Thursday, October 27, 2011

See Who's Attending NACCM!

The North American Conference on Customer Management is less than 3 weeks away. The industry's leading companies will be attending - don't get left behind - gain the skills, insights and techniques you need to be more valuable to yourself, your team and your organization.

Take a look at the companies who've already signed on to attend:
1to1 Media, ABS-CBN International, American Cancer Society, ASD Healthcare, Aviva USA, Best Buy, Bi Lo, Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas, Bridgewater Bank, Broward County Aviation, Canadian Blood Services, Cancer Treatment Center of America, Customer Care Coach, Customer Skills LLC, Dell, DSM Chemicals North America Inc., DSW, Dunkin' Brands Inc., EMC, Freeman, GlaxoSmithKline, Harrison Interactive Loyalty, Humana, JetBlue Airways, John Deere Company, Kaplan University, Key Bank, Lighting New York, Marriott Vacation Club International, Metropolitan Health Networks, Microsoft Corporation, National Guardian Life Insurance, National Initiative for Service Excellence, Nationwide Insurance, OC Tanner Company, People Metrics Inc., Premiere Response, Safelite AutoGlass, Sask Central, Sears, Southwest Airlines, Sprint, Strategic Feedback, Symantec, Telerx, Thomas Betts, TJX Companies, TNS, Travelers Insurance, Verizon, Volkswagon of America, West Nassau High School, Woolrich, Inc., and Zappos

Hear from a speaking roster filled with customer service practitioners, as well as industry leading executives sharing stories from the trenches. Keynotes include:

Jasmine Y. Green, Chief Customer Advocate, NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY

Pete Winemiller, Senior Vice President, Guest Relations, NBA'S OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

The "Magic" Behind Great Teamwork: Disney's Approach to People Management, THE DISNEY INSTITUTE

Jamie Noughton, Speaker of the House, Chief Culture Ambassador, ZAPPOS.COM


Becky Carroll, Author, THE HIDDEN POWER OF YOUR CUSTOMERS, Community Program Manager, VERIZON

Michael Hoffman, Author, CUSTOMER WORTHY

And more, download the conference brochure for the full speaker line-up and session descriptions.

Readers of the Customer's 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog, so join us at NACCM. Register here.

We look forward to welcoming you next month at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando.

The NACCM Event Team

Visit the event website.
Follow us on Twitter:
Become a Fan on Facebook:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Earn a complimentary pass to this year's NACCM event! (Call for Guest Bloggers)

Earn a complimentary All-Access pass to NACCM by serving as a guest-blogger!

As a guest blogger, you’ll have access to NACCM's comprehensive agenda attracting the best in insights from around the world. For the past 9 years, NACCM: the North American Conference on Customer Management has been your most trusted partner for peer-to-peer sharing. Welcome to an all new journey through the personal and professional moments that matter most as told by an all-star cast of storytellers.

By participating as a guest blogger leading up to and at the event, you’ll receive an all access pass for the entire event, taking place November 14-16, 2011 at Disney's Contemporary Resort in Orlando, FL. Responsibilities will include attending specifically assigned sessions and blogging live or same day.

In exchange for guest blogging, you will receive an all-access pass to the event – a $3,000+ value. Guest bloggers are responsible for their travel and lodging.

Apply today by sending your name, company, short biography and links to your blog or writing samples if applicable to Michelle LeBlanc at

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Storyteller Spotlight Series: Bill Greenwald

In the most recent episode of the 2011 NACCM Storyteller Spotlight Series I had the pleasure of chatting with Bill Greenwald, Director, Performance Coaching and Advisory Practice at Humana, Inc.

Bill will be leading a full day leadership workshop at NACCM this year that will be a deep dive into the well-received 45 minute session he lead in 2010. To learn more about the session, listen to the podcast here.

I left my chat with Bill with one piece of all-important advice for those interested in the foundations of leadership workshop and that is "walk a mile in your customer's shoes." Be it staying a night in the hotel you manage or calling in to a call center, you can't truly connect with the customer experience (good and bad) until you live it.

Readers of the Customer's 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog, so join us at the workshop on Monday, November 14th at NACCM. Register here.

Stay in touch with NACCM, follow us on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook or join our LinkedIn Community for event updates, discounts and industry news and information

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at

Monday, October 24, 2011

NACCM Storyteller honored as Customer Champion

1to1media has released the latest list of the 2011 1to1 Customer Champions and unsurprisingly, NACCM speaker Tom Feeney, President and CEO of Safelite AutoGlass has been honored for his commitment to increasing employee engagement to drive customer delight. Read the full report and list of new 1to1 Customer Champions here.

