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Mila D'Antonio | September 1, 2014
Many of us will celebrate Labor Day today with a picnic or partaking in retail's many sales. The real significance of Labor Day is to recognize employees and their contributions for the year. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | July 30, 2014
They say it's what's on the inside that counts. Yet, while we're still not quite sure who "they" are, this mantra certainly applies to IT. When it comes to implementing new systems and integrating the latest technology, companies must develop an infrastructure that allows staff to tap into customer data and improve the consumer experience effectively, with regard to both time and money. But, as businesses continue to balance new solutions with their legacy systems, streamlined internal operations are more Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 28, 2014
Earlier this month, Google Co-Founder Larry Page entertained the notion of businesses implementing a four-day work week during a fireside chat with Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, when he said that everyone needing to work frantically "is just not true." Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | May 2, 2014
In my latest Forrester report, "5 Steps To Create And Sustain Customer-Centric Culture," I answered the question I hear most often from clients: What are the steps in the process to actually transform organizational culture to be customer centric? I interviewed companies that have successfully completed this transformation, and companies that are in the midst of that process right now. I learned that there are five steps companies must take to create and sustain customer-centric culture: Read more »
Anna Papachristos | April 16, 2014
From Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and Pinterest, social media continues to prove it's not just some trend, but also an emerging platform for individuals and brands to connect and converse. But, as social media expands into an enterprisewide initiative, more companies beginning to consider to pros and cons of bringing their CEO into the mix. While many feel this step would bring an added human element to their business, others worry that exposing their CEO to public scrutiny may Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | April 4, 2014
In my recent report for Forrester, "How To Build A Customer-Centric Culture," I describe how customer experience professionals use three tools to embed customer focus in their organizations: Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | March 7, 2014
In my latest research report for Forrester, "Drive Customer-Centric Employee Behavior With Rewards And Recognition," I describe how companies modify their reward and recognition programs to drive more customer-centric employee behaviors. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 2, 2014
Last night the stars came out for Hollywood's biggest night. From Jennifer Lawrence's stumble on the Red Carpet, Jared Leto's poised, tear-jerking speech dedicated to his mother, or 20 Feet From Stardom singer Darlene Love singing a rousing rendition of a gospel song during her acceptance speech, the 86th Academy Awards, didn't disappoint. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | February 26, 2014
With technology comes an air of mystery. Because the overall landscape continues to evolve at breakneck speed, companies across industries see technology as an alluring force that must be embraced in order to remain competitive. Yet, while senior executives work to integrate the latest and greatest tools, this focus often leads many to forget and forego the communication strategies necessary to keep employees engaged. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 17, 2014
Last week, my friend and I made one last trek to Loehmann's after finding out the discount department store will close its doors later this month after 93 years in business. We wanted one last chance to wade through the racks of latest fashions and to take advantage of the 60 percent discounts. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | February 7, 2014
Companies that want to create a more customer-centric culture must socialize customer focus among all employees. Socialization includes three sets of activities: Communicate the importance of customer-centricity, train employees to deliver the intended experience, and reinforce customer centricity with routines. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 27, 2014
While attending a cocktail party in December, I met a woman who returned to the U.S. that day from Costa Rica. She was a flight attendant and drove directly to the party from JFK airport. When I asked her which airline she worked for, she replied, "the worst airline in the world." I responded, "Let me guess--United Airlines." Read more »
Guest Blogger: Vanessa Saulsberry | January 17, 2014
"Eeeek eeeek. Wakka wakaa!" That is one of the many calls of the gregarious meerkat. Translation: probably something like "Run, Forrest! Run!" It's a constant battle for meerkats to protect themselves from the elements of the blistering Kalahari Desert. Each day must be meticulously calculated and every member must work in concert to stave off a startling range of threats, and capitalize on tasty opportunities. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | December 13, 2013
Earlier this year, I spoke with Kathleen Cattrall, Interim Chief Experience Officer, at VCA Animal Hospitals about the company's customer experience transformation efforts. VCA is a publicly traded company (fittingly, their NASDAQ ticker symbol is WOOF) that owns and operates more than 600 pet hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. Its work to create more customer-centric hiring processes features in my latest report, "How to Hire and Onboard Customer-Centric Employees." Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 25, 2013
