I can’t believe it, but this is my 150th post. So let me start with a big thank you to everyone who has been reading, linking to, writing about, and passing along my blog…
As I’ve been doing for every 50th post, I’ll mark this milestone with a retrospective of my last 50 entries. So here’s a look back at the major themes in those posts:
- Customer experience links to business results. In what (I think) is one of my most impactful pieces of research, I showed the direct connection between customer experience and business results in nine industries that I studied. It turns out that customer experience is highly correlated with customers’ intentions to switch and their willingness to purchase additional products. In an upcoming post, I’ll talk about why correlation levels differ across industries and companies.
- Customer service opportunities abound. First of all, I rebutted an article in Time Magazine saying that self-service will replace customer service. It turns out that consumers still want to interact with other people. As a matter of fact, customer service is so important that I introduced a new model called “CARES” for evaluating it. To understand customer service breakdowns, I showed the six gaps between interntions and reality. I also had posts that talked about specific companies: A note to Comcast’s investors about the firm’s poor service; a call to Circuit City’s board of directors to improve the retailer’s experience; a shout out for USAA taking Business Week’s top spot; and an evaluation of American Airlines’ response to grounding passengers.
- Branding takes more than ad campaigns. Several posts referred back to the second principle of Experience-Based Differentiation (EBD): Reinforce the brand with every interaction, not just communications. Too many companies think they can just advertise their way to a new competitive positioning. Given that key element of EBD, I gave advice to Sears about shedding its customers; Victoria’s Secret about being too sexy; and Miller beer to be more genuine. One of the clearest posts on this topic came a little bit earlier when I told Chase that it can’t advertise its way to friendliness.
- Online practices: The good and not so good. Several posts looked at different angles of online strategies. I pointed to GapMinder as a great rich Internet experience. I also discussed how Hulu.com demonstrates good Gen Y design. I even took a look at announcements from Jay-Z, MySpace, and iTunes. But the Web doesn’t operate in isolation, so I passed along some of my research on Web-to-store experiences. Of course, not all Web efforts make sense; which is why I couldn’t blindly endorse Starbucks’ Web 2.0 activities. My favorite post about online efforts incorporates a MUST SEE video with a great rap song on Web usability.
- Innovation is a critical non-strategy. First of all, I think innovation is absolutely critical. That’s why I discussed how to use the five disruptive customer experience strategies as a source of innovation. But it is not a strategy on it’s own; which is why I agreed with an article in Advertising Age that said innovation is a tactic, not a strategy. I also highlighted interesting elements of Honda’s innovation process and Apple’s design process. You might also want to take a look at this older post as well: Trend Watch #4: Business Week “Innovation Predictions 2008.”
- Some firms are better than others (a.k.a. rankings). I examined consumers feedback on 112 firms to showcase ratings in a number of areas. The posts highlighed that Credit Unions and Bordrs are the easiest to work with; Costco and Sam’s Club are the most useful; Borders and Old Navy are the most enjoyable; credit unions have the most loyal customers; USAA and Schwab have the highest Web satisfaction; Citizens and Barnes & Nobles have the highest store/branch satisfaction; and USAA and The Hartford have the highest phone satisfaction. RBC was on the top of 22 frims in the Canadian Customer Experience Index.
- Management “wisdom” comes in different shapes and sizes. I continue to examine one of my favorite topics, the role of leadership. Kenneth Chanault (Amex CEO) used a quote from Napoleon that I really liked: “The role of the leader is to define reality and give hope.” In response to a Chrystler ad that said it cared about customers, I recommended that their executive team focus on Experience-Based Differentiation. The post called Starbucks Searches For Its Soul remindes exec that they need to retain a sense of purpose. And, in the face of an economic downturn, I commented on an article in Fortune Magazine about leading your company out of a downturn. Last, but not least, I shared a quote from one of my favorite characters, Morpheus.
- We’re a long way from customer experience excellence. To begin with, I defined the perfect customer experience as “a set of interactions that consistently exceed the needs and expectations of a customer.” In a number of posts, I looked at how companies are approaching this customer experience nirvana. In Obstacles To Customer Experience Success, I described that more companies have senior customer experience execs, but most still lack discipline. In Customer Experience Maturity — Not!, I showcased results from 287 execs that took the Experience-Based Differentiation self-test (most firms failed all areas of EBD).
- A number of miscellaneous tidbits. I made recommendations to a number of companies and industries: health plans need better member experiences, American Airlines should rebuild confidence with customers and employees, Citigroup has a the chance to improve its credit card business, banks need a Gen Y overhaul. I also had a couple of off-topic posts on sporting events: my superbowl observations and opening day at Fenway Park.
If you want to get completely caught up on my blog, also take a look at these previous “Best Of CxP Matters” posts:
- The Best Of Customer Experience Matters, Volume #1 (provides highlights of my first 50 posts).
- The Best Of Customer Experience Matters, Volume #2 (provides highlights of my second 50 posts).
The bottom line: If you enjoyed the first 150 posts, keep reading and tell your friends about this blog.