At this year's NACCM, Tom will be presenting  "Creating a Customer-Focused Culture." Learn from this first-hand case study how one company transformed its workplace culture to improve customer satisfaction to an all-time high of 84 percent Net Promoter Scores through a “people first” focus.

On key takeaway of this session will be "A positive outward-facing brand begins from inside the corporate walls. A well-planned and well-executive HR and internal communications strategy can drive customer delight."

To see all of the 1to1 Media Customer Champion award winners on our speaker list, click here, or download our brochure for more detail. Remember, readers of the Customer's 1st blog and save 15% off the standard registration rate at NACCM with code NACCMBlog. Register today!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Learn the Ins and Outs of How Zappos Treats its Customers at NACCM

Want to hear a truly extraordinary customer service story?

Zaz Lamarr meant to return some shoes to Zappos, but her mom passed away and, naturally, she just didn't have time. Zappos arranged to have UPS come pick up the shoes - and then send her flowers:

"When I came home this last time, I had an email from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn't received them. I was just back and ready to deal with that, so I replied that my mom had died, but I'd send the shoes as soon as I could. They emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so I wouldn't have to take the time to do it myself. I was touched. That's going against corporate policy.

Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I'm a sucker for kindness, and if that wasn't one of the nicest things I've ever had happen to me, I don't know what is."

This is just one of the many, many, many heart-warming, happy, touching, funny Zappos' customer service stories, and the reason why you can't have a conversation about customer service without eventually mentioning (or even opening the conversation) with Zappos.

So how does Zappos do it? What is their secret of great customer service?

The North American Conference on Customer Management (NACCM) is pleased to have Jamie Naughton, Speaker of the House, Chief Culture Ambassador, as one of the keynote speakers, on Tuesday, November 15th, Jamie will present:

Delivering Happiness:
As speaker of the House, Jamie works directly with CEO Tony Hsieh, focusing on the culture for which the company has become known. Her role is essential in creating and driving the architecture of the dynamic culture as well as focusing on culture R&D to ensure always stays relevant to both the employees and their customers. Learn the different ingredients used by to build a long-lasting enduring brand, including the importance of customer service and company culture.

Listen to our podcast with Jamie here for a sneak peek.

Plus, hear professional and personal stories from:
Dunkin' Brands, GfK Customer Loyalty, Dell, The Disney Institute, Hilton Worldwide, Southwest Airlines, Verizon , Humana, Spring, American Cancer Society, JetBlue Airways, Symantec, Best Buy, Kaplan University, Volkswagon America, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Safelite Autoglass, Sears, Customer Care Coach, Mandalay Bay Entertainment, NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, Peoplemetrics, Microsoft Bing, DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse,and more!

Download the brochure to see why you can't miss the year's NACCM.

NACCM is less than a month away, register now to secure your spot. Register today as a reader of the Customer's 1st blog and save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog.
We look forward to welcoming you this November 14-16 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando.

The NACCM Event Team
Visit the event website.
Follow us on Twitter:
Become a Fan on Facebook:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do You Have Customer Experience Assassins?

On October 12th, Dave Fish of Maritz Research presented our webinar "Do You Have Customer Experience Assassins?"

Customer Experience Angels and Assassins. They're out there ...lurking... but who are they and where are they? Organizations measuring customer satisfaction need to know who they are and where they are. Researchers need to understand them. This Web cast explains who they are, where they are and how to manage both when it comes to customer experience measurement.

Hard to please " Assassins" frequently take aim at your brand with unfavorable shots at your products and services while "Angels" consistently evaluate services across industries positively. This Web cast utilizes Maritz Research's CEBenchmarks study which helps identify Angels and Assassins and explores who they are, where they live, and how they can be managed.

In this webinar we learned:

  • How Assassins and Angels differ demographically from the population as a whole
  • What industries suffer from a higher and lower proportion of each
  • What areas of the country are associated with higher or lower customer experience
  • What you can do about Assassins and Angels from both a practitioners and metric strategy standpoint

If you missed the webinar, but are interested in learning more on this topic, visit where you can download the recording or slide deck.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Curt Carlson on Customer Experience: #4: A New Framework for Business Growth through Customer Experience Management.

In this new series of posts, we are joined by guest blogger Curt Carlson, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience Management – TNS North America. Read the full series here.

Hi! This is the last of four posts leading up to the NACCM conference. Over the past three weeks, I’ve talked about how Customer Experience Management (CXM) is challenged as never before: it is not driving improvement in either scores or financials for most companies today; it is not customer-focused; and it is not taking into account how customers make decisions. We now know that a more comprehensive view of measuring Customer Experience is needed. It is not just about measuring overall customer experience and key drivers; we also need to factor in the varied needs (drivers) and states (emotions) of different customers. Doing this creates a vastly improved measurement system. What gets measured gets done, right?

