Insights About The Zappos Experience

When it comes to customer-centric culture, Zappos is one of the first companies that comes to mind. I still remember my interview with CEO Tony Hsieh from a few years ago, it’s an amazing story. So I am always interested in hearing what’s going on at Zappos, especially since it was acquired by Amazon.com. I was recently approached to join the blog tour for Joseph Michelli’s new book, The Zappos Experience. Since Joseph has done some nice work in the past, including writing about The Starbucks Experience, I decided to participate. Actually, that’s only part of the reason. I also did it because Joseph is a Read More …

Will Amazon.com Kill Zappos’ Core Values?

Amazon.com just purchased Zappos, an up-and-coming online-centric shoe retailer, for $928 million. That’s right, Amazon.com spent nearly $1 billion on a company that earned only $40 million in 2008. Wow! My take: I’ve been a big fan of Zappos, often writing about the company in this blog. As a matter of fact, my interview with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh was one of my favorite research interviews over the past few years. The company was built around, and maintains, a very strong customer-centric culture. At the cornerstone of its culture are Zappos 10 core values: Deliver WOW Through Service Embrace and Drive Read More …

Zappos Goes Robotic

I just ran into this video about how Zappos uses robots in its warehouse from a company called Kiva Systems. If you’re interested in some cool technology, take a look at the video. The robots are not just making the pick and pack process more efficient, but they also save a ton of energy costs. There are entire sections of the warehouse that don’t need any lighting or climate control (because humans don’t go there). My take: The sea of robots reminded me of a scene from the movie I, Robot. But I don’t expect that Zappos will have to deal Read More …

More About Tony Hsieh And Zappos

If you enjoyed my post Discussing Zappos’ Culture With Tony Hsieh, then you should definitely read an article in Forbes called “A Step Ahead.” It provides a great sense of Tony as well as the Zappos culture . Here’s one of my favorite parts of the article: Not long ago Hsieh created a “cultural fit interview” for prospective hires. It includes questions such as: “On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?” “If they say ‘one,’ we won’t hire them,” says Hsieh. “If they’re a 10, they’re probably too psychotic for us. We like 7s or 8s.” The bottom line: I guess it’s accurate to say that Zappos Read More …

Discussing Zappos’ Culture With Tony Hsieh

As I mentioned in my post about popular customer experience topics, I’m currently researching best practices for the 3rd principle of Experience-Based Differentiation: Treat customer experience as a competence, not a function. It’s a topic that I sometimes call customer-centric DNA. As part of that research, I’m interviewing a number of executives. So I reached out to Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, a company that’s renown for its great customer service. Given our schedules, Tony and I ended up speaking on Monday (Memorial Day) morning at 10:30 AM EDT (7:30 AM his time). I checked out Tony’s twitter right before we spoke and found this tweet: About Read More …

Don’t F*ck Up The Culture, Says Airbnb CEO

Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb recently wrote a post, Don’t Fuck Up the Culture. It’s a note that he sent to all of the Airbnb employees. It’s a good, short read. Here’s an excerpt: Culture is a thousand things, a thousand times. It’s living the core values when you hire; when you write an email; when you are working on a project; when you are walking in the hall. We have the power, by living the values, to build the culture. We also have the power, by breaking the values, to fuck up the culture. My take: Chesky is Read More …

14 Customer Experience Trends for 2014 (The Year of Empathy)

It’s time to identify key customer experience trends for next year. We did a pretty good job of identifying 13 CX trends for 2013 and many of those trends will continue on into 2014, so they remain on this year’s list. We expect CX to gain even more momentum next year as 2014 brings us deeper into what Temkin Group has labeled the Era of CX Professionalism. Based on what we see emerging in CX, we believe that 2014 will be The Year of Empathy, which is the 14th trend. Here are 14 CX trends to watch for in 2014, followed by some Read More …

PCxD Principle #1: Align Through Purpose

I recently introduced a concept for enlisting the support of employees that uncovers and fulfills the needs of customers that we call People-Centric Experience Design (PCxD), defined as: Fostering an environment that creates positive, memorable human encounters Principle #1: Align Through Purpose Just about every large organization has vision and mission statements floating around their hallways. But when it comes to making decisions on a day-to-day basis, these documents are nowhere to be found. They play NO ROLE in how the company is actually run. But things are different within customer experience leaders. USAA earned industry-leading scores in credit cards Read More …

