Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We’ve Moved to a New Blog!

The Customers 1st Blog is now part of The Market Research Blog – an editorial hub for all things market research and consumer insights!

The Market Research Blog delivers unique information and perspectives from the best and brightest in research every day, and is devoted to advancing the research profession and careers of market researchers. We will continue to feature specialized customer experience content on The Market Research Blog every week.

Check out our latest posts here.

For any questions about our blogs or inquiries about submitting guest posts, please contact Amanda Ciccatelli at aciccatelli@iirusa.com

Happy reading!

Cheers,
The IIR Editorial Team

@IIRUSA

Monday, April 13, 2015

Focus on the Front Lines of the Customer Experience

Photo by Zyance. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
 
 "The customer's perception is your reality." - Kate Zabriskie, Organizational Consultant

In "IBM Study: CIOs Have a New Boss - The Customer," Tricia Morris, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Parature, from Microsoft cites that "top CIOs are moving from a focus on the back-office to the front-lines as customer engagement and customer experience become key to winning business strategies."
 
Where are you focused? Join Michael Lenz, Global Director of Brand Experience, Cisco, as he presents "Beyond Products, Managing Experience for Tomorrow's Business Now" during the Total CX Leaders Conference June 3-4 in Miami, Fla.

In this session, Michael will share:
  • His insights on how Cisco's brands are the experience frontline
  • His experience changing a $140 billion company from the inside, including the program that helped his team win the CXPA 2014 Innovation Award 

Total CX Leaders Conference will help you "learn how to listen to your customers, understand their differences and set the foundation to build a road map to create a seamless experience for modern customers."


Join Michael at Total CX Leaders Conference (TCXL) 2015 in Miami. Register today!

Stay connected with TCXL15:
  • twitter.com/#TCXL15
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders














Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

How to Win the Customer Experience Battle


Photo: USMC HUMVEE in battle, Wikimedia Commons

"The customer experience is the next competitive battleground." - Jerry Gregoire, former CIO of Dell

The quest for quality customer service and winning customers' loyalty continues to be a major battle for many companies. In "Experiencing the Next Competitive Battleground" by Jena McGregor, Tom Knighton, Executive Vice President, Forum Corp., "expands on what's driving the increasing importance of the customer experience -- and how incremental improvements might not always lead to success."

Want to learn what it takes to win the customer experience battle? Join Brian Byrne, President, Aviador and Associates, as he presents "Classic Patterns of Competitive War Gaming" during the Total CX Leaders Conference June 3-4 in Miami, Fla.

In this session, Brian will:
  • Describe the classic patterns of competition
  • Share case studies across a range of sectors such as Mobility, Food & Beverage and Personal Care
  • Describe how scenario planning and white space mapping are applied as tools of competitive warfare to identify and conquer key profit pools
Total CX Leaders Conference will help you "learn how to listen to your customers, understand their differences and set the foundation to build a road map to create a seamless experience for modern customers."

Join Brian at Total CX Leaders Conference (TCXL) 2015 in Miami. Register today!

Stay connected with TCXL15:
  • twitter.com/#TCXL15
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
 














Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Creating a Millennial-Friendly Customer Experience

Retailers today are striving to make sure that their companies provide a millennial-friendly customer experience. As a millennial myself, I have been fortunate enough to have grown up in a more advanced technological world where I, like many others in a similar age bracket, will have been more tech savvy than their parents by their early teens. Customer experience for millennials has been molded by the increasing number of platforms available for retail and this creates opportunities and challenges for retailers.

Monitoring online social experiences are seen as a must for retail companies; consumers are often flocking to the web to look for answers to issues as well as contacting a call center or an online chat for information. The web has a huge number of forums and communities where consumers go to discuss products and are in my eyes a great resource for gaining first hand insights into exactly what customers want or think about products. Often, companies only monitor comments from customers on their own sites and may miss people’s comments from sites such as TripAdvisor or other discussion rooms.

Social media sites such as twitter are now becoming a popular resource for companies to talk to customers. According to Forbes, millennials take up 29 percent of the twitter-sphere and use the platform for commenting on purchases; leveraging the resource to monitor posts and often responding via twitter can give the customer a sense of being personally looked after rather than having to wait on hold whilst a customer representative at a call center keeps you on hold for three hours.