Not so fast. Back in the day, CXM (aka, CSAT) was easy…identify the key drivers, make the case for low-cost process changes and watch the scores go up. What got measured got done because we knew what needed to be done. Now that we’ve tried everything we can think of, we need new ways of managing business performance improvement. Today, we need a Customer Experience Management framework.

A CXM framework requires understanding the customer from three perspectives: Loyalty Relationships, which are essential to accomplishing strategic objectives; Transactional (touch-point) Experiences, which strengthen or weaken those relationships; and Employee Engagement levels, which are ultimately responsible for performance on the first two. Many companies have programs to measure all three. Unfortunately, most of those programs are left in their Marketing, Operations, and HR silos. This means most companies are failing to get the full return on the significant investments they are making in these programs. For example, if Customer Service performance is low in a call center, do you spend behind additional training and monitoring on low performing attributes? The Customer Experience data might suggest that. But if you also knew that the CSRs in this particular center had very low engagement due to lack of trust and empathy from managers, you would make very different decisions. This potential for misallocation of resources is unacceptable in business today. Managing customer experience to drive business performance requires measuring and managing within an integrated CXM framework.

Measuring and managing is good, but still not enough. I’ve seen too many companies use information from their Customer Experience programs to develop and implement action plans only to then cross their fingers until the next measurement cycle. It is absolutely necessary to monitor your company’s implementation of its action plans, your customers’ responses to those actions, and the business performance outcomes that result.

In summary, whether you say “Integrated,” “Connected,” or “Holistic,” it is all about a comprehensive, customer-focused view of needs/drivers and states/emotions within the framework of Measuring customer relationships, transactional experiences, and employee engagement levels; Managing action planning and implementation; and Monitoring the response. We haven’t even touched on brand promise and its relationship to CXM (Authenticity)…or Social Media…or Innovation. Those will have to wait. Enjoy the conference.

I’ll be continuing to post every week at Hope to see you there. Let me know what you think of the conference by posting your comments below.

If you enjoyed this series, join TNS this November at NACCM for a session on Best-in-class Customer Experience Management.

To learn more about NACCM,
click here. To register, click here. Readers of the Customer's 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Curt Carlson on Customer Experience: #3: How do your customers feel about doing business with you?

In this new series of posts, we are joined by guest blogger Curt Carlson, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience Management – TNS North America. Read the full series here.

Hi! This is the third of four posts leading up to the NACCM conference. In my last one, I discussed a way to begin to unlock some of the strategic value inherent in all Customer Experience Management (CXM) programs. That approach required becoming truly customer-centric…understanding individual customer’s needs and taking action at that level. We also, however, need to take into account how customers make decisions regarding the companies they do business with. Science is telling us that decision making is not very rational. It is, in fact, mostly emotional.

The earth is flat. The sun moves around the earth. We use our powers of reason to make decisions. All were strongly held beliefs…once upon a time. Today, neuroscience reveals that the emotional regions of the brain are very active when making a decision. Once a decision is made, however, the rational areas take over. It sure looks like we make decisions emotionally and then rationalize them. Like Plato’s Cave, our current process-based survey approach is a shadow, a reflection of the rationalization process, but not necessarily of the decision process itself. Understanding customers’ emotional states is as important as understanding their needs. This is where Dynamic Loyalty comes in.

Most relationships are habitual. You shop at the same grocery stores; you buy business supplies from the same providers; you’re wedded to your mobile device. Eventually, however, disruption strikes. You see on the 11:00 news your grocery store has been charging more at check-out than the posted price (anger). Your business supplier stops carrying the printer cartridges for your older printer (irritation). You try your wife’s new iPhone (“wow” – my own emotional response). Each of these experiences and the emotions they produce disrupts the steady state and influences decisions that will weaken or strengthen current business (or other) relationships. This perspective explains a phenomenon we’re all too familiar with: Customers are loyal until they’re not.

They tell you... “We really like doing business with you.” “Just focus on doing what you’re doing.” “Don’t take this the wrong way, but we’re putting our business up for competitive bid – you can expect an RFP in the next few weeks.” THEY LIED! No, they didn’t. They really believed what they told you in your steady state relationship, but there was a disruptive event. (Management fed up with flat customer experience scores? New information found in a competitor’s blog?) Either you create and manage disruption, or someone else will.

