Get in touch with your feelings…and you’ll be better equipped to serve the needs of your customers.

As customer experience champions, we’re in a fast-changing business where rules are breaking faster than we can reach last-year’s goals: and when it’s not energizing, it’s exhausting.

We know that staying ahead of this curve can take a toll. And we’re here to help. A little. We’re hoping that this month’s smattering of aphorisms, “self-help” posts and simple logic can provide some small comfort, as well as a few insights.

So open your heart to complaints, and your mind to vision. Zen-out on conflict, take an extra minute to show you care and accompany your customers on a virtual journey. You may or may not feel any better, but at least your bottom line will feel some love.

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.) Reading: "Optimizing the Digital and Social Customer Experience" http://bit.ly/XEopKw
A marathon post about creating customer-centric and multi-channel views based on the customer journey. This is a clearinghouse of the concepts critical to those of us in the customer experience industry (formerly known as “marketers”). Particularly appreciate the reminder that companies are facilitators, and our customers could care less about our internal mechanics. (Tweet Score: 226)

3.) Faster is not better. Better is better. http://bit.ly/18PxNOY
#1 in customer importance? Solve the problem and you’ll save 70% of your customers. Layer that with speed…which we prefer to label competence…and you practically guarantee your customers will stick with you. Why “competence” vs “speed”? “Fast” can be accomplished with great rudeness, and we all know how long it takes us to forgive a snub. On the flipside, if showing a little care slows the interaction down by a minute or two, who among us would complain? (Tweet Score: 123)

4.) 89% of unhappy customers will simply take their business elsewhere. Focus on fixing what's wrong for the other 11%... http://bit.ly/YtoGy7
We lured you in with a stat, and now we ask you to get in touch with your inner self for a tune-up on dealing with customer conflicts. Who’s right has zero weight against a customer’s perception of the issue, so take a deep breath and start turning things around, without taking a toll on your psyche. (Tweet Score: 113)

5.) 5 Ways to Know What Your Customers Want Before They Do http://bit.ly/11oKhJD
If you’ve been reading our newsletter or following @MichaelHinshaw on Twitter for any length of time, you know this stuff already. But we loved the analogy of “stapling yourself to your customer’s order.” And the serious reminder to outsmart our human tendencies to listen for the problems we can solve, and not hear the ones we don’t fully understand. (Tweet Score: 108)

6.) Touchpoint Insights | Relevance (Not Just Orange) is the New Black http://bit.ly/18TTWf8
When the avalanche of how-to advice, checklists, and futuristic projection becomes too much in your journey to a better customer experience strategy, just take a step back and focus on the concept of relevance. Is it relevant to: what my customer has asked for? what my prospect may be looking for? what my employees need to give better service? the platform I’m using? the technology that’s being applied? So simple, and yet so…dare we say…relevant to our day-to-day work. (Tweet Score: 95)

7.) I dare your CEO to answer this question... http://bit.ly/18q5qXg
Dare your CEO, or maybe you’re a CEO yourself, in which case we dare you to post your philosophy in the comments. Also accompanied by an early September webcast discussing the very painful and personal issue of low job rates, and corporate slashing of personnel, even as, in some cases, profits soar. (Tweet Score: 85)

8.) What will your customers remember about you? http://onforb.es/18AaKHI
Have we exhorted you to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk lately? If your brand is your talk, then employee training, integration of brand values into the culture and incenting based on engagement is the walk. If finance-and-wealth-driven Forbes tells you that lack of engagement is expensive, will you believe it then? (Tweet Score: 84)

9.) Touchpoint Insights | In An Always Connected World, Touchpoints Need More Than A Fresh Coat Of Paint http://bit.ly/18wjQoO
As long as you’re already walking the walk (see above), can you also don your customers’ shoes? And know their destination? Benjamin Moore did, and they found out some interesting things that helped the relevance of their social media strategy. (Tweet Score: 81)

10.) "In order to enter a new era of growth, [your] leaders need to perceive the company differently." http://bit.ly/189cfP2
What did the Beatles know about biases and tunnel vision in business? Apparently, a lot. It’s a fast-changing world…and you’ve got to lay down (your preconceived notions) to keep up. “Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void, it is shining…Yet you may see the meaning of within, it is being….” Henry Ford and his insistence on all-black Model T is now rolling in his grave. (Tweet Score: 78)


The elephant in the room? It’s people.

From the mental shift it takes to actually look at your firm “from the outside in” to mapping the systems and processes that deliver experience, “fixing” customer experience is really hard work.

It doesn’t help that in almost every business, people in each silo (from marketing and finance to service, sales and HR) are doing their absolute best to deliver value to their customers and the organization.

But often times, the customers’ experience across these silos isn’t consistent. In their eyes, it feels “broken.” Which brings us to the two-legged elephant we started with; your people.

This is why “fixing” experience isn’t enough. Because if you don’t solve for the internal, cultural issues around re-alignment and reinventing entrenched systems, you’ll meet some pretty stiff headwinds.

So involve your people in the process upfront, and make them part of the solution. Your customers and your people will thank you - and your sailing will be much smoother.