Celebrating MLK Day in the Year of Purpose

1701_mlkpurposeHappy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

In this Year of Purpose, it seems more appropriate than ever to celebrate MLK Day. When Temkin Group evaluates purposeful leaders, we look for someone who operates consistently with a clear, well-articulated set of values. MLK was one of the most purposeful leaders in the history of the U.S.

On this MLK day, I hope that you elevate purpose in your life. If you want to see what purpose looks like, here’s an excerpt from MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech:

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

The bottom line: Follow MLK’s lead and elevate purpose in 2017.

 

2017 Customer Experience Trends, “The Year of Purpose”

2017cxIt’s once again the time of year when I publish Temkin Group’s CX trends. In my post last year, we named 2016 “The Year of Emotion.” With my previous post, we declared 2017 “The Year of Purpose.”

During this year, companies will be:

  1. Elevating Purpose. Over the past year, we’ve seen more articles discussing purpose, and leaders are beginning to recognize the role that it plays in motivating employees. At the same time, we believe that the uncertainty around the world creates an increasing desire for people to find purpose and meaning in their lives. For these reasons, we’re calling 2017 “The Year of Purpose.” In 2017, we expect to see more leaders sharpening and sharing their organization’s purpose.
  2. Operationalizing Emotion. After our push to Intensify Emotion in 2016, I’m happy to say that the needle is moving! As we anticipated, many companies started to recognize the importance of emotion, with the help of many vendors who are working to demystify this key area. In 2017, we expect to see even more organizations focus on customer emotion and start to embed these efforts in their ongoing operations.
  3. Orienting Around Customer Journeys. Customer journey mapping continues to grow in popularity as companies recognize the need to develop a more customer-oriented viewpoint. That’s why we see so much demand for our customer journey mapping workshops. However, this tool only affects a small portion of an organization. To help companies embed thinking about customer journeys into day-to-day decisions across the entire organization, we created Customer Journey Thinking©. In 2017, we expect more companies to realign their metrics, analytics, experience design, and innovation around customer journeys.
  4. Continuing… Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. Mobile continues to become an increasingly dominant interaction channel… and now can be accessed through increasingly varied types of devices (including those described as “Internet of Things”). In 2017, we expect more companies to shift to a mobile first strategy and to design customer offerings with the assumption that the primary interface may be a remote digital device.
  5. Embracing Employee Engagement. Employee engagement (EE) has been one of Temkin Group’s Four CX Core Competencies for more than six years. While EE has always been critical to how we view customer experience, companies are finally starting to recognize that it’s a limiting factor to their CX efforts. In 2017, we expect to see a jump in EE activities and we hope to see CX and human resources groups finally coming together to work on engaging employees.
  6. Federating Customer Experience. We’ve seen many companies make great strides in their CX efforts by using strong centralized teams. However, as these efforts mature, companies often find that they need to distribute CX efforts across their organizations. In 2017, we expect many companies to shift to a federated CX model by developing CX Centers of Excellence, Enterprise CX Coordination, and Distributed CX Skills and Mindset.
  7. Predicting Through Behaviors. With the rise of digital and mobile interactions, companies have more data on what their customers are doing. This behavioral data can both provide rich insights into what drives customers and fuel strong predictive models. In 2017, we expect more companies to start collecting behavioral data and then using it to predict customer attitudes and future activities.
  8. Tapping Into Speech Recognition. Text analytics tools have become mature enough that they are now frequently a staple in customer insights toolkits. As these tools mature, companies are setting their sites on the next vein of unstructured data – customer calls. At the same time, we see a rise of voice interfaces, from Comcast’s XFINITY remote control to Amazon’s Echo. In 2017, we expect more companies to increase their use of speech recognition for insights and interfaces.
  9. Smartening Self-Service. Our research shows that people prefer to handle of lot of their interactions using self-service. While companies have been enabling these capabilities for years, technology is getting better for anticipating and customizing these interactions. In 2017, we expect more companies to incorporate technologies such as virtual agents and interactive guides to enable even smarter self-service.

The bottom line: Please join us in Elevating Purpose in 2017!

Welcome to 2017, The Year of Purpose

1612_yearofpurposeDear Readers:

Every year, Temkin Group highlights one theme that we think will be particularly important for companies in the coming year. In 2016 we focused on Emotion, in 2015 we focused on Employees, and in 2014 we focused on Empathy. And now, in 2017, we are focusing on … Purpose.

Why “purpose,” you might ask? At Temkin Group, we have always been passionate about what drives and motivates human beings – regardless of whether they are leaders, employees, or customers. So we have been paying close attention to recent findings from fields like positive psychology that show that purpose and meaning are essential ingredients to our well-being.

As John F. Kennedy once so aptly said:

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

Purpose is powerful. It provides a context around all that we do, which alters our feelings, beliefs, and actions. A strong sense of purpose can:

  • Inspire us to find joy in our lives
  • Energize us with a sense of hope
  • Propel us to overcome obstacles
  • Uplift us to feel good about ourselves
  • Connect us with others around a shared goal

The business world is finally starting to appreciate the importance of purpose in driving human behavior and aiding decision-making. Over the past year, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of articles discussing purpose. We’ve also observed more leaders recognizing the role that purpose plays in motivating employees and customers, and we see leaders beginning to explicitly connect the purpose of their organization to the purpose of their people.

However, when we at Temkin Group discuss purpose, we are focused not only on how a person interacts with a company, but also on what provides meaning in that person’s daily life. Now more than ever, we believe that feelings of uncertainty around the world are prompting each of us to look for more purpose and meaning in our own lives.

That’s why Temkin Group will spend 2017 Elevating Purpose. Much of our research focuses on helping organizations master four CX core competencies. As you can see in the figure below, purpose is an important component across all four elements: Purposeful LeadershipCompelling Brand ValuesEmployee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness.

1612_purpose4competencies_v1

This year, Temkin Group will be dedicating some of our research to this topic, leading to new reports, infographics, videos, and other content, which you will be able to see on our new Elevate Purpose page. Our goal is to help you embrace the power of purpose and tap into this power with your employees and customers. More importantly, we hope that our focus on purpose will bring increased meaning to your life as well.

Please join me in pledging to make 2017 The Year of Purpose!

Warm regards,

Bruce

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Infusing Humanity Into CX, Discussion With Barry Schwartz

It’s CX Day in New Zealand, so that’s reason enough to kick off Temkin Group’s CX Day celebration. I can’t think of a better way to start CX Day in The Year of Emotion, then to share my Q&A with Barry Schwartz.

During this one hour video focused on Infusing Humanity into CX, we discuss some of Barry’s key findings about people and happiness, and explore what it means for customers, employees, and leaders. Sit back and enjoy the discussion, and then follow the links below for more information.

In case you don’t know Barry (and you should!), he’s the Emeritus professor of psychology at Swarthmore College, and has spent forty years thinking and writing about the interaction between economics and morality. 

This Q&A was a real pleasure for me, because Barry has heavily influenced my thinking over the years. He’s one of the key thought leaders of our time, and I believe that all CX professionals (and all leaders) can learn from him.

Here’s some of Barry’s work that we discuss:

Here’s some of our research that we discuss:

The bottom line: Thank you Barry Schwartz!

Three Ideas to Re-Humanize Patient Experience

I was recently interviewed for an article that discusses a post where Fox News journalist John Stossel describes his experience as a lung cancer patient at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

First of all, I hope that Stossel’s treatment is successful. And although I don’t fully agree with his analysis of the industry, I do agree with his observation “…I have to say, the hospital’s customer service stinks.” Yes, there is a problem with patient experience.

I’m reminded of this picture from a post that I wrote in 2009, which comes from Cleveland Clinic’s 2008 Annual Report.

ClevelandClinicAnnualReport

With all of the focus on costs and liabilities, the medical system has forgotten about the soul of the patient. It’s become dehumanized.

The wellbeing of a patient often takes a back seat to rigid processes and procedures, and there’s little understanding of how to help patients make increasingly important financial/medical trade-offs. It’s not that doctors, nurses, and hospital staffs don’t care. It’s just that the entire system has conspired to de-emphasize humanity.

This problem is not unique to healthcare. In research that we did in 2013, we found that only 30% of employees have what Aristotle called “practical wisdom,” the combination of moral will and moral skill. This is the capability that Barry Schwartz explains is critical for infusing humanity within organizations.

