The Customer Experience SmackDown


comic-customer-serviceI have spent over 26 years in IT, much of it, meeting and working with customers. It remains the part of the job I continue to enjoy the most. I get to talk about the products we develop, the technology that goes into them, and the people who build and support them. But the most valuable parts of these meetings include feedback on the customer’s experience, and how we are doing.

This includes things users like, things they don’t, and things we are missing. The more open and transparent we can be on both sides, the better. We can then take that input and channel it back into the right parts of the organization.

The concept of understanding your customer’s experience is not a new one, and goes across just about every organization and company. So much so, a day called “Customer Experience Day” (AKA CXDay)…

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The Power of Face to Face Engagement

Studies say we live in an increasingly connected world.  Smartphones are the ever present reminder that we can reach or be reached at any time.  Similarly, companies have made great strides to become more connected to their customers.  Frequent emails, surveys and webinars are now common for organizations large and small.   But text messages hold no tone or body language to read.  The same goes for surveys and emails. How do you know if a webinar attendee actually understood what was presented?

I’m not saying that we should “destroy the machines”,  I work at a computer company after all.  What I am saying is that we have to better leverage the face to face time that we do get.  For instance I was checking emails during dinner my family tonight. My wife gave the look, put her hand out and the phone disappeared until dinner was over.  I actually appreciate that. For work EMC World is the ultimate opportunity to make a real connection with customers and partners.  Every interaction allowed me to read the person I was engaging with and shift the conversation to make it more meaningful.  For the Total Customer Experience team, our biggest opportunity was at our booth.  The goal this year was to create one thousand meaningful engagements, but as the initial numbers are coming in I think we blew that away.

Paul VIA

What is a meaningful connection?  Here is an example.  I was manning the Voice Insight Action (VIA) tool for most of my time, collecting stories.  One customer told me about a product install that went horribly wrong.  I will spare you the details but the project went over by two weeks and by that time everyone was supremely frustrated.  I listened and took down all of the details and then steeled myself for the last question I had to ask “how likely are you to recommend EMC? You can be honest”.  The customer replied and my eyes shot up.  “Of course I will always recommend EMC.  After I got it installed it runs better than anything else.” He went on to explain that even the support is great it was just some miscommunication on a common process that caused all the issues.  That gives me insight into the people I am working for everyday.  Knowing that we are doing our best and that 99% of the time we get it right means something.

What else means something?  Being heard.  Another customer told me about an issue he had to get involved in just the night before.  I once again took down all the details and this time had a few suggestions.  I apologized for the challenges he was running into and his response was “I’m just glad I know someone is listening”.  Maybe I’m taking liberties but that sounds an awful lot like “thanks for doing your job”. He felt better and I felt better.  THAT is a meaningful connection.  And we have over a thousand of them.  Now it’s time to start digging in and build plans from all that feedback but knowing who it is going to help is all the motivation I need.

P.S. If you are totally lost on what’s going on here follow these links to a recap of each day at EMC World.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

The Past and Exciting Future of Your CXPA

I started this blog because I believe in the power of community. I happen to be in the CX business but the alignment is to perfect to miss. Let’s come together and admit something to ourselves. When customers are satisfied with their experience it improves the experience for the business and all it’s employees. As former Customer Service engineer of 5 years I can tell you it would have made that time much easier. So if we can make customers happier and employees happier and take the competitive factor of CX off the table by requiring it why wouldn’t we.

Maybe this is just my little utopian dream but it sure seems like the CXPA shares that dream. One where all companies work together to share best practices and solutions so a life in business is just a little more enjoyable for everyone involved

Experience Matters

I wrote this POST for the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) blog, but decided to also post it here because it’s an important message for all CX Professionals…

As 2014 comes to an end, it’s a great time to reflect on where the CXPA is at in its evolution. Or to put it another way, let’s be proud about what we’ve collectively achieved. If this was a “State of the Union” address, I’d say that the state of your association is strong, and getting even stronger.

cxpa_logo horizontalThis past year was a great year for our association. We introduced the first-ever industry-wide professional certification in our field, the CCXP, expanded our community to new heights as we helped our members succeed in their roles with webinars, Local Networking Events, Best Practice Visits, Coaching Calls, CX Tools, Ask the CX Experts, our Insight Exchange, and many other…

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5 Reasons Why I Love Customer Experience Day

EMC will also celebrating CX Day. I think I need a blog about that.

Experience Matters

Have you been to the CXPA’s Insight Exchange or to one of our local networking events? They’re great. Why? Because CX professionals are a fantastic bunch of people. If you haven’t been to one of those events, then I highly urge that you do so in the future.

CX professionals are a happy group. In Temkin Group’s research, State of the CX Profession, 2014 (which is free for CXPA members), we found that 98% of CX professionals agree with the statement “customer experience is a great profession to be in.” Let’s face it, CX professionals are a fun, engaging community!

If we can create a lot of positive energy from pulling together dozens of CX professionals, think about the power of pulling together thousands or 10’s of thousands of them. That’s why we created Customer Experience Day (CX Day).

CXDay_TitledCX Day will be celebrated this year on October 7

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Overcoming Organizational Barriers to Collaboration

Ties That Bind - Views on a Social Life

Everything changed with the June 2, 2014 launch of our social intranet.  And lest you think that I’m exaggerating, let me share just one quick story.

One of our corporate departments published a notification of an upcoming change in a benefit plan (trying to be a bit obtuse here, forgive me).  They have done that routinely in the past, posting it to the intranet with a “click here to discuss” button that would bring employees to the social collaboration space to comment.  Rarely did anyone do so.

For reasons unknown, aggregating the intranet with our collaboration space yielded far different results.

There were 123 responses to the change announcement.  Initially, comments were positive but then began a downward spiral of employees who were incredulous about the change, unhappy that they weren’t asked their opinion in advance,  and generally feeling ‘left out’ of the decision making.

Let’s face it, that’s usually…

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