Giving the customer a more personalized feel is deemed another priority in giving a better customer experience. Repeating personal information that could have been retained by companies I find very irritating. Fundamental information such as contact information and home addresses I expect to be able to be seen across different platforms and having to re-input information could put customers off returning. Being able to access personal information and interests is key to giving a customer a comfortable and easy experience. Online retailers such as Amazon and ASOS retain previous purchase information or what has been searched for in order to give suggestions. I believe the next step would be to take that technique in store.

The world is becoming far more interconnected; so I believe creating systems that register a smartphone when a person has entered a store can bring up information of again past purchases so that a shop assistant would be able to give the customer a more personal experience.

Catering to the desires of the millennial generation could be a great opportunity to boost customer satisfaction. Other strategies could be being more engaged in price comparison or giving more of a story behind a product rather than just it being made for profit. TOMS shoes is a prime example, it helps the consumer appreciate the company for doing something to help rather than just making money. Millennials have grown up in a world where global issues such as poverty and climate change are often at the forefront of discussions; so creating a retail platform that goes beyond wanting to make an easy buck, for me and I’m sure many others, would be the difference in choosing between two retailers.

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.

Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Prepare for the Customer of the Future

Photo by Barry Haynes. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

How can YOU prepare for the customer of the future?

Join me June 3-4 in Miami, Fla. for the Total CX Leaders Conference sponsored by the Institute for International Research USA (IIR USA). This year’s event will help you "learn how to listen to your customers, understand their differences and set the foundation to build a road map to create a seamless experience for modern customers."

With hands-on workshops and featured speakers from companies like AT&T and Marriott International, the Total CX Leaders Conference "brings together thought-leadership to focus on higher level thinking around the strategic alignment of customer strategy, technology and business aspirations."

2015 content areas include:
  • User Experience Design
  • Data-Rich Insights & Analytics
  • Digitizing the Customer Journey
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Design Thinking
  • Omnichannel Experience
  • Analyzing and Measuring VOC
  • Aligning Data Touchpoints
  • Customer Centric-Culture
  • Customer Behavior Trends
  • Translating Insights into Actions
  • New Technologies & Methodologies
  • Big Data Initiatives
This is my second year as a guest blogger for this event. I will post daily during this time frame to IIR’s Customers 1st blog and to Starry Blue Brilliance.

Here are other ways to stay connected with this event:
  • twitter.com/#TCXL15
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
Be sure to check it out, and please share this information with those who might be interested in attending this event.

In the meantime, watch for my pre-event and post-event stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Customers 1st blog, and my blog. Please share with your networks - let's keep the conversations going!

This article was originally published on Starry Blue Brilliance.


Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Key Consumer Trends That Are Changing the CX Landscape

Today's consumers are increasingly empowered in the brand-customer relationship with high expectations. Trends such as peer armies, honest flexibility, personalization, customized experiences, dynamic pricing, and transparency are changing the CX landscape. 

What do these trends mean for you and your customer experience program? Is your CX Strategy able to accommodate this shift? Join Keynote Maxwell Luthy, Director of Trends & Insights, trendwatching.com as he showcases cutting edge customer experiences at the Total CX Leaders Conference. Check out our interview with Maxwell on our blog: http://bit.ly/1NB8A0T

Total CX Leaders Conference
June 3-4, 2015
Trump National Doral
Miami, Florida

Key Consumer Trends to Kick Ass With... Now!

This session will be packed with examples of cutting edge customer experiences from leading brands (and innovative startups) from Boston to Beijing. Attendees will get all the inspiration and insights needed to tap into - and profit from - the hottest consumer trends, today. Your takeaways:

·         A fast, exciting download of key current consumer trends
Inspirational examples of businesses and brands already applying those trends to enhance the customer experience
·         A conceptual framework that can turn any business professional into not only a trendwatcher, but an instigator of winning new business innovations, too!
2015 Speakers Joining Maxwell on stage, include:
·         Darryl Speach, Chief Customer Officer, Greystone & Co, Inc.
·         Michael Lenz, Global Director of Brand Experience, Cisco
·         Diane Magers, Office of the Customer Mobility and Business Solutions, AT&T
·         And, many more!

