Econsultancy Research Analyst Bola Awoniyi in a statement.
The Integrated Customer Experience report, based on a survey of marketers and ecommerce professionals, found that 58 percent of companies are still developing strategies in this area, compared to just 20 percent of companies with a well-developed strategy. And, 15 percent of companies said their strategy ‘is being changed’, but seven percent said there was ‘no strategy’. This is despite nine in 10 companies saying there is at least some level of organizational commitment to delivering an integrated customer experience.
‘For the majority of organizations the challenges to overcome have remained similar. What is new is that the impact of these challenges is accelerating with the increase in channels, data and organizational silos,’ said Matt Hey, director of Consulting at CACI.
The research is based on a survey in June and July 2013, to examine how organizations approach an integrated customer experience, and what marketers regard as factors for success. The research also sheds light on the aspects of the customer experience that organizations are having difficulties with. While more than half of the responding companies see ‘data’ (63 percent) and ‘systems and processes’ (54 percent) as critical areas for delivering an integrated customer experience, most companies have inadequate capabilities in both areas. Only 32 percent of companies rated themselves as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ for data, while even fewer (24 percent) rate themselves this positively for systems and processes.
Awoniyi  continued, ‘Having an integrated customer experience is becoming less of a novelty and more of a necessity in our heavily connected society. Companies must commit to a customer experience strategy, and start laying the foundations for investment and training in this area.’

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

How to Create a Great Social Media Customer Experience

These days, when it comes to social media, it is absolutely critical that you create the right customer experience for both existing customers and potential customers. 
In fact, 77 percent of B2C companies and 43 percent of B2B companies used Facebook to acquire new customers in 2012. So, it is key that your social media strategies engage and retain your existing customers, while at the same time attract fans, converting them into new customers.
Luckily, sites like Facebook and Twitter spend a lot of time getting the aesthetics of their pages just right ‘ providing companies with tools they need to set up communities attractive to the right audience. Still, you must perfect your company’s own strategy in order be successful. Here are some tips, according to Social Media Today that will help  you create a great social media customer experience (CX):
Know your Audience

If you want to create a great CX on social media you need to know your audience inside and out. You need to post unique and specialized content that will interest and attract the right people ‘ those who can be converted into customers. Also, encourage your existing customers to follow you on social media sites by putting follow widgets on your website and putting your social media handles in sales and marketing collateral.

You can use other social media sites to connect with your customers as well or, even better, provide a place where they can connect with each other. Create a Page/Group/Community so that you fans can discuss your company: a place where you can get involved yourself, engaging your fans with interesting content and questions.

Perfect your Pages

Make sure you post compelling, diverse, quality content on your pages. Don’t post too regularly, but still frequently enough. Work out what your fans and followers like and work out a posting strategy which takes advantage of this. In addition, be sure that you promote your products enough, but too much as fans don’t like being inundated with advertising, they want to see content that is of use to them.

Next, make sure your profile images and descriptions are eye-catching, interesting and, grammatically correct. Check all the spelling in your posts and tweets and only post images that fit within each social media sites’ image parameters. The content on your pages needs to be both professional and attention grabbing.

And, respond to all the comments on your pages and re-tweets your messages get on Twitter. Be active and polite: you customers will appreciate it if you acknowledge them quickly and consistently. Analyze the sentiment of comments about your company online: if someone is negative about your brand you need to act quickly so that your reputation isn’t damaged.

Reward your Fans

Reward your fans and followers with exclusive content. Post information about new products and behind the scenes footage where only your fans can see it. Send out a new product to you Twitter followers before you send it anywhere else, or invite them to your headquarters to try it out for themselves.

When it comes to the social CX, it is key to find customers who are willing to be your social media brand advocates and provide them with a platform to promote your products. Reward these influential people with discounts and products or, if they’re very good at what they do, a marketing job. 

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

Idea Gathering: Customer Experience News: A Balancing Act

It’s time for our final Idea Gathering wrap up before we head off to Boston for the Total Customer Experience Leader’s Summit to enjoy the real thing next week!

The Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit provides both B2B and B2C case studies and translating these innovations and insights is a huge part of the value of the conference. Our unique idea gathering wrap-ups between sessions facilitate this translation and were one of our most highly rated features last year. This year we’re continuing the tradition with extended Q&A Idea Gathering sessions. We have built in extra time for questions, feedback and open conversation during each break. Moderated by Jeff McKenna from Chadwick Martin Bailey, these sessions will provide a forum for more in-depth discussions.

