Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Customer Experience Conversations: Keith Ferrazzi

In this next post in our Customer Experience Conversations series, we sat down with Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit’s keynote speaker Keith Ferrazzi, who is also CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight and Author of Never Eat Alone. Ferrazzi discussed how customer experienced has evolved in the digital age and the importance of customer experience leadership.

This year, TCEL will explore the new realities of building brands and relationships in today’s socially driven and data abundant world. The event will shine an important lens on the power of insights and the critical need for marketers to focus on factoring emotion into the bigger equation to get a return on customer relationships.
Here is what Ferrazzi had to say:

IIR: Why are empathy and emotion so important in when it comes to customer experience?

Ferrazzi: Technology's pretty much leveled the field with regard to quality, making customers more likely to develop relationships with the companies they choose to work with. That's put the customer in the position of looking for a more personal experience. They want to work with people they trust. Empathy, vulnerability, emotion are ways to develop that trust. 

IIR: What are the key traits of a great customer experience leader?

Ferrazzi:  Obviously, accountability is critical. You're responsible for your customer's experience, good or bad. But trust, creativity and adaptability are also pretty high. You have to trust your team to constantly look for new ways to improve the customer experience. You need the creativity to see the bigger, longer picture. And you need to be lean enough to change courses when necessary.

IIR: If your customers have a bad customer experience, how do you reconnect with them moving forward?

Ferrazzi: Before anything else, admit your mistake, if it was your mistake, and apologize directly. So many difficult situations can be neutralized with two simple, but sincere, words: "I'm sorry." Customers are angry after a bad experience because they feel like they were treated poorly. By apologizing, you've already changed the dynamic and make resolving the situation more collaborative. From there you can turn a bad customer experience into a loyal customer just by being open to their feelings.

IIR: How has the digital revolution changed the overall customer experience?

Ferrazzi: It's certainly had an equalizing effect. Neither customer nor company is limited by the old, pre-digital marketplace. Small start-ups can compete against big brands by serving a specific niche and can reach customers all over the world, just by being where their customers are online. And with so much market segmentation targeting your specific customers is more cost effective. You'll reach fewer eyes but the ones you do reach are more likely to be interested in your product.

IIR: How has social media affected customer experience?

Ferrazzi: It's made feedback instantaneous. You know immediately whether your customer's had a good or bad experience. The customer is far more empowered and a dissatisfied customer is always more likely to voice his or her opinion. One bad meal, one rude CSR, and Twitter, Facebook, Reddit knows immediately. You can see that as a problem, or you can use that same medium to show how much you value your customers.

IIR: How do you make the connections between experience, brand and loyalty, which together create customer expectations?

Ferrazzi: Understanding what your brand brings to your customers, not just in the specific goods or services, but in the visceral experience, is critical. Even if you are your brand, is your audience one who is looking for something posh or homey? Luxurious or utilitarian? Intellectually rigorous or practical? Know what emotional need your fulfilling in addition the good or service you're providing, and you'll turn a generic transaction into an "experience" which will trigger loyalty. 

Want to hear more from Keith on customer experience in person? Join him at Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2014 in Miami in April. To learn more about the event and register, 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 1st, 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 Follow her at @AmandaCicc.
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