Download brochure for full conference details: http://bit.ly/1C25lLj

To establish a compelling customer experience practice brands must ensure their 2015 customer experience is personal, effortless and contextualized across all channels. Join your peers this June in Miami, as we explore the trends, techniques, and tools to implement a successful CX Strategy.

Use code TCXL15BL for $100 off the current rate. Register today: http://bit.ly/1C25lLj

Best,
The Total CX Leaders Team
@TotalCustomer
#TCXL15
Customers1stblog.iirusa.com


Monday, March 2, 2015

Customer Experience Conversations: Maxwell Luthy

Today, the customer experience (CX) landscape is drastically changing with the explosion of new and emerging technologies affecting the customer journey. With all of this change, it is now more important than ever to understand what it takes to create a strategic customer experience program.

That’s why we recently sat down with Maxwell Luthy, director of Trends & Insights at Trendwatching.com, to discuss the state of CX today and what’s in store for the future. Luthy is speaking at the upcoming Total CX Leaders Conference 2015 this spring in Miami.

This year, the two-day conference brings together thought-leadership to focus on higher level thinking around the strategic alignment of customer strategy, technology and business aspirations. Linking data driven behavior to business results, designing next generation customer experiences and measuring the impact of your customer programs is the difference between great and greater.


Here is what Luthy had to say:

IIR: What is the best customer experience you’ve had?

Luthy: Like many people, I clearly remember my first Uber. Beyond the convenience, value for money and seamless payment, the highlight for me was when I stepped out of the vehicle at my destination and saw the app’s prompt to rate the driver. It was easy to do and the journey was fresh in my mind. I particularly love how the drivers are also able to rate passengers. There are legitimate concerns about discrimination as a result of the ratings, but putting the responsibility back on to the customer to be a pleasant and punctual passenger is genius.

So much today shows how consumers are increasingly empowered in the brand-customer relationship. It’s nice to see a little power back in the providers’ hands! The customer experience benefits from both parties’ involvement in the two-way rating system. Without sounding too idealistic, drivers and passengers may become more courteous to each other around the world.

IIR: What is top of mind for you regarding customer experience in 2015?

Luthy: One of the major themes we’ve witnessed at Trendwatching.com, is how consumers are taking expectations that were cultivated online, offline. Customers who’ve grown accustomed to the personalization, customized experiences, dynamic pricing, and transparency of the online world increasingly demand those perks in the real world. Many of the trends that we track reflect this shift.

Brands must use customer data (with permission), new technologies, and old-fashioned, people-powered customer service to make sure the 2015 customer experience is personal, painless and contextualized across all channels.

IIR: What is your prediction for where customer experience is going this year and beyond?

Luthy: One way that many of the fastest growing startups around the world are providing superior customer experiences is by employing “peer armies.” By utilizing a network of peers who aren’t traditional employees, businesses are able to provide local, personalized services at a national or even global level. That’s how Instacart affordably delivers products from its customers’ favorite stores in one hour. Peers can even be utilized to provide authentic product reviews, Made, a UK-based furniture e-tailer allows shoppers to view photos of products in the homes of customers who’ve already bought them. The shoppers who’ve uploaded the photos are proud of their homes and happy to improve the customer experience for others.

Another trend we will see more of is “honest flexilibity.” This is where brands are honest about the limits of their product or service (they communicate it clearly to customers), yet they are as flexible as possible with their efforts to find a solution.

A great example is from BMW, who knew people hesitate to purchase an electric car when they suffer from ‘range anxiety’. In other words, what if I need to do a long journey and the battery runs out? Rather than skirt around the issue or use marketing to allay the concern, they created the ‘Add-on Mobility’ program, where those who purchase the all-electric BMW i3 can register to access other, gas-powered BMWs should they need one. This trend is exciting because firstly, it taps into the new reality that brands must be honest and open about their limits, because in the digital era consumers find out everything. Secondly, it reflects how flexible they have to be to meet consumers every increasing expectations.


Want to hear more from Luthy? Don’t miss his keynote session, “Key Consumer Trends to Kick Ass With…Now!” at Total CX Leaders Conference 2015 this June in Miami. For more information about the event or to register, click here: http://bit.ly/1wDWAqv

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to Create a Customer Experience that Sells

Today, businesses of all types and sizes must provide high quality products, but customers tend to remember the details of their experience with the product or the company better than the product itself.