Here on the blog we’re doing a regular series of idea gathering wrap ups, pulling together some of our favorite stories on customer experience, customer experience design, and overall customer-centricity.

This week, we chuckled at this piece on new finance website The Billfold detailing “How to Score a Refund From Your Terrible Internet Service Provider in 12 Emotionally Complicated Steps.

For that one customer, it turned out that twitter was the fastest way to receive a response. Likely because the company in question has put an effort into improving that channel. However, this recent study found that “Only 44% Of Customer Questions On Twitter Are Answered Within 24 Hours” so obviously not everyone is receiving that kind of results. (Zappos.com, ever the customer experience champion, answered 82 percent of tweets within one hour of receiving them, but they were obviously not the norm in the study.)

Similarly, when it comes to mobile, CMS Wire confirms that many businesses are struggling saying, “Not everyone it seems is having an easy time arranging their customer experience management (CXM) strategies around mobile first.”

So how do you achieve that balance between channels? Businesses today need to be available to respond at all touch points, and also be providing the kind of customer experiences that don’t drive customers away. As this article on Bizcommunity.com states: “Lip-service isn’t enough since anyone can follow a conversation between a company and a customer and make up their own mind.”

So how do you handle the juggle? Any tips for finding the balance? Share with us in the comments!

Don’t forget, You can follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook for industry news all week long and live updates from the event next week!

Podcast: Janet LeBlanc on Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

Janet LeBlanc, President, JANET LEBLANC + ASSOCIATES will be speaking on Creating a Customer-Centric Culture at our upcoming Total Customer Experience Leader’s Summit.

I caught up with her last week to record a quick podcast where we discussed the growing priority of creating a customer centric culture and some steps an organization can take to identify and change their culture.

 On trying to create a customer-centric culture Janet says “it’s one of the most challenging transformational change initiatives for any senior executive to undertake.” However, there are some concrete steps you can take to get there. The first being, define what culture your organization currently operates within.

For more on the process and the types of culture you may currently be operating under, listen to the podcast here. 

If you’d like to hear more from Janet LeBlanc, join us at the Total Customer Experience Leader’s Summit this June in Boston. As a reader of our blog we’d like to offer you a 15% off the standard registration rates, use code TCEL12BLOG to save. Visit the webpage to register today. 

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com.

Total Customer Experience Leaders Spotlight: David Blair of Rockwell Automation

In 2011, we interviewed David Blair, Director, Customer Experience,Rockwell Automation in advance of the 2011 Total Customer Experience Leader’s Summit. David will be returning to the event in 2012 as our conference chair. Let’s take a look back at some of his thoughts from last year:

TCEL: Tell us about a project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of?


DB: We’ve just completed a new event-based survey that allows us to get feedback on our PROJECT business. The survey is very different from our annual customer survey in that it focuses on the individual project ‘ from proposal through design through start-up. The goal is to both ensure a successful project, and get actionable feedback on our performance.

TCEL: What do you think is the key to a successful Customer Experience program?

DB: Senior Management support. Improving customer experience can’t be done from the bottom up. Moving the needle takes hard work and real commitment. And that comes by senior management talking about customer experience, defining performance goals, linking performance to compensation, prioritizing customer experience expenditures, and taking a personal interest in improvement projects.

TCEL: What inspired you to get in the field? What keeps you motivated?

DB: Motivation is easy. In our company, the Customer Experience Office is not just the messenger for conveying customer feedback – we’re also responsible for driving improvements. So knowing the next customer survey is right around the corner, and I’ll be the one walking through results with the CEO, I’m constantly motivated to drive feedback into actions that will improve our Customer Experience scores. I got into the field primarily because it allowed me to leverage my diverse background (sales, marketing, quality, product development) and interpersonal skills to make some real differences.

TCEL: What is one thing you’re excited about for this year’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit?

DB: Meeting peers. In our field, we rarely get a chance to share our approaches, successes and failures with peers. Books and consultants are helpful, but there’s really no substitute for an in-depth understanding of how other companies approach customer experience. There’s no one right way, and the approaches vary widely. My goal is to gather ideas that will form the basis for a strategy that elevates our own program to the next level, and likewise I hope I can offer ideas to help others advance.

TCEL: What is one question you are looking to get answered at this year’s Summit?