While there are many structural issues in U.S. healthcare (which I won’t go into here), there are still many things that can be done to re-humanize the patient experience. Here are some ideas:

  • Apply better experience design. Health care leaders should learn and apply the the principles of People-Centric Experience Design: align with purpose, guide with empathy, and design for memories.
  • Develop a value mindset. As patients take on more of the direct financial burden for healthcare, doctors must do more than recommend treatments and procedures. They must help patients understand the value of those activities, so that they can make smart financial/medical trade-offs.
  • Build decision-support technology. Patients should be able to understand the efficacy and full costs of the treatments and procedures that they are being asked to “purchase.” Health plans need to take the lead in providing tools for making this information transparent, and empowering patients to make better decisions.

The bottom line: It’s time to re-humanize healthcare

 

Modernize Leadership: Steve Jobs Demonstrates Purpose and Values

wordle4bIn a recent post, I discussed how management practices have become outdated and that there’s a strong need to Modernize Leadership. This change requires eight distinct shifts in how we lead organizations.

I just ran into this great video of a speech that Steve Jobs gave in September 1997. It’s really worth watching. Jobs demonstrates a few of the elements that I discuss in Modernize Leadership, and in particular he does a great job of highlighting this necessary shift:

5) Goals and Objectives to Purpose and Values

The bottom line: Tap into your purpose and values to drive simplicity

Modernize Leadership: Shifting 8 Outdated Management Practices

wordle3b

Over the previous decade, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and study thousands of companies. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that the world has changed a lot, but organizational management has stayed substantially the same.

Technology has enabled entirely new practices and we’ve developed a much deeper understanding of what drives human behaviors and business success. But these new realities have not been translated into how leaders run their companies. Instead, management techniques continue to reflect outdated assumptions such as:

  • Mainstream economics works on the assumption of Homo Economicus, a model of people as rational self-interest maximizers. So “agency theory” informs management that employees can’t be trusted to act on behalf of the firm and, therefore, controls must be put in place to align their efforts.
  • Strategic planning cycles (annually, quarterly) have been established based on a constraint of limited data availability. When these processes and cycles were initially created, it was impractical to more frequently pull together meaningful insights about the business.
  • Management focus has been driven by economists like Milton Friedman who argued that corporate officials have one core responsibility: making as much money as possible for their shareholders. But the value that a company creates comes from a combination of resources contributed by different constituencies (not just investors) who’s returns should also be maximized, especially employees who contribute their knowledge and skills.

While these underlying assumptions aren’t necessarily discussed explicitly, they frame the basic structure of today’s approach to management. Well, it’s time to Modernize Leadership. We need to redefine how we run organizations based on the realities of today, which will require more inspiring leaders in the future.

To help make the shift, I plan to write individual posts that describe eight key shifts required to modernize leadership. In those posts I’ll describe the move from:

  1. Command and Control to Engage and Empower
  2. Strategize and Plan to Learn and Adjust
  3. Amass and Review to Detect and Disseminate
  4. Measure and Track to Observe and Improve
  5. Goals and Objectives to Purpose and Values
  6. Problems and Solutions to Strengths and Appreciation
  7. Process and Projects to Culture and Behaviors
  8. Price and Features to Experience and Emotions

ModernizedLeadershipOutdatedAssumptions

The bottom line: Let’s Modernize Leadership together!

Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2016

1601_LessonsInCXExcellence_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2016. The report provides insights from eight finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2015 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which is 100 pages long, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This year, we chose eight organizations as finalists for Temkin Group’s 2015 Customer Experience Excellence Award. The finalists for 2015 are EMC Global Services, Hagerty, InMoment, Safelite AutoGlass, SunPower, The Results Companies, Verint, and Wheaton | Bekins. This report provides specific examples describing how these companies’ CX efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses. We also highlight best practices across the four customer experience competencies—purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. We have included all of the finalists’ detailed nomination forms at the end of this report to help you compile examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

Download report for $195
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Here are some highlights from the finalists: Read more of this post

Still A Lot To Learn From Martin Luther King Jr.

MLKWhether or not you celebrate MLK Day (it’s a Temkin Group holiday), today is a great opportunity to reflect on some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring messages. I find that his words of change, personal accountability, and love hold true across many settings, including how we run our organizations.

This year, I’ve decided to highlight (without any additional commentary) one of his quotes that fits well in The Year of Emotion:

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

Here’s what I’ve written about MLK in the past:

Last year, I shared four of his quotes that I find to be particularly meaningful:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

The time is always right to do what is right.

In 2014, I shared some of his quotes that discuss empathy with a connection to our four customer experience core competencies and added a question to think about after each quote:

  • Purposeful Leadership: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” How willing are your leaders to trade-off short-term results for longer gains in customer experience and loyalty?
  • Compelling Brand Values: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” Is your brand clear, strong and well understood enough by employees so that it empowers them to do the right thing, even if it means breaking some rules.
  • Employee Engagement: “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Are you focused enough on making sure that employees understand and are committed to the goals and direction of your organization?
  • Customer Connectedness: “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” Are you treating important customers well enough so that they are more than just satisfied, and become raving fans?

In 2013, I honored the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from August 28, 1963, by sharing a word cloud from the speech.

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 11.53.18 AM

The bottom line: We can all learn from MLK.

My 10 CX Wishes For You In 2016

Okay, now that we’ve celebrated New Years, it’s time to get moving again. We’ve got a lot of CX work to do in 2016, which we’ve labeled as The Year of Emotion.

As you start down the path of making 2016 a banner year for CX in your organization, I want to share my wishes for you:

  1. May you focus on your customers’ needs, even when internal priorities push them to be ignored.
  2. May you orient your thinking on customers’ journeys, even when the organization cares about individual interactions.
  3. May you design for customers’ emotions, even when success and effort are often the better understood parts of an experience.
  4. May you develop innovative ways to treat customers, even when the status quo seems to be good enough.
  5. May you share customer success stories, even when there are many problems to be fixed.
  6. May you remain committed to driving change, even when it feels like you aren’t making very much progress.
  7. May you help all employees deliver on customer promises, even when some don’t directly interact with end-customers.
  8. May you engage the hearts and minds of employees, even when it’s easier to just send out some communications.
  9. May you maintain a clear sense of purpose, even when you feel too busy to think about anything except the task in front of you.
  10. May you find many reasons to be grateful, even when it seems like things aren’t going your way.

The bottom line: I hope that 2016 is a wonderful, memorable year for you!

 

Positive Psychology Infuses Customer Experience

In case you missed it, here’s a recording of a recent Temkin Group webinar, Positive Psychology (PP) Infuses Customer Experience (CX). It shows how principles of PP can be used to enhance an organization’s efforts to improve CX.

We’ve been using some of the underlying principles of PP within our work for years, but never labelled it that way. Going forward, we plan to tap more into the growing body of research in the space, and also hope to provide a leading voice in areas such as organizational culture and experience design.

If you like this topic, here are some posts that you may find interesting:

The bottom line: Positive psychology + customer experience = a world of positive experiences.

What Do People Want in a New Job? Flexibility

As part of our ongoing research around all aspects of employee engagement, we examined the things that people look for in a new job. No surprise, compensation is a key item. But it’s not at the top of the list.

As you can see in the chart below which is based on a study of 5,000 U.S, employees, people are most interested in finding a job that has flexible work hours. Compensation and location and are next on the list, with about the same appeal.

We also examined how the data differs across age groups of consumers. Compared with the overall U.S. average:

  • 18- to 24-year-olds want to enjoy life. They selected flexible work hours, fun work environment, and the opportunity to be creative more than any other group.
  • 25- to 34-year-olds want career growth. They selected the opportunity for professional advancement and working for a person they can learn from more than any other age group.
  • 35- to 44-year-olds want the money. They selected compensation more than any other group.
  • 55- to 64-year-olds want meaningfulness. They selected working for a person they like and an organization they admire more than any other group.
  • The 65+ group want convenience and training. They selected location, training, and vacation time more than any other group.

1507_NewJobGoals
The bottom line: People care about more than just compensation

Positive Psychology Meets Customer Experience


See webinar with Bruce Temkin and Aimee Lucas:
Infusing Customer Experience With Positive Psychology


1506_PPplusCX

Last week, the Temkin Group leadership team attended the World Congress on Positive Psychology in Orlando. Kudos to the International Positive Psychology Association for putting on such a great event. It was inspirational for us, as it confirmed what we fundamentally believed; positive psychology can be an incredibly valuable tool within the world of customer experience.

What is Positive Psychology?