So if you’re going to improve customer experience to drive your company’s business performance, you have to find ways to meet customers’ individual needs (drivers) and manage the emotional states (disruptions) that impact decision-making. That will require strong relationships, excellent performance, and engaged employees. Your CXM framework must reflect these components. I'll have more about that in the next post.
Until next time…Tell me what you think: Does this wider perspective reflect fundamental change in thinking about CXM…or is it just another dress on the CSAT mannequin?

If you enjoyed this post, join TNS this November at NACCM for a session on Best-in-class Customer Experience Management.

To learn more about NACCM,
click here. To register, click here. Readers of the Customer's 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

John Cushman of AT&T spoke Tuesday at the Total Customer Experience Leadership Conference about creating a company culture centered around the customer. His steps for finding how to best serve your customer: watch your customers, understand their differences, set the foundation to building a roadmap to customer-centric success, make each player’s role clear, encourage employees to work together toward a common goal, rethink empowerment, track diverse success metrics, and prepare for the unexpected.

Pay attention to feedback and market analysis. This will show you what your customers truly want. Divide your customers into segments and find what requirements each needs. Make sure employees know what part they have in ensuring the right experience and encourage them to work together. Give authority to the right people in the right situations. Compile systems-provided data, structured feedback, and unstructured feedback to assess your current situation, then improve it. And always prepare for the unexpected.

Build for the end user. Sweat the little details of the user experience to solve pain points. All this will help you know your customers and discover what they want and what they don’t know they want.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Customer Experience Assassins and Customer Care for Gen X and Y

The North American Conference on Customer Management (NACCM) would like to invite you to enjoy two complimentary resources in the six weeks leading up to the event. First, join us for a complimentary one-hour web seminar: Do You Have Customer Experience Assassins? Investigating geo-demographic differences across sectors.

Are there customers out there who are just impossible to satisfy? That is, those customers who consistently evaluate products and services unfavorably regardless of industry. Response style explanations notwithstanding, this type of so-called, “Customer Experience Assassin” lurks out there and could be damaging not just your brand but others in their path. But who are they, how do we avoid their ire, and what, if anything, should we do about them?

Likewise, there are “Customer Experience Angels”, individuals who float through life blissfully unaware of the poor service and products they endure. They won’t complain about cold soup or the unkempt hotel room. They won’t return things, don’t complain much or at all, and they are generally happy people. Or maybe they just generally get better service for a variety reasons. Either way, as an organization you would want to know, “who are they and how do we get them to have an even greater influence on others?"

To answer these questions, Dave Fish, VP of Client Solutions, Maritz Research, guides you through discoveries found using Maritz Research’s CEBenchmarks study. In this study we track 34 customer experiences in 16 different industries among 263 different brands. Join us for the webinar on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT.

Register here:

Please mention code MWS0042SM when registering

Secondly, NACCM's partner, GfK Custom Research North America, has recently published "The Generational Effect", a white paper that explores the concept of generation and the extent to which various generations are both similar and different in their degree of loyalty, and the drivers of loyalty to companies in the various sectors. GfK compares key loyalty metrics from the benchmark surveys in the banking, automotive, credit card and cell phone sectors to reveal insights associated with this conjecture. To read the paper, click here.

Want to hear more from GfK? Join us at NACCM for the session "Become a Better Leader in Customer Loyalty: Customer Loyalty and Experiences Across the Generations" on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011.

Drawing on GfK Customer Loyalty cross-industry benchmark surveys, this session compares the generations in terms of the delighters that drive customer loyalty and dissatisfiers that drive customers crazy and lead to defection. Explore the similarities and differences between generational cohorts, such as Millenials (GenX) and GenYers, Boomers, Traditionals and emerging GenZ. To learn more, download the brochure.

Plus, you won't want to miss out on this year's keynotes:
Janice Green, Chief Customer Advocate, NATIONWIDE INSURANCE
John Costello, Chief Global Marketing & Innovation Officer, DUNKIN BRANDS
Jamie Noughton, Speaker of the House, Chief Culture Ambassador, ZAPPOS.COM
Michael Hoffman, Author, CUSTOMER WORTHY
Pete Winemiller, Senior Vice President, Guest Relations, NBA'S OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Register today.

We look forward to welcoming you this November 14-16 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando.

The NACCM Event Team
Visit the event website.
Follow us on Twitter.
Become a Fan on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Setting Targets for Measures of Customer Satisfaction: Comparing Results Based on Benchmarking vs. Linkage Analysis

Every company wants to know how they add up against the competition. But how do you measure customer satisfaction and loyalty?