So now it is more important than ever for businesses to focus on developing customer experiences that enables them to grow and retain their customer base. Here are a few ways businesses can create a customer experience that truly sells the product.


Recognize Your Customer. A key step you can take to enhance your customer experiences is to personally recognize your customer when they return to make a purchase. It’s the personalized treatment that adds value to a purchase, makes the customer feel special, and injects loyalty into your customer base. Evaluate your business operations to for areas where you can ensure that your customers know you are paying attention to their purchases.

Provide a Personalized Experience. It is also important to focus on providing your customers with personalized shopping experiences. Integrating interactive experiences along with in-store shopping is an excellent way to do this. Customers expect VIP treatment from brands in both online and in-person experiences. Providing customers with the same personalized experience when shopping online as they receive when they are in the store can go a long way toward encouraging repeat business.


Tapping into the Customer’s Emotions. For many consumers, shopping is an emotionally driven experience. No matter what they are shopping for, consumers are seeking opportunities to connect those events with their experiences with products. So, provide consumers with the option to build shopping lists and share with friends. Along with seeing what people close them are shopping for, these lists also make it possible for consumers to save the products they like for future reference, increasing the chance of making a sale.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Create Your CX Story at The Total CX Leaders Conference

Immerse yourself fully in a world of best in class, seamless customer experience programs at the Total CX Leaders Conference.  Elevate your understanding from insight to implementation through interactive keynote discussions, collaborative sessions and insightful case studies.

Total CX Leaders Conference
June 3-4, 2015
Trump National Doral
Miami, Florida

Acquire the tools you need to accelerate your Customer Experience practice and get hands-on instruction in creating journey maps and service blueprints in TCXL's groundbreaking interactive workshop series.      

·         Journey Mapping & Service Blueprinting
Kerry Bodine, CX Expert and Co-author, Outside In
A dynamic, interactive session to help you accelerate your practice. We will share customer experience as a framework and best practices. Focused on actionable takeaways - driven by your questions and needs - this workshop is a combination of presentation, facilitated ideation and small group work sessions. The challenges of CEM - big data, change management, organizational alignment - will be included as topics for discovery and sharing

·         Customer Experience Hat Trick
Diane Magers, Office of the Customer Mobility and Business Solutions, AT&T
Every person in an organization impacts the customer experience in some way, and all employees must be aligned in order to produce customer interactions that are useful, easy, and enjoyable. This requires tools that help both frontline and behind-the-scenes staff understand the end-to-end customer experience from the customer perspective - and the role they personally play in delivering it. In this workshop, participants will get hands-on experience creating journey maps and service blueprints. We'll discuss what these tools are, how they can be used to drive experience improvements and organizational change, and how participants can leverage them within their own companies.

Download the brochure for full conference details: http://bit.ly/1EogAMC

Unite with other change-makers responsible for creating a strategic customer experience program this June 3-4 in Miami, FL.

Mention code TCXCL15BL & Save$100 off the current rate. Register today: http://bit.ly/1EogAMC

Visit the Customers 1st Blog for customer experience feature stories, industry news, interviews, and event updates: http://bit.ly/1z7oWIB
Best,
The Total CX Leaders Team
@TotalCustomer
#TCXL15
Customers1stblog.iirusa.com


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mobile Marketing is Vital for Customer Experience Success

The emergence of cross-channel and omni-channel strategies have been a vital tool for many retailers to engage with consumers across different platforms. Some companies have embraced these strategies and created a retail experience that gives their customers the same experience whether it be on a smartphone, laptop or in person. However a recent study carried out by Altimeter Group has found that a lot of companies are still not utilizing mobile strategies as a customer experience in itself but merely as part of the retail journey.  

The research found that the companies with poor mobile marketing strategies have low budget and poor staff allocation for their mobile initiatives. Mobile is treated as a ‘bolt on’ to their already existing digital initiatives. Consumers are learning quickly to function in an increasingly mobile world, with one-third of shoppers using mobile exclusively, and over half seeing mobile the most important tool in the purchase decision process. 90 percent of consumers still move between different purchase platforms in order to accomplish a goal, with an average of three screen combinations each day. Having to move from mobile to laptop to make a purchase may lose customers to other retailers who allow purchases and a great customer experience via mobile.