Before we go any further, I want to make sure everyone understands what positive psychology is all about. Here’s the definition from the Positive Psychology Center:

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

It’s a new branch of psychology where the emphasis is not on fixing psychological ailments, but on helping people “flourish.” You may want to read the book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being by Martin Seligman, who many consider the godfather of the positive psychology movement.

Highlights from the World Congress

Seligman was one of the keynote speakers at the event, which included the who’s-who list for positive psychology. Here’s a small dose of highlights from the keynote speakers:

  • Martin Seligman, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. The latest research is showing that helplessness is a natural reaction in the brain and rather than trying to unlearn it, it is possible to create a “hope circuit” in the brain by building an expectation of control or mastery of the situation. In the World Well-Being Project, positive psychologists are now monitoring world wellbeing by creating word clouds based on millions of social media from around the world. What emerges is a clear picture that positive and negative emotions each have their own lexicon. The question this research raises: if we can change the words people use, can we change their life satisfaction?
  • Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D.: When it comes to understanding and helping people through change, rather than studying a “sample of the average,” study the “growing tip” where individuals or organizations are performing at their best. This shift to focusing on peak performance can help to “democratize excellence” and push through what Goleman has referred to has the “honeymoon effect,” where after some initial success the change is not sustained over the long term.
  • David Cooperrider, Ph.D., Case Western University: Flourishing enterprises support the development and engagement of their people and have a culture and identity based on sustainable values. As he put it, “human beings are not a resource that gets used up, but are a source that can intensify and increase in value and contributions.” These sorts of organizations can be agents of world benefit, and Cooperrider put the spotlight on efforts like Google’s Balloon Project, that brings Internet connectivity to extremely rural areas lacking infrastructure through the use of large balloons. To discover and design positive institutions, we have to view organizations as solutions and use techniques like appreciative intelligence to bring out the best in the system (and the people within the system) in order to drive change at the scale of the whole.
  • Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D., New York University: Haidt put forth that capitalism is the most transformative force since the domestication of fire. And in order to “increase the total tonnage of happiness around the world,” capitalism can be a means to create the right kind of happiness. Rising prosperity brings rising security in society, which lets the attention shift away from simply surviving. With that shift comes a change in values away from the traditional, a push for greater freedom, investments in education (especially for women), and additional powerful benefits for society.
  • Tom Rath, Gallup Consulting: To have the energy they need for sustainable performance, people require three things: meaningful work, quality interactions, and energy. Meaningful work aligns our interests and natural talents with the needs of others. Quality interactions are those relationships with people we enjoy being around, which can have a profound impact on individual health and wellbeing. Energy comes from recognizing that how we eat, move, and sleep work in parallel. Across all three elements, small wins can generate meaningful outcomes when it comes to individual wellbeing.
  • Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Institute of Heartmath: Of the four energy domains—physical, emotional, mental, spiritual—the emotional domain is the primary driver of physiology and is the biggest way to lose or gain energy as a result. Researchers have identified a nerve center within the heart that sends signals to the brain to help regulate emotion. It is possible to apply some specific techniques to control variable heart rate and self-regulate emotion in order to build capacity for resilience and sustain energy over time.
  • Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., University of North Carolina: The center of this presentation was the Upward Spiral Theory of Lifestyle Change, still a work in process in the research world. Early findings show that the more you enjoy a wellness behavior you undertake (swimming, meditation, etc.), the more you will have spontaneous positive thoughts about that activity resulting in an increased passion for that behavior. In short: you are more likely to stick with a wellness behavior over time if you enjoy it from the start. With the upward spiral, wellness behaviors become more rewarding over time and our motives to pursue them also increate over time. When it comes to prioritizing positivity, people should be proactive about arranging their day to incorporate activities that increase their positive emotions rather than trying to “will themselves happy.”

Infusing Positive Psychology Into Customer Experience

Hopefully this brief introduction to positive psychology has made it clear why there is so much potential value for customer experience.

To make the connection explicit, here are three of the many themes from positive psychology that we will be infusing into our work:

  • Positive emotions support sustained behavior change. People are more apt to continue an activity if it results in positive emotions, which supports more sustainable results than sheer personal willpower.
  • Positive emotions increase human capacity. People are more thoughtful, creative, and adaptive when they experience positive emotions, and it also improves their physiological health and well-being.
  • Meaningful work amplifies positive emotions. People experience more positive emotions when they find meaning in their work, and this can be heightened when their work and efforts are appreciated.

We believe that these themes can affect every aspect of customer experience. Here are some of the many ways that they connect with our four customer experience core competencies:

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Positive Psychology Within Temkin Group Research 

We plan to increase our focus on positive psychology within Temkin Group’s research and advisory services, but positive psychology is not a new theme for us. You can see elements of it across many of the things that we’ve already published, including:

The bottom line: Positive psychology and customer experience are a natural fit.

2015 Temkin Group CX Vendor Excellence Award Winners

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Today we announced the results of the 2015 Temkin Group CX Vendor Excellence Awards. Once again we had a great group of nominees, making the scoring difficult for the judges. Congratulations to this year’s winners:

Confirmit
Clarabridge
NICE Systems
Qualtrics
Rant & Rave
ResponseTek
Walker

In its third year, these awards recognize companies that provide products and services that help companies improve the customer experience they deliver. Nominees are rated based on their capabilities, results, and client feedback.

The CxVE Awards were judged by five noted customer experience experts: Mila D’Antonio (Editor-in-Chief at 1to1 Media), Desirree Madison-Biggs (Customer Experience/NPS Programs Director at Airbnb.), Rick Meyreles (VP – Global Voice of Customer, World Service at American Express), Jen Rodstrom (CX Transformist at Temkin Group), and Bruce Temkin (Managing Partner & CX Transformist at Temkin Group).

This year’s crop of candidates was quite competitive. With growing capabilities aimed at improving their clients’ customer experience, thoughtful strategies focused on long-term growth, and exciting road maps that promise innovative enhancements and product launches in the coming months, the vendors that participated in the Temkin Group Customer Experience Vendor Excellence Awards prove that customer experience excellence is at the forefront of technology design.” – Mila D’Antonio

Watch this blog and my Twitter feed for an announcement about the 2016 CX Vendor Excellence Awards in January 2016.

I’ve included the first two section of the nomination forms submitted by the seven winners. Read more of this post

Winners of the Amplify Empathy Challenge

In my post on customer experience trends for this year, I named 2014 as “The Year of Empathy.” Empathy is a critical component to any customer experience effort. To help ignite the discussion on this important topic, we launched the Amplify Empathy Challenge as part of the overall Amplify Empathy Movement.

We asked people to share how they’ve raised customer empathy within their organizations and Temkin Group committed to awarding up to $2,500 for the best ideas. We had a number of great submissions, which made it hard to decide, but we selected the five winners below (all receiving a $500 Amazon.com gift certificate). We added the titles to their entries, but the rest of the description is exactly what they submitted on the Amplify Empathy site.

The bottom line: Keep finding ways to #AmplifyEmpathy within your organization!

Amplify Empathy Winners

Here are submissions from the five Amplify Empathy winners:

Empathy Mapping in Workshops

Aaron Cooper, Customer Experience Architect, Prime Therapeutics

“I integrated empathy mapping into cross-functional design workshops, focused on generating customer-centered ideas to inform redesign of experiences within digital channels.

These workshops were hosted in a main corporate office, and brought directly to stakeholders via an on-site session at one of our call center locations. This was an excellent way to build empathy across the business, by bringing the opportunity directly to key team members.

Each team in a design workshop was composed of 4-5 people – a mix of developers, system analysts, business leads, customer experience professionals, call center agents and other team members. Each team was given two scenarios, based on one of our five personas. The scenarios provided a description of the persona, their context, needs, specific tasks and “how might we” statements to stimulate thinking. The workshops were structured as a series of rapid sketching sessions, kicked off by empathy mapping before sketching began for each persona’s scenario.

During empathy mapping, each team member contributed real, recent customer experiences. Call center agents offered particularly rich descriptions of customer thoughts, feelings, statements and actions (Think, Say, Feel, Do) to feed the conversations. Directly after empathy mapping, teams individually and collaboratively sketched, then reviewed and consolidated concepts, then voted on ideas. I tied the idea voting directly to customer experience metrics (eg. ease of doing business – see Forrester), plus a colored dot for “breakthrough idea, if…” to emphasize ideas that had innovative characteristics. By weaving key performance indicators into voting, very early in the design process, team members had another way to evaluate the efficacy of ideas.

Results:

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