As a growing number of retailers are opening their doors on Thanksgiving, a handful are bucking the commercial trend and staying closed, respecting employees and their families and attracting positive word of mouth in the process. Nordstrom, Costco, Ross Stores, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Burlington Coat Factory stores, Sam's Club, and BJ's Wholesale are choosing not to encroach on America's family centered holiday by remaining closed on Thursday. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 7, 2013
Today marks the start of Customer Service Week where thousands of companies will honor and award their employees in an effort to boost morale and celebrate those committed to delivering exceptional customer service. In an effort to encourage continuous improvement for companies' service organizations beyond October 11, I'm making the following recommendations. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | September 25, 2013
While The Beatles may understand that money can't buy love, in many organizations, leaders cannot comprehend the fact that not all employees are motivated solely by the zeros at the end of their paycheck. For most workers, satisfaction and happiness comes from loving the work, not the payout. While monetary incentives are certainly welcome, those dollar signs are often secondary, as employees value quality of life above all else. And, as Robin Rotenberg of BASF, says, the happiest employees--those that Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 17, 2013
Last year had experts calling BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend, "the hottest trend of 2012." This year as companies start to embrace this ever-growing culture, they're now figuring out how to manage the BYOD's security and application delivery, as well as employee productivity. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 5, 2013
I recently came across an interview with Amazon Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos, in which he was quoted this: "What's dangerous is not to evolve...You have to have a willingness to fail.... It's not enough to just listen to customers; you have to invent on their behalf." Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 3, 2013
Sometimes employees do stupid things that negatively affect the customer experience. And sometimes the leadership of those companies can flip a potential disaster into a positive public relations coup, gaining positive customer sentiment as a result. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 29, 2013
Good customer service is difficult to come by these days, but even more elusive is fun service. Some companies like Southwest Airlines and Zappos rely on laughter to stand out from the competition. In fact, Zappos, famed for its customer service that goes the extra mile for customers, has created a company culture that instills having fun on the job. One of Zappos' core values is, "Create Fun and a Little Weirdness," which includes 10 principles, among them, "Deliver WOW Read more »
Anna Papachristos | March 27, 2013
Perhaps I'm addicted to the chips and salsa. Or maybe it's the friendly service. Either way, Chili's Grill & Bar never fails to satisfy (in my opinion). But, for one young Utah girl and her family, Chili's went above and beyond to make sure their needs were met with the utmost compassion. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Adele Sage | March 15, 2013
There's no question that executive support can make or break a voice of the customer program. With an executive (or several) on board, VoC teams can get the funding and tools that they need to succeed. And VoC leaders from Forrester's 2012 Voice of the Customer Awards almost unanimously gave others the advice to build executive support. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 4, 2013
In light of the annual Employee Recognition Day last Friday, I had planned to offer advice for rewarding and recognizing employees. Rather than list tips about writing hand-written notes or introducing Zappos-like recognition day celebrations, I'll instead address a more poignant debate fueled by Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer last week--the discussion around whether allowing employees to work from home is beneficial or disadvantageous. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 25, 2013
Unlike when airlines use flight simulation to train pilots, corporations tend to shy away from creating meaningful opportunities for employees to help them practice their job responsibilities as they fit into a new company strategy or organizational transformation, often causing initiatives to fail. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | February 1, 2013
Despite professed customer centricity, many firms don't think to involve customers, employees, or key partners in the experience design process. That's unfortunate, because this activity - called co-creation - can help companies understand what types of interactions will best meet people's needs, and then figure out how to implement those interactions the right way. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | January 9, 2013
When one pregnant woman and her family decided to have dinner at their local Red Robin, they simply thought they were heading out for a nice meal--perhaps one of their last before welcoming their new baby. But, after joking with the staff about her impending delivery, Amie Sivon and her husband, Jason, discovered an unexpected surprise. Their check indicated that Sivon's entire meal, totaling $11.50, had been deducted from the bill, accompanied by one simple message: "MOM 2 BEE GOOD Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | January 4, 2013