A survey by Tecmark in October of 2014 found that in the UK (where 53.7 percent of the population use a smartphone) the average user carries out 221 functions every day on their smartphone, compared to 140 on desktop or laptop computers. Statista estimates that by 2018 there will be 220 million smartphone users in the USA alone. Figures like that are a huge indicator of the necessary shift towards better marketing approaches for mobile.

One example of a company with an excellent mobile strategy that is easy to use and seamless across devices is Amazon. The mobile app has the range of items available on its mobile platform as it does on tablet or laptop computers. It is incredibly easy to use and if a customer wishes to start a shop on their phone and then want to access their basket on another device the basket contents can still be accessed. The seamless transition across all devices makes the customers experience incredibly easy.

Altimeter Group reached out to 20 leading mobile strategists and executives from companies such as Zappos and Mastercard in order to find out what they believed were the best plans for implementing a strong mobile initiative. They found that the secret to mobile success lies in developing the digital and mobile strategies individually whilst also bringing them together in order to deliver an integrated customer experience.   

Companies need to truly understand the needs of the customer’s digital experience and the role that mobile can play then they can proceed in designing their mobile platform. Mobile strategies should not just be a bolt on to the rest of the digital strategy but a customer experience in itself. By first understanding the customer they can then create better experiences for them and better turnover for themselves.


About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Total CX Leaders 2015 Full Program Released & a $700 Savings

Every person in an organization impacts the customer experience in some way.  It is critical that all employees are aligned and invested in the CX strategy, in order to produce customer interactions that are useful, easy, and enjoyable.

At The Total CX Leaders Conference, June 3-4 in Miami, FL, CX experts unite to share trends, insights and best practices for designing, measuring, aligning and communicating your customer experience strategy to create a seamless omniexperience for modern customers.

Total CX Leaders Conference
June 3-4, 2015
Trump National Doral
Miami, Florida

For more information, visit our website: http://bit.ly/1ERP8r7

2015 Speakers Include:

·         Former Disney Exec, Darryl Speech, Chief Customer Officer, Greystone & Co, Inc. shares Walt Disney Company best practices and how to design a customer centric culture.
·         Michael Lenz, Global Director of Brand Experience, Cisco presents insights on how to manage experience for tomorrow's business now.
·         CX Trends Expert, Maxwell Luthy from Trendwatching.com showcases cutting edge customer experiences from leading brands from Boston to Beijing.

Download the brochure for full conference details: http://bit.ly/1ERP8r7

Join CX leaders and decision makers responsible for creating winning CX strategies this June in Miami! 

Don't miss out, register today and lock in the lowest rate- save $700 off the standard rate: http://bit.ly/1ERP8r7

Best,
The Total CX Leaders Team
@TotalCustomer
#TCXL15

Customers1stblog.iirusa.com

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is the Internet of Things the Future of Customer Experience?

Retailers are constantly looking for ways to improve their customer experience and the increasing move from the physical world to the online world means the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming the future of customer experience. The IoT is a network of objects, products and services that are digitally interconnected and can communicate with each other without human interaction. Without sounding too utopian, it means that maybe in the near future your watch could soon communicate with your television which in turn could control how much water your vegetable garden gets. In essence it makes our lives a lot easier.

These advances in smart technology mean that everything we do can become more programmable and personalized, which is a huge benefit for retailers and customers alike. The IoT means that real time analytics will be able to give customers a better and often more efficient retail experience. For example, Internet technology such as Bluetooth beacons will be able to connect with smartphones as customers enter a store and check their movements. When compared to the customer’s purchases, it can help to create an idea of what the optimum layout for the store should be, which in turn will aid the retailer’s future revenue. In terms of customer aid, in one French clothing store Kl├ępierre, there is an ‘inspiration corridor’ that means the customers can receive information and images of recommended clothes using a Microsoft Kinect body scanner. The clothes will come up on screen and they can pick and choose what they like and the whereabouts of the clothes are linked with their smartphones so they can easily be found. These in time analytics help to create an easier and more unique experience for the shopper and retailer.


