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In a recent CX Leader podcast episode, Don’t let your brand make false promises , Steve Walker and I revisited the importance of aligning brand promises with actual customer experiences. We talked about what stuck with us from an earlier webcast on the topic, made Peter Dixon ‘s ears burn, and called out more evidence of how the momentum to align CX and brand continues to build. (We’re looking at you and smiling, Janey Whiteside .) We also talked about some tangible ways that CX leaders can make sure customers are actually having experiences that walk the brand talk.  Tune in to the podcast for more on who’s doing it well, and read on for some quick ...
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My local Lund’s grocery store offers a mostly-great shopping experience. Good produce , nice staff. But there’s one element of the experience that absolutely drives me crazy. They contracted with Big Bowl to provide Chinese food, which is a great idea. Customers can stop in, grab supper, and likely pick up a few groceries while there. Genius! So, what’s the problem? For whatever reason, while the rest of the store plays one soft rock station, Big Bowl plays its own DIFFERENT soft rock station! That results in an area in the store where you hear both stations. And there’s nothing worse than hearing two different soft rock songs at the same time! Actually, ...
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Originally posted on LinkedIn . OMB Circular A-11 is one of those unsexy book-sized government documents that is updated every year that nobody, really, ever reads for fun. It’s designed by the U.S. Federal Government's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to guide agencies on the what, when, and how of conducting the business of their respective organizations in a manner that is transparent to the public for budgetary and performance reporting purposes. If you're on the leadership team of a federal government agency, you pretty much have to keep up-to-date on A-11's requirements because it steers your agency's administrative world. For years, CX advocates ...
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Many organizations have called to tell us that their Customer Experience initiatives are not performing like they did. The results that were once skyrocketing have plateaued. They are surprised by this turn of events, but we are not. As global Customer Experience consultants, we know that Customer Experience is less of a destination than a journey. Where you are going with Customer Experience (i.e., what customers want) could change and the work you do on the route (i.e., the way you deliver a Customer Experience) will also need to change. In other words, what got you where you needed to go yesterday is not going to get you where you need to go today. You ...
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Each of us has a time when we decide and a time when we act. Once we act, we pass the point of no return on our decision. In other words, once we take action on a decision, we are less likely to change our decision—even when we run into challenges. It’s all a matter of mindset. The Rubicon model is a psychological principle that distinguishes our decision-making method or deliberative mindset from our execution course or implementation mindset. Also referred to as the Rubicon model of action phases, it addresses how we decide to do something and what input goes into our decision, and then contrasts that with how we act on the decision and how we feel about ...
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A roadmap is only beneficial if it helps you get to where you want to go. If streets are omitted or mismarked, the map impedes your ability to reach your destination. In essence, it loses its value. The same principles apply to a customer journey map. When the journey map clearly represents the full experience customers have with your company, the route to targeted, customer-focused action is easier to navigate. In this way, the map’s potential to add value is significant. When executed thoughtfully and correctly, the journey map is a powerful resource to support tactical and strategic decision-making in the areas that matter most to customers. With its ...
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We all have habits. Some of them aren’t very good habits, either. But we have them, nonetheless. Many of them form without our awareness. We have habits as customers, too, and  habits  are powerful things, especially for Customer Experiences. We discussed this problem on our recent podcast, and defined habits as any time your mind prepares you to respond in a certain way based on environmental cues or stimulant. Habits work off of our  two ways of thinking , which we refer to as the Intuitive System and the Rational System in  our book.   These names come from Nobel-prize-winning-economist Professor Daniel Kahneman’s System One and System Two thinking. ...
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What Does Surfing Have to Do with Strengthening Client Relationships? Have you ever been lucky enough to sit on a beach on a gorgeous summer day and watch the passing scene? Blue sky, waves crashing against the sand, surfers effortlessly catching the perfect wave and riding it victoriously into shore … Who needs to be thinking about customer experience on a gorgeous day like this? Clearly you know where this is headed. While burying my toes in the sand and clearing my brain of the prior week—competing priorities, racing to keep up, heavy traffic (you know the drill)—I suddenly realized that the surfer’s ride was not effortless. Indeed, the seemingly ...
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Journey mapping is an excellent tool that organizations can leverage to depict customer experience. The goal of journey mapping is to learn what customers care about the most – from initial product awareness, all the way through renewal or repurchase. A key component of building a journey map is using employees and internal teams to think like customers and detail out the important aspects of the customer journey. However, this exercise should not be 100% company-centric. In fact, without enough outside perspective – either from an objective facilitator or reliable voice of the customer—journey maps can easily become nothing more than process maps that document ...
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Why & When to use Bots? Bots have been garnering a lot of attention recently. The majority of coverage has been positive but it has also garnered negative attention as it relates to Russian bots and their involvement with the 2016 election. Regardless of sentiment, bots are simply a software application that can perform tasks and computations much faster than a human. Bots have been around for quite some time and there are thousands of Bot applications in use today. Many of which provide useful services for consumers and help drive positive customer experiences for brands every day. Brands use Bots for a variety of reasons, some of those include but are ...