Over the past two years, consumer technology adoption and market forces have catapulted the field of customer experience into strategic stature. In 2012, this shift manifested itself privately through sweeping organizational changes at companies in nearly every industry -- and shined publicly through professional organizations, the media, and even in the courts. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 24, 2012
As 2012 draws to a close, I have a few wishes for 2013 to ensure that we all have better customer experiences. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagan | December 21, 2012
In the absence of a chief customer officer (CCO)--or even real buy-in from executives for expending time and resources on improving the customer experience--many customer experience leaders struggle to ignite the kind of culture change that re-focuses how executives and employees do things. I came across a Harvard Business Review article by Debra Meyerson called "Radical Change, The Quiet Way," from October 2001, which offered sage advice that applies to any customer experience leader. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 10, 2012
We can expect it every year around this time: Video clips featured in the news of busy delivery men hoisting holiday packages over customers' fences or whipping them into theiryards, breaking the contents within.The news anchors, horrified at what they're witnessing, then discuss options to remedy this behavior. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | December 7, 2012
Recently I was on a panel about the impact of cultural change on customer experience. My fellow panelists included Meltem Uysaler, a senior vice president of customer experience for Citi; and Patricia John, the customer experience director for Europcar U.K. (a car rental agency). Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 3, 2012
By now, most people have seen photos of the Michigan man who got a Mitt Romney tattoo emblazoned on his face. While the man reported last week that he now plans to remove the big red and blue "R", the decision to get inked with his nominee and presidential hopeful was fanatical. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | November 30, 2012
The right customer interactions, implemented the right way, don't just happen. Instead, they must be actively designed. This requires learning -- and then sticking to -- the steps in a human-centered design process. But this approach is not for the faint of heart. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | November 2, 2012
In the dozens of conversations I have each week with companies charting their paths to a better customer experience, the role of employees often comes up. We talk about the importance of employee empowerment, and how critical it is that employees feel free to make decisions that are right for customers. We discuss tactics like hiring, socialization, and rewards that can help organizations build corporate cultures that reinforce customer-centric attitudes and behaviors. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | October 31, 2012
With Election Day less than one week away, citizens all across the nation are doing their best to familiarize themselves with the issues and determine where the candidates truly stand. For much of America, jobs are the most important talking point on the agenda, and for the National Retail Federation (NRF), this means helping the 42 million retail workers across the country stay informed on the topics that pertain to their livelihood. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 22, 2012
Henry Kissinger said, "The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been." This year's 1to1 Customer Champions are doing just that. Their enthusiasm to improve the customer experience, and their willingness to try new tactics for organizational adoption, underscores why they were chosen as exemplary leaders who drive their companies' customer experience forward. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | October 4, 2012
In today's online-heavy world, one-to-one interactions between customers and the brands they do business with are becoming less frequent. This is one of the reasons why organizations need to make sure to not only satisfy customers during these dealings, but exceed their expectations. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 1, 2012
"Businesses absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large." This quote from Henry Ford rings true this week as the 24th annual Customer Service Week kicks off today. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | September 21, 2012
Whenever I talk about the business impact of customer experience, there's one thing that always grabs people's attention. It's an analysis done by Jon Picoult of Watermark Consulting, who took five years of data from Forrester's Customer Experience Index and constructed two model portfolios. One is a portfolio of the top 10 publicly traded companies in the index (customer experience leaders) and one is a portfolio of the bottom ten publicly traded companies in the index (customer experience laggards). Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 18, 2012
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Karine Del Moro, Senior Director at Confirmit, about best practices for drawing upon employee feedback to help improve the customer experience. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | September 13, 2012