13 Customer Experience Trends to Watch in 2013

2012 was a very active year for customer experience management. I expect 2013 to be an even more robust year as we move deeper into the Era of CX Professionalism. Here are 13 CX trends to keep an eye on this year as these efforts gain maturity: Decline of surveys. As more companies thirst for customer feedback, the number of surveys has escalated. But there is a limit to customers’ willingness to complete surveys. As completion rates get more difficult to maintain, companies will become more efficient with the questions they ask, target questions at specific customers in specific situations, and stop relying as much on Read More …

It’s Time For Mobile-Infused Experiences

One of the eight CX skills that companies must master is mobile-infused experiences. Companies will need to redesign marketing, sales, service, and support processes to incorporate the growing number of smart mobile devices. In our Data Snapshot: Communications and Media Benchmark, we found that 31% of U.S. consumers use apps on their mobile phones on a daily basis. This usage level goes from 54% for 18- to 25-year-olds down to 3% of those older than 75. I analyzed how this data varies across the customer bases of 249 U.S. companies. As you can see below, Rent-A-Wreck, Thrifty, Advantage, Fujitsu, Dollar, National, Crowne Plaza, Read More …

Customer Experience Highlights From Monte Carlo

As I mentioned in the previous post, I enjoyed the Customer Experience Exchange 2010 in Monte Carlo earlier this week. I couldn’t go to all of the sessions, but here are highlights from some of the speakers that I saw: Andrew Gerrie, Co-Founder and CEO at Lush. Andrew followed me on stage and dropped a bath bomb into a clear tub of water and we watched it fizz. I still remember the first Lush store that I went into. The salesperson came over with a bucket of water and dropped some of those bombs into it and water splashed on to the floor. She Read More …

Greetings From Monte Carlo

I gave the opening keynote speech at the Customer Experience Exchange 2010 yesterday in Monte Carlo. Here was my first slide (which looks better when I show it fully animated)… The rest of my speech centered around the four customer experience core competencies. It was an excellent event, with some very interesting speakers. I’ll highlight some of things that I heard in my next post. It will probably include insights from Lush, CIGNA, Forrester, Lippincott, Telefonica, Maritz, Cablecom, and Zappos. Stay tuned… The bottom line: Even in Monte Carlo, you should bet your money on customer experience

Improve “Employee Engagement” In 2011

As I mentioned in the post Build Customer Experience Competencies In 2011, I’m highlighting each of the four customer experience competencies as part of my effort to help companies put together their 2011 plans. Today’s post looks at… Employee Engagement: Are employees fully committed to the goals of your company? I really like what Chris Nassetta, Hilton’s CEO, had to say about engaging Hilton’s 500,000 employees: “I want every team member involved in our enterprise, which is over half a million team members serving our guests, [to have] a common vision, mission, values and key strategic priorities so that [they all] Read More …

Customer Experience Affects Attitudes And Behaviors

As part of your 2011 planning efforts, make sure to keep customer experience in-synch with the rest of your business. Customer experience efforts are not altruistic; they need to accomplish something. So the goal of customer experience management is to change how an organization acts so that something changes with its customers. What are those things you can aim to change with customers? Attitudes: How do you want those customers to think and feel about your company? Behaviors: What do you want those customers to do? You can’t decide on an optimal approach to customer experience until you can answer this question: What are Read More …

What People Read (Of My Stuff) In 2009

Happy New Year (xin nian kuai le, gelukkig Nieuwjaar, bonne année, ein gutes neues Jahr, shana tova, buon anno, feliz ano novo, feliz año nuevo, etc.)! Before I turn my focus completely on 2010, I want to take a moment to look back at 2009. In Q4, I was Forrester’s most-read analyst — for the 12th consecutive quarter. Over the year, I ended up with 45% more readership than the next analyst on the list. It’s clear that customer experience remains a critical topic for executives within large organizations! Let’s look at what people are reading. As P. L. Travers said: A Read More …