2013 in Review: Customer Experience Grows Up?

2013 in Review: Customer Experience Grows Up?

We love a good theme, and 2013 seems to be the year that Customer Experience moved from passion to process. Not that passion for improving the customer experience diminished in any way, but that it grew up a little, and matured into the understanding that you can channel customer empathy — and improve the customer experience — with process-centric tools and thinking. Like much of what we do, it’s a discipline. And it takes training, some trial and error, and lots of practice, mentoring and feedback to get it right.

To add to the complexity? At the speed of change in 2013/2014 and beyond, the minute we get it right, the rules change. Daunting, but oh so much fun...we wouldn’t want it any other way!

And now, from each month of 2013, our top 12 tweets of the year...

1.) You can't be better without knowing what's wrong. http://bit.ly/199dmwt
A word for those on the frontlines of customer feedback…and a good reminder for getting the best out of your teams: Sincere debate and contrary opinions serve to put new ideas to the test. They bring silent supporters out of the closet in defense, force proponents to examine new sides and angles, and, if minds can be kept open and egos in check, generally serve to create better, stronger expressions of the idea. (And anonymous comment trolls? Ignore them.) (Tweet Score: 373)

2.) Oh right. The people. Do they really matter? http://linkd.in/16Yd5eP
Yes it’s an airline story, with all the attendant hilarity we’ve come to expect, but it’s also so much more. Most of the consulting we do helps organizations address the massive disconnect that can arise between an internal process and a customer’s experience. Are you guilty of designing customer-facing systems for “self-loading freight” instead of human beings? If you think your customers are baggage, as do most airlines, the experience will follow suit. (Tweet Score: 347)

3.) Touchpoint Insights | You Say Your Customers Are Satisfied? Uh-Oh http://ow.ly/hIQzh
How important is it to track customer satisfaction? If you're familiar with MCorp, you know our answer: Forget about it already. Instead, measure what counts.toward loyalty, defection rates, and share of wallet. This post presents a new perspective that may finally free us from our collective, faulty logic. (Tweet Score: 169)

4.) Reading: "Customer Experience Is Now The 5th Marketing 'P' ... And Other Top CMO Insights" http://onforb.es/15r8R0B
Get inside the heads of the marketing execs at Verizon, UPS and Hallmark with some CEX insights that you may have read here before: a growing bias towards transparency and authenticity; technology allowing for fluid adaptation to specific communities of interest; using data help your customers grow their businesses... And that’s just from the first question. (Tweet Score: 135)

5.) Touchpoint Insights | Ask, Listen, and Act: New Rules for Actionable Voice-of-the-Customer Research http://ow.ly/jJh8A
You might be surprised that the simple, logical rules we’re throwing down can be so hard to pull off. But in the corporate world, asking isn’t the same thing as hearing, and learning is a far cry from acting. (Tweet Score: 131)

6.) "The value of big data isn't the data. It's the narrative." http://ow.ly/kCc9C
Data is where things start…what you do with it is a whole other story. Literally. Whether you’re talking about “big data” or just “data” (we recommend reading the heated and on-target comments), true understanding comes from a blend of data and analysis with a human touch. (Tweet Score: 126)

7.) Customer Effort Score: So you've decided to improve your customer experience — now what?! http://ow.ly/ilmDU
First and foremost: “Treat the customer experience as a business discipline.” Just because we use words like “delight,” “engage,” and “wow” to describe a good customer experience, don’t be fooled into thinking it can’t be documented, quantified, tracked, and measured. And businesses that do so? “[We] are seeing anywhere from good to unbelievable results.” (Tweet Score: 119)

8.) CMOs: Build Digital Relationships or Die http://ow.ly/lK705
Disruptions in service? Bad. Disruptions to your digital customer experience? In all likelihood that’s not only good, it’s long overdue. Get busy building that digital bridge, and your brand…and customers…will thank you. A post that gets to the heart of what every reluctant CMO should be thinking about. (Tweet Score: 105)

9.) Do not make customers — any of them — search for good customer service. Fix it. Deliver it. Or watch them walk... http://onforb.es/19XIbGt
Should your customers really have to ‘game the system’ to get what they want? That’s not what we’d call a good service...nor an acceptable experience...but it’s all too common in our collective experience. (Tweet Score: 105)

10.) Reading: "13 Customer Experience Trends to Watch in 2013" http://ow.ly/gJWGN
As CX efforts gain maturity and move towards mastery, the Temkin Group predicts some interesting trends. We were going to pick out the most significant but they're all critical and dead-on. (Perhaps the biggest surprise was the ultra sensible, ultra old-school re-emergence of values, but it makes sense.) (Tweet Score: 95)

11.) Reading: "Why CEOs Must Become Customer Experience Evangelists" http://linkd.in/19C6Q1v
The good news: 97% of execs surveyed know that delivering great customer experiences is essential to their success. The bad? Only 63% have appropriate CX systems and processes in place. That’s a 34% lip-service gap, which is as good as a “kiss” of death. (Tweet Score: 94)

12.) A glowing testimonial from someone who isn't [technically] your customer... @dogvacay, you're doing it right. http://bit.ly/18q4vWx
We’re not just posting this because we happen to love dogs…and Dog Vacay for that matter…but because it’s such a brilliant example of Collaborative Consumption, and how innovative thinking doesn’t have to be high tech and out of reach to the average entrepreneur. Plus they saved Thanksgiving, so there’s that. (Tweet Score: 86)


We’ve gone mainstream folks! And by “we” I mean all of us CX disciples and formerly disruptive thinkers. Everything I could envision earlier this year has pretty much come to fruition in some form or other, and it may be time for Bruce Kasanoff and I to put our heads together to think about what disruption in 2015 might look like.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Today, even though #CX has gone mainstream, most organizations are still struggling to put a comprehensive Customer Experience plan into action, never mind disrupting their service models to provide exceptional experiences.

When the definition of success is an experience customized to the industry / company / micro-group / individual, and then further split by delivery platform, it’s easy to see how overwhelming the task can be. But we’re heartened to see business trying, using tools like Touchpoint Mapping, training their teams, examining themselves from an outside-in perspective, and putting theory into practice. These are exciting times to be in our business.

Enjoy your year in review. I know I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings.