Customers first, without compromise.

In December, the United States becomes a singularly purpose-driven culture. With a near disregard for religious preferences, practices, economic strata, ethnic background or geography, we get sucked…to varying degrees…into the holiday madness (or spirit, depending on your perspective). Some are on the fringes, others are smack in the center of the storm, but no one is immune.

And so, with a nod to December and Van Belleghem’s post #9, we dedicate this issue to a purpose-driven culture. Only in this case, it’s a culture of putting the customer first, understanding their expectations, and then at least meeting them, if not exceeding them. C’mon folks; let’s get out there and change the world.

1.) Do not make customers - any of them - search for good customer service. Fix it. Deliver it. Or watch them walk...
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)

2.) Reading: "The Top 7 Technology Trends That Will Dominate 2014" [Key word: #SMART.]
Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers points to anytime, anywhere, on-demand information and entertainment in his list of 2014 tech trends. For starters, you have to strap a “smart” in front of your product or service offering... (Tweet Score: 86)

3.) Touchpoint Insights | 5 Customer Experience Lessons from the Interactive Mirror
A glimpse into the future of shopping (aka disruptive technologies that can enhance your brand and customer experience), where hand gestures, smart screens and interactive content change customer expectations, wants and needs. For anyone who dreads the fitting room, it sounds like heaven. And oh so delightfully disruptive. (Tweet Score: 86)

4.) Reading: "It's Your Data - But Others Are Making Billions Off It"
“What are the ownable characteristics of your digitized life?” Not a question any of us would have posed five years ago, but much on our minds in this age of quickly fading privacy, cyber bullying, and government sanctioned citizen spying. A must read for everyone, whether we want to protect ourselves or learn how to gain a competitive advantage. (Tweet Score: 82)

5.) How Mountain Biking Explains The Painful Exhilaration Of Launching A Startup
A long, grueling, endless, treacherous climb up a steep mountain…punctuated by a short burst of exhilaration. Followed by another bone crunching climb, exhaustion, falls, scrapes, broken bones…yep, that’s startups in the 21st century. Not for the faint of heart, but addicting and rewarding if you know what you’re getting into. (Tweet Score: 80)

6.) "In attempting to avoid a controversy, Hallmark has apparently offended almost everyone."
Talk about a missed marketing opportunity! Instead of capitalizing on marrying the ever-popular holiday ugly sweater theme with a gay demographic, Hallmark instead fell flat on its face trying to dodge a socially conservative bullet. All over a sweater-shaped tree decoration...fa la la la fail. (Tweet Score: 77)

7.) Macro and micro perspectives on #CX need to interact coevally in order to be effective.
At MCorp we’ve seen client and customer pain surrounding disconnected digital touchpoints and customer channel isolation. Until every company gets an integrated strategy, there’s not going to be any easing of the pressure. The more our devices do? The more impatient we’ve probably noted that trend in yourself. Why would your customers be any different? (Tweet Score: 75)

8.) Reading: "Four Ways To Improve The Buyer Experience Starting Today"
Put your customer at the center of all you do, track their journey, map their touchpoints, remember their desires and actions, tear down those silos….if you’ve been reading us for any length of time you can recite these must-do strategies in your sleep, but read it again. Maybe hearing someone else say it will help it stick. (Tweet Score: 74)

9.) How successful companies reinvent their customer relationships...
What do Taco Bell, Quid,, Google, Evernote, Apple, BlueKai, LinkedIn, Disney, Stanford, Yammer, Yahoo, Microsoft, Starbucks and have in common? Read this very interesting roadtrip report and you’ll find out. (Tweet Score: 74)

10.) Remember the advice about having 2 ears and 1 mouth? Turns out to be good advice in business too.
“Smart Brands Know Consumers Control the Conversation.” We all know this, right? But don’t just throw up your hands and give up. First and foremost, improve, improve, improve the customer experience so that there’s less to complain and snark about online. Then get involved in the conversation, first as a listener, and then as a non-defensive, always positive participant. (Tweet Score: 73)

I’ve been thinking about customer expectations a lot lately.

Between the botched Portable Healthcare rollout, the debacle of Chicago’s CTA’s system change, and my own daily experiences as a consumer, I think about both how to meet them and how often businesses fail at it.

Our own new website rollout was a mini debacle, as I stood in front of a room of investors, only to find our massive, national web host had gone down — and would remain down — for the duration of my meeting. Things happen. But when they do? My expectation is to receive alerts, updates, acknowledgments, and even though it’s too late, maybe even an apology.

So as we rush around in the pursuit of thankfulness and merriment, let’s take a look at expectations: our own, and how to deliver on our customers’. It will be the gift that keeps on giving regardless of the season.