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What do I love most about CXPA? Its values: Be Connected + Be Authentic + Be a Champion .  In a nutshell, these values describe what I’ve consistently felt since the Customer Experience Professional Association’s inception. It was an interesting process last fall at the CXPA Board of Directors offsite when each person around the table shared how it feels to be part of the CXPA – in three words. While there was variation in phrasing, clear themes emerged: the Values you see below. We split into three groups to further describe each theme: these are Behaviors associated with each Value. Then the CXPA staff shared this draft with co-chairs of member volunteer ...
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When I need work done at the house, I always get three quotes. I never go with the highest or the lowest, but instead, I choose the one in the middle. This shortcut, called Extremeness Aversion, helps me make an important decision—and it helps your customers make buying decisions, too. We discussed  Extremeness Aversion   on our podcast earlier this month. Extremeness Aversion describes how we shun the radicals of choice and choose a compromise in the middle. Now, I know I do this, particularly with the house quotes, but people do not always know they are avoiding the extremes. People do it subconsciously and somewhat predictably, but with a caveat: ...
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​Mapping the customer journey is not complete—or valuable—without the customer. It’s true that journey maps are the product of internal, cross-functional teams joining together to think and act like customers, but all too often companies stop short of validating their journey map with actual customer input. Depending on the situation and company, the methods for gathering insights can vary widely from focus groups to individual interviews, but the overall goal should be to find out what’s important to customers and use the feedback to inform the journey mapping exercise.  Guided in-depth interviews with an appropriate variety of customers is often our ...
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Pricing is fundamental to your business. It also has an enormous influence on Customer Experience outcomes. You should understand Mental Accounting as it pertains to customer behavior before you set the price and before you ruin how your customers feel about your experience. This was a great topic of discussion in our recent podcast. So, What is Mental Accounting? We all participate in one form or another of  Mental Accounting  a term that describes how we mentally divide our money into different accounts for specific purchases. We use subjective criteria to establish different categories of spending for ourselves. We then allocate our available funds ...
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Creating customer-focused change and getting employees engaged in CX are two tough challenges for CX professionals. So it wasn’t a big surprise when these were the topics selected for discussion at the monthly networking breakfast of the CXPA Indianapolis Network. We have pretty standard (and effective) routine. For over three years now we gather each month, select a topic, and discuss it over breakfast. We typically have 15 to 25 CX professionals attend and it’s a great opportunity to learn from one another. This month we changed the format slightly to tackle these two issues We broke into four groups – two assigned to each topic. Groups were encouraged ...
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Anecdotal customer experience (CX) stories, when shared with employees and stakeholders, can be a great way to humanize and understand customers on a fundamental level. But we are now living in a business era when anecdotes simply won’t sustain long-term, organizational alignment around customers. You need quantitative performance standards, data on how your company performed to those standards, and other metrics and measures that tell the story of the customer experience over time. You also need widespread methods for reviewing and identifying pain points and opportunities being shown to you by that data. The easy news is you may already have loads of ...
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We all know that CX is so much more than deploying a customer satisfaction survey. However, many times an organization’s journey to launch CX starts with just that. What we chose to measure is typically based on who has requested – or insisted – there needs to be a survey. Maybe it’s your support organization, maybe it’s your sales organization, or maybe it’s corporate quality. Where it originated typically colors what and how customer feedback is measured. …but, is that the best way? If you had to do it all over again, or better yet if you are lucky enough to just be starting on your CX journey, how would you do it?  How would you create a CX approach ...
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Businesses are in a rut. Speed, efficiency and convenience are all rational factors companies focus on when they think about customer experience. But good experience isn’t that simple. It involves more than you think. For years, research has indicated that the future of success for business is in customer experience. But recent  PwC research  shows that businesses have a customer experience disconnect. People are increasingly loyal to the retailers, products, brands and devices that consistently provide exceptional value with minimum friction or stress. While brands may seek to incorporate the latest technological advances, the human touch is the connection ...
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​Customer experience has come of age. It is now commonly accepted as a key differentiator right alongside product innovation, service and price. A lot has been written on the challenges and failures of CX. In this post, I focus on where CX works best with a goal of sharing a couple ideas that we can all use. Spoiler alert: it is a journey, not a destination. Also, it is probably going to get a little messy – and that’s okay. So, what does CX look like when it’s working well? The CX plan is probably going to get messier than you would like. In the success stories I can think of, one common element is that the CX roadmap isn’t an artifact ...
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One of the biggest challenges facing Customer Experience professionals is embedding CX into an organisation as a recognised and valued business discipline. Often the CEO recognises an important growth opportunity lies in strengthening customer focus. The necessary customer research is carried out and detailed results are presented to the senior management team. Few around the meeting room table can dispute the insights derived from the on-site, ethnographic research as customers' needs, wants and behaviours are revealed and benchmarked against product/service delivery reality.  The CEO mandates the need for change. The senior team carries out some quick fixes ...
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