Zebra Technologies have found that almost 96 percent of retail decision makers are prepared to implement the changes in order to utilize IoT technologies. It was found that 67 percent have already implemented IoT and 26 percent planning to use it within the year. More than half of the firms surveyed expect IoT to give them greater information about the condition and whereabouts of items which will lead to a better customer experience and new revenue streams. Already technology such as RFID has given benefits to retailers such as 99 percent inventory accuracy and a 2-7 percent sales increase. Research firm Gartner believes that by 2020 we will have 26 billion smart and connected products in use (around 3.3 devices per person, not including smartphones and tablets).  

However, there are drawbacks - Zebra Technologies found that 56 percent of the companies said integration challenges were a big problem to adopting the IoT and 47 percent were concerned about security and privacy. There may be a lot of people who would not like to have their likes and locations constantly tracked and analyzed.

The Internet of Things does seem to be the future for retail. This divergence of the physical and digital world means retailers will be increasingly providing a service as well as just a product. By providing a better service and improving the consumer’s experience will ultimately result in higher revenue and keep customers coming back.


About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Strengthen Your Leadership Skills in 2015 Behind the Scenes at Disney

It's that time of year again... the New Year brings about resolutions - what's on the top of your list?
If your 2015 resolutions include advancing your leadership skills (based on principles from The Disney Institute and Lee Cockerell's experience as Executive Vice President of Operations, Walt Disney World!), as well as designing and sustaining high performing service cultures in your organization, then the Creating Magic Team can help! Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1Axe9ZI

Next month, William Greenwald, Founder & Chief Neuroleaderologist, Windsor Leadership Group, will lead a once in a lifetime, behind the scenes workshop in Disney World next month. Through Disney-based leadership and service case studies, hands-on learning exercises and group experiences INSIDE the Disney theme parks, you'll gain the insights and tools you need to become a better leader in 2015.


Workshop highlights include:

·         2 days of experiential learning at Hollywood Studios and EPCOT Theme Park
·         3-day Disney Park Hopper Pass (that's one extra day on us - bring the family, stay & play!)
·         Breakfast, lunch and snacks each day
·         A signed copy of Lee Cockerell's book, Creating Magic
·         And more!

Click here for full program details: http://bit.ly/1Axe9ZI

Kick Off Your Year Right! We're making it even easier for you to meet your New Year's resolutions. 

Register by Friday, January 9th & Save $200: http://bit.ly/1DqnTG7

Now's the time to invest in yourself and bring your New Year's resolutions to reality. Escape the winter blues and advance your career next month with us in Orlando. We hope to see you there!

Cheers,

William Greenwald & The Creating Magic Team
@NACCMevent
#CreateMagic15

Customers1stblog.iirusa.com

Monday, December 22, 2014

Top Customer Experience Blog Posts of 2014

We’ve published a lot of interesting, innovative, and inspiring blog posts about customer experience this year, so we wanted to take a moment to look back on the most popular posts of 2014. Here are the topics our readers enjoyed the most this year:

Marketers Adapt to Digital Customer Trends for Holiday Shopping Season: Over the last few years, technology has truly revolutionized retail - Black Friday and the holiday season exemplify that change better than any other time of year. Now, marketers must reassess their strategies as consumers spend increasing amounts online ahead of the shopping weekend in order to capture the online shopping trend. As of late, Black Friday and Cyber Monday  have experienced a change in spending patterns, with the Adobe Digital Index predicting that $2.6bn – an increase of 15 percent – will be spent on Cyber Monday alone, with Black Friday growth up by 28 percent to $2.48bn. The holiday season in the U.S. will aim to break online records for e-commerce spend at $72.41bn, a growth of 16.6 percent in the last year, according to eMarketer. To read the full post, click here.

The Customer Experience: A Journey Best Understood in Reverse?: Even after decades of study, the “Customer Experience” remains a top focus for large and small companies alike. Work from McKinsey about the consumer decision journey (references below) is just one of many recent examples. Millions of dollars and labor hours, and prodigious efforts, are spent on the subject. From time to time, clients ask—usually around the annual budget-setting cycle—“What should our priorities be in evaluating customers’ experiences?  What’s the first, most important thing we need to understand?” To read the full post, click here.

Using Consumer Insights to Make Smarter Business Decisions: We sat down with Kelly Harper, Director of Customer Experience Learning at BMO INSTITUTE FOR LEARNING, to discuss how the power of consumer insights help to make smarter decisions in business. Harper goes into how important customer experience is when it comes using customer insights to make the best business decisions possible. You need to think about what type of experiences your organization is giving your customers.  Your consumer insights allows you to understand what is broken in your current experience you are delivering and what is really important to the customer – what are those elements that you have to get right each and every single day. Consumer insights will help you identify and keep track of what is most important to the customer.  To read the full post, click here.