Dr. D. Randall Brandt spoke about three ways to set target loyalty goals: judgment-based metrics, benchmark-based, and linkage analysis.

Judgment-based choosing is when management simply picks a target based on personal judgment. This works best in tandem with benchmarking or linkage. It can be difficult for management to articulate the rationale, and it may not be realistic.

When companies use benchmark-based targets, they define their targets in comparison to some benchmark, be it time, inter- or intra-organizational. These targets are easier to explain and take into account the company’s current state. However, this may promote a false sense of confidence since you don’t know if achieving the target will yield desired business results.

Linkage Analysis is based on strength and creates a relationship between satisfaction and business outcome of interest. It is easier for management to explain, which increases the odds of achieving the desired business result

The objectives of this analysis is to determine and evaluate the similarities and differences among targets based upon benchmarks vs. linkage analysis, then use the results to develop a framework. Frameworks should:

- 1. Drive continuous improvement

- 2. Achieve customer experience leadership

- 3. Realize desired business results

Use these criteria for setting targets for key customer metrics on the basis of business strategies and objectives. Evaluate scores on these metrics using the selected multiple criteria and targets to find out just where your company sits against others in the industry.

Steps to Driving Action on the Front Line in a B2B Environment

Tim Berry from Microsoft spoke of driving your sales force to enhance the customer experience.

Every company should try to become a trusted partner with its customers. Microsoft has gone on a journey toward deeper customer satisfaction. When Microsoft was being perceived less positively, Bill Gates made a decision to start listening to customers. Since then, the company has received more and more positive feedback as it shifted to the Web, and now through the transition to the Cloud.

Understand what your moment of truth is: It’s when a customer is most focused on you and when they make their assessment of how satisfied they are with you.

The goal is to drive change. Use customer feedback to find out how to make the experience better. This can be measure by the Relationship Management Score (RMS). Have a consistent and predictable customer engagement model. This information can be used to create tools and resources to optimize the sales force. Listen to customers to find how they define success.

Create actionable Customer Satisfaction Metrics to hold people accountable – all the way down to the individual level. “What gets measured gets done.” Make sure the data is being used. Here are Tim’s tips to drive relationship health:

1. Consistent Sales Methodology

2. Listening Methods

3. Drive Execution Excellence

4. Close the Loop

You must know the value proposition for all your constituents, whether they be external or internal. The sales force needs to be funneled toward execution excellence. Start with a Strategic Relationship Map. Define which roles and relationships are needed and who can fill them. Be sure to communicate the results to customers and to employees. Create an action plan to improve upon what you learned. Focus on having CPE information stay close to the sales team. Formalize Corrective Action Plans – if an issue comes up, be transparent and open. Create a conversation

Start this movement from the top down. If the CEO isn’t behind it, others won’t come together either. Create a central group that supports the vision – they will drive the overall strategy. Remember that CSAT is a long-term strategy and every internal and external factor has an impact. Tailor the process to each segment. Create actionable CSAT metrics to drive change. Then measure, and do it all again.

Breaking the Barriers in Total Customer Experience

[Full disclosure – You might want to take this with a grain of salt since he’s my dad.]

Joe Pine kicked off Tuesday with an introduction to how experiences are the new offering in this economy.

We have progressed from the commodities market, to an industrial economy focused on goods, to a service economy, and now to a market that values experiences. The value of an experiential offering is based off how much time consumers are willing to spend with you.

The recession isn’t slowing down this progress; instead, it is accelerating the shift to experiences being what consumers truly want. With limited spending money, people are realizing they don’t value “stuff.” They value shared experiences with loved ones. Soon, experiences will become the predominant economic offering and even generate more jobs.

Experiences aren’t always experiences in real time and space. Companies like Layar use digital technology to enhance experiences. There’s been an explosion of this technology – it’s a migration from reality to virtuality. We need to figure out how to use technology to enhance experiences by fusing the real and the virtual and exploring the “Multiverse” (explained in his book, “Infinite Possibility”).

Here are Joe’s tips on designing experiences:

- Make the experience cohesive

o Use the design principle of THEME:

§ Theme

§ Harmonize impressions with positive cues

§ Eliminate negative cues

§ Mix in memorabilia

§ Evoke all five sense

- Make the experience rich – hit the sweet spot of the experience

- Make your experience individual – experiences happen inside of us

- Make your experience authentic – be true to self

- Make your experience compelling

o Embrace dramatic structure of Exposition, Inciting Incident, Rising Action, Crisis, Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement

Measure the success of an experience by how much time a customer is willing to spend with you – whether in real life or in the virtual world.

“With technology it’s limited only by our imagination, and to that there is no end.”