Why CEOs Must Become Customer-Experience Evangelists

“…classic business school thinking always told us that when your customer-satisfaction numbers hit 95 percent or even 98 percent, it’s a waste of money to try to push beyond that because some customers are just grumpy and implacable by nature and you can’t do a thing about that. So move on, we were told.”

“And that was okay back in the old days when the seller was in control… But today, that model’s got about as much vitality as the local video store.”

“Unhappy customers — even if it’s only 2 percent of your total customer universe — now have the voice and the authority to exact a painful price…”

by Mark Hurd, President at Oracle

Read more: Mark Hurd, President of Oracle on LinkedIn

streetsmartprof‘s insight:

Mark builds a valid case as to why the CEO needs to be a main force behind improving customer experience.

One could say he is biased as a software provider. Or one could say he is simply turning on the light and asking business executives to consider the current reality of the situation.

The times have changes, technology is advancing and many of the business processes are built on old technology was is not a match for a few disgruntled customers in the new age of social media.

Give this one a read if you are embarking on a customer experience evolution in your company and you’re unsure if the CEO is on board. It may provide some ideas to help convince them they should be.

See on www.linkedin.com

Leaders Help Create the Best Customer Experience – Not Bussiness Rules

“I was once asked to run a workshop for a small group of senior executives…seeking to transform itself into a more customer-centric business.”

“During a planning call with the company’s CEO, he asked me how he would know whether the workshop was a success.”

“What do you mean? I asked.”

“Well, he said, what will my executives do differently, if we’re successful at convincing them that this is a good direction for our company?”

“It was a good question, so we brainstormed the issue…”

By Don Peppers, The Forbes article is here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2013/09/18/empowered-employees-vs-brand-standards-the-customer-experience-needs-both/

streetsmartprof‘s insight:

The article covers six behaviors of leaders who walk the talk and are helping to create the best customer experience.

It is slightly lofty in terms of the “what and why” with only a few hints of “how”.

However, the main reason I grabbed this article is in the last behavior:

“a leader… committed to transparency and trustability – ensuring that the organization’s official policy is always to act in the customer’s interest, even when it might not yield the same level of short-term profit.”

In my simple mind this means having business rules and procedures which allow the employees to “act” on their own. Don’t let them check their brains at the door, let them make decisions and provide them with the proper tools.

If you are curious of how this might look:

“The Ritz-Carlton has for many years given staff  $2,000 of discretion (yes, this is per employee per guest) to be used to solve any customer complaint in the manner the employee feels is appropriate.”

The Forbes article is here:


At first blush, this looks very risky, which it is, unless it is built on “Smart Trust”. Trust is a two way street, but to gain trust, the manager must go first.

Read more on Smart Trust:


Can a Social Business Help Improve the Customer Experience?

“The days when you can control your brand through your website are long gone. Customers are getting information about your brand and products through a number of different channels and if you aren’t listening and engaging these channels, you won’t only miss new business opportunities, but will quickly see the competition pass you by.”

“While some form of social in any enterprise setting is now commonplace, just because you add a social feature to your application doesn’t mean that you have transformed into a social business and are succeeding in using social to improve the customer experience.”

“Doing social for social sake won’t get you anywhere. Organizations must move beyond a social checklist and truly understand how to connect, collaborate and improve customer experiences and then act.” By John Newton, (@johnnewton)

Read more: http://www.cmswire.com/cms/social-business/the-customer-centric-social-business-is-going-to-happen-021346.php

streetsmartprof‘s insight:

John’s article is more around the “what and why”. Starting from the top and working down towards the “how”, without getting into the details.

His thought process around how a B2B company may need to transform to revolve around the customer while using social tools seems dead on to my experience over the years.

Think about it this way. In the past, the “main voice” of the customer was gathered in round about ways and was always filtered, some way, some how. Instant insights into what customers liked or disliked around products, features and capabilities from their own words was slow to come to the table.

Now a person can listen in directly to customer and prospect dialogues around their company products and brand. Hearing directly from those who are active on social sites. (Which is never all of the customer base and may not be a majority today in many industries.)

Truely listening to the customer voice allows companies to begun the transition to a company who connects and collaborates with their customers in real time. Something which was more difficult to do in years past.

If your customers and prospects are active on social sites their insights, ideas and suggestions can help improve the overall customer experience for others.

See on news.google.com

Customer Experience and Social Selling

“More and more sales people are using social  media to help them prospect and develop new business. It’s certainly an  avenue that I use for my client development. Used wisely and effectively it’s a  great tool to enhance your business development efforts.”

“Allow me to propose this: Are sales people who utilize social media more  successful than others, OR is it that consistently successful sales people  almost always use the smartest techniques and are ahead of the curve?”

“Social media should be used to create awareness, build thought leadership and inform your prospect but it shouldn’t be applied when actually selling to your  prospects.  I would actually argue that sales people don’t outsell their  peers using social media, but, on a level playing field, they out-prospect them,  they out-perform them on their pre-call intelligence.” by Monika D’Agostino

Read more: http://www.business2community.com/social-media/sales-social-media-you-0511867

streetsmartprof‘s insight:

I like how Monika builds on the Forbes article and uses practical experience to drill into the why and how around social selling. Aligning the need to use consultative sales skills with social selling and to use the right tools, skills and capabilities at the right time.


In Monica’s words, social selling is more about business development, not about the sale. As buyers, we are always looking for competent people when we have questions. And definitely not those who simply want to take over the conversation. How we act on social sites needs to present our consultative skills, not a “know it all” attitude.

Social media is also a great place to pick up on your industry to listen in on the general needs of today. Various tools are available, such as www.socialmention.com, which allow you to setup saved searches specific to your keywords, sources, and industry needs. Crossing all of the main social sites and allowing you to configure which ones you want to monitor.

It is apparent few companies are actually training their sales people how to use social media to help improve the customer experience. Leaving them up to their own to learn how to use the new social tools being deployed. The good news, many of the tools are easy to learn and are low cost or free to use.

See on www.business2community.com

Customer Experience: Learn How Nursing Uses Storytelling

“There’s a lot of buzz around the action of “storytelling.” It’s a trendy term.

“Some marketers hijack storytelling as the art nouveau of their work. I suppose that’s fine, but it still rings generic.”

“Nurses, we live storytelling. Our work is storytelling. The intimacy in the care we provide is like a Bob Dylan song because storytelling doesn’t have to be the feel-good, inspire-the-world marketing scheme. It’s a lived life.”

“Storytelling—good storytelling—encompasses the grit and the grime. It is the real, and yes, sometimes it is happy, but sometimes it’s about suffering and pain and a mixture of all those things.”

[The Storyteller, photo by Steve Evans]

streetsmartprof‘s insight:

It is interesting as a profession nurses are trained to care for the patient. Part of the orginal oath was: “devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care”. http://www.nursegroups.com/nightingale-pledge%3A-nursing-ethics

Is it the focus on caring for the patient why most people trust their nurse? Think about why this is in your own mind.

Now turn around and view the training and education used to bring your own employees up to speed on “how to care” for your own customers.

Have their lips been loaded with “fairy tales” of how great the company is. Or do they know the “lessons learned” and “war stories” of the past?

Most people will agree there is no such thing as a perfect life, or a perfect company. Being able to tell life lesson stories to customers about helping others may just move the needle on improving your customers experience when things have gone south.

See on centerforhealthmediapolicy.com