Why Your Brand Needs Social Customer Service: These days, customers aren’t calling your 800 number. Instead, they are getting on Facebook and complaining about you or sending a Tweet about your lousy service. Social customer service is a very different ball game with unique practices, plans and a different timeline. You’d better be listening for online complaints and be ready to respond in real-time or face potentially negative profits. Social customer service emerged because organic online conversations require an immediate response. When a customer complains about you on Facebook or Twitter, you’d better be listening and respond within a short window or poor attitudes about your brand escalate. Social customer service connects your customers with people, both inside and outside of your organization, and with the information they need to solve problems and make better decisions. Not to mention, your customers expect it. To read the full post, click here.

Creating a Positive Customer Experience: When it comes to obtaining and retaining customers, remembering what you learned in kindergarten really isn't enough anymore. Now, it hinges on the effective use of social media and other Internet-based resources, according to a new study from Consero Group.  Chief Customer Experience Officers will continue to need a variety of new tools and processes to manage the smart consumer effectively and retain customers in a competitive marketplace. More companies recognize the importance of positive customer experience to overall success. But even though budgets and staff sizes are increasing in many firms, many CX executives still lack sufficient resources to run their departments well. To read the full post, click here.

The Power of Personality at Work: We caught up with John Mayer, renowned Professor of Psychology, the University of New Hampshire and Author of Personal Intelligence. We express our personalities in almost everything that we do – in both our personal and professional lives. So, every single day we exhibit some patterns of behavior that are consistent and sometimes respond to particular context. According to Mayer, personal intelligence is the intelligence we use to understand these personalities – whether they in other people or in ourselves. Virtually any organization today is made up of people, so you can think of the organization as an organizational chart, including Presidents, CEOs, managers, etc.  “Personal intelligence deals with information at a different level than that,” explained Mayer. “Instead, on top of that organizational chart are real people.” To read the full post, click here.

Customer Experience Conversations: Crystal Collier: we sat down with Crystal Collier, CEO of CX Act, formerly TARP Worldwide. CX Act has pioneered the science of quantifying, managing and optimizing the customer experience and has remained a leader in the CX market since 1971. Today, through its innovative research, technology and customer interaction programs, it continues to set the standard to improve clients' customer service performance, customer value and "The Profit of Interaction.” According to Collier, without considering empathy—from the C-suite to the frontline employee—delivering a superior CX is nearly impossible. Customers are driven largely by emotions, and their behaviors result from feelings. To read the full post, click here.

Customer Experience Innovation: Treat Your Customers Like People: We caught up with Len Ferman, managing director of Ferman Innovation, and former Senior Vice President of Innovation and Ideation at Bank of America. Today, corporate leaders often lose sight of customer needs in the constant quest toward next quarter’s earnings. But, what is positive for stock prices tends to conflict with long term customer satisfaction and shareholder value. You simply can’t understand the customer experience if don’t empathize with your customers, Ferman told me. “You have to be able to see them face-to-face and listen to them talk about their pain points and challenges,” he said. To read the full post, click here

Customer Experience Conversations: Nestor Portillo: Nestor Portillo, Director, Social Communities and Customer Experience at Microsoft shared his best customer experience, the importance of empathy, and how social media has affected customer experience today. According to Portillo, customer experience is a combination of emotions, memories, expectations, needs fulfillment, timing and effort. All of these are important add-ons to your product or service. So, in order to deliver a great customer experience, it needs to have a high degree of empathy and emotion because the interaction goes beyond product functionality or a feature explanation. To read the full post, click here.

Customer Experience Conversations: Janet LeBlanc:  Janet LeBlanc, President of Janet LeBlanc + Associates Inc. LeBlanc discussed how empathy and emotion has a critical impact on customer experience today. According to LeBlanc, the best customer experiences are those that elicit the strong positive feelings and emotions that strengthening the relationship and loyalty a customer has with a company. Statements such as: “I felt like she understood what I wanted or they treated me with respect” are the best examples of a great customer experience. To read the full post, click here.


About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.