A happy and engaged workforce is a fundamental element in business success and forward-thinking business leaders are striving to gain and retain high levels of employee engagement. Not only are engaged employees more likely to work harder, ultimately having a positive impact on the customer experience, but it's human nature for customers to want to do business with a brand that is evidently treating its employees right. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | August 2, 2012
Organizations that are providing scripts for their customer-facing employees need to keep one thing in mind: Customers are very savvy in recognizing a scripted interaction and don't always like it. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | July 19, 2012
Organizations that take the time to engage in one-on-one interactions with their customers are standing out among their competitors. And yet, not all business leaders are investing in such interactions, allowing their companies to really have a two-way conversation with their customers. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 12, 2012
One of the biggest problems with contact centers is the inordinate amount of focus that's placed on efficiency. Many agents are instructed and incented to close out calls quickly, often without fully resolving a customer's issue or delivering a satisfactory experience. Last week while I attended Call Center Week in Las Vegas, I came across an example of where customer service should be headed. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | June 6, 2012
At Corner Bank, Jana Dawson is the company's CMO and senior vice president of HR. At Volusion, the head of HR reports into David Mitzenmacher, the company's chief customer officer (CCO). Why? Because a company's customer experience (and therefore its brand) depends on its employees. They need to understand it, believe it, and deliver it on a day-to-day basis. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | May 30, 2012
There's something increasingly impersonal about today's shopping experience that makes such endeavors a lot less thrilling than they once were. Shopping bags are now virtual lists where we track the items we plan to purchase. Showrooms are websites that offer a basic, two-dimensional view of the products for sale. And when it comes to movie rentals, one can hardly find the DVD they want without consulting an online service or a monstrous kiosk. While we used to be able to Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | May 8, 2012
The only way your company will differentiate based on customer experience is if the culture of your organization aligns closely with the brand promise to customers. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh puts it in his blog post entitled Your Culture Is Your Brand: "Advertising can only get your brand so far... So what's a company to do if you can't just buy your way into building the brand you want? In a word: culture. At Zappos, our belief is that if Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 23, 2012
Yes, we all want engaged customers. Awesome products can create customer engagement (think: Apple). A unique customer experience can build customer engagement. But there's nothing quite like engaged, enthusiastic employees to inspire engagement among customers, particularly new customers or those on the fence. In other words, employee engagement--especially among customer-facing employees--is as important as customer engagement, because the former is often essential to the latter. Consider my recent experience with Nike. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | March 22, 2012
Loyal customers are an asset that companies need to look after. Just because someone loves your brand today doesn't mean he won't defect to a competitor if he finds a better deal. It is therefore essential for organizations to work hard to keep their clients enthusiastic about them. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 13, 2012
I've recently been following a discussion thread on LinkedIn on declining consumer sentiment about customer service along with the causes of this (e.g. lack of agent training). While there's no simple answer to this, here are a few points to ponder. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | March 9, 2012
Customers may seem high maintenance, but in fact their high expectations are warranted. Every penny counts in today's economy, so consumers worldwide have come to expect nothing but the best from the companies they choose to purchase from. They expect only the best possible customer experience available, and rightfully so, says Bruce Temkin, managing partner at Temkin Group. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 5, 2012
UK supermarket chain Tesco has always been afforded a reputation for providing a positive customer experience. But new competition, along with growing customer expectations, a down economy, and a lack of customer focus have taken its toll on the retailer. The company announced today that it would add 20,000 jobs over the next two years, boosting its workforce by 7 percent. Many of those jobs will be created in the customer service department. In these days of automation and cost Read more »
Guest Blogger: Curtis Bingham | February 23, 2012
CEOs and boards of directors often feel daunted when it comes time to hire a chief customer officer. The two main reasons: There is a lack of a standard definition of the roles and responsibilities of the CCO, and key characteristics of successful CCOs are still emerging. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | February 16, 2012
Making sure that customers are satisfied with their experience with a company is an essential part of any organization's job. However, it's also imperative to make sure that employees are happy, since they're the ones interacting with customers and can have an important impact on their experience. Read more »
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