DB: My question: How do you keep the vitality in your customer experience program? It strikes me that no matter how good the research is, and how well it’s presented, the enthusiasm naturally diminishes over time.

About Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation, Inc., the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs about 21,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.

To hear more from our Customer Experience Experts, visit our resource page for a full catalog of interviews, or join us June 6th-8th in Boston.   As a reader of our blog we’d like to offer you a 15% off the standard registration rates, use code TCEL12BLOG to save. Register for the event here.

What is your customer experience THEME?

As part of ongoing customer experience training and personal development, I’m always on the lookout for a great training conference that I can attend to help develop my skills as a customer service and customer experience leader.

Being on a budget, I’m looking to get the best bang for my buck. The Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit is the conference you can’t miss!

At last year’s conference, a stellar group of customer experience leaders trained on the importance of establishing customer experience as a key value of your organization to compete in today’s customer experience focused economy. Joe Pine led off the conference giving the state of what customers want today.

The recession isn’t slowing down this progress; instead, it is accelerating the shift to customer experience being what consumers truly want. With limited spending money, people…don’t value ‘stuff.’ They value shared experiences…Soon, experiences will become the predominant economic offering. 

-Joe Pine, Cofounder, Strategic Horizons LLP

How do we create customer experience in a digital marketplace?

Experiences aren’t always done in real time and in a physical place. The key is to be consistent in the delivery of your service theme that your customers receive. Joe outlines how to create a THEME that will guide you as you design an exceptional customer experience.

(T)heme the Customer Experience

  • What thoughts/feelings to you want to evoke from customers? Is your entire team on board? Is your delivery consistent?

(H)armonize Customer Experience

  • Do you connect your company ideals with the needs of customers?

(E)liminate Negative Customer Experience Points

(M)ix Memorabilia in the Customer Experience

  • Do you offer digital swag only your customers can enjoy? It doesn’t have to be for everyone, but when you get feedback (good and bad), or an exceptional review or experience with an individual, what can you send to solidify that experience?

(E)voke the Senses in the Customer Experience

  • Think of all of the touch points customers have with you. What does it look like from the customer’s point-of-view? Do they feel special? Do they feel like you care? Do they feel special?

Hopefully you get the idea. Thoughts should be coming to mind about your situation and what you can do to make the digital experience better for your customers.

This along with more great customer service training content is waiting for you at The Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit this year!

The technology is there to help us create exceptional experiences with our customers in today’s digital economy. Our only limitation is our creativity and willingness to focus on the customer. 

It doesn’t all need to be done in person. It doesn’t require a physical handshake, or a human phone call. 

What do you think? How do you show your customers you care? I’d love to hear what principles guide you to as you work to deliver a quality customer experience.

Idea Gathering: Customer Experience News: What’s “Good Enough” For You?

The Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit provides both B2B and B2C case studies and translating these innovations and insights is a huge part of the value of the conference. Our unique idea gathering wrap-ups between sessions facilitate this translation and were one of our most highly rated features last year.

Here on the blog we’re doing a regular series of idea gathering wrap ups, pulling together some of our favorite stories on customer experience, customer experience design, and overall customer-centricity. Share with us in the comments to add your thoughts!

This week on the blog, we wrote about the impact of a customer-centric company culture and talked with Peter Dixon, Senior Partner, Creative Director, Prophet, about the power of creating small moments of delight for your customers.

Meanwhile, Kate Leggett was asking on the Forrester blog, Is “Good Enough” Customer Service Good Enough? arguing that the real focus needs to be a consistent, reproducible experience across all touch points. But is this a false dichotomy? In an ideal world wouldn’t you have both moments of delight for customers as well as the removal of experience pain points?

Another big question this week: Are customer loyalty programs broken? This week Mashable’s Webtrends series posted 2 Ways to Fix Customer Loyalty Programs, pointing out that many consumers see these programs as irrelevant, but that increased targeting and better use of mobile technology could remove some of the issues.

So how do you target your customers better? In this piece on MyCustomer.com, Professor Hugh Wilson from the Cranfield School of Management “claims that when it comes to experience design, marketers need to overhaul their thinking” and segment customers based on channel preferences, not demographics.

In an upcoming webinar, IIR will be hosting Joe Stanhope, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research and Annie Weinberger, VP of Marketing, Autonomy an HP Company on “The Future of Online Testing” and testing and targeting for more successful customer interactions online. Perhaps we’ll gain some more insight then. Please mention priority code: MWJ0020-BLOG when registering.

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