Category Archives: Customer Experience

Frontier Airlines Ends Human-to-Human Customer Service

Frontier Airlines Ends Human-to-Human Customer Service

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

In a bold move to cut costs, Frontier Airlines announced that it would no longer offer human-to-human customer support. As a customer service expert, I was surprised at this move. I have waited to see the fallout, if any, and thought the company might backpedal and reinstate traditional phone support. After almost two months, it hasn’t returned to conventional customer support. The dust has settled a bit, and people (passengers and employees) are adjusting to the decision.

The decision to go digital is different from the decision Northwest Airlines (which eventually merged with Delta) made in 1999 to introduce online check-in to its passengers. The idea behind that technology, and eventually the technology driving online reservations, was to give the customer a better and more convenient experience while at the same time increasing efficiency. The big difference in that decision versus Frontier’s was that there has always been (and still is) an option to connect to a live agent. If passengers didn’t want to use the self-service tools the airline provided, they could still talk to someone who could help them.

That does not appear to be the case with Frontier. There is no other option. The airline is relying on digital support. If you check the website for ways to contact them outside of their self-service options on the site or mobile app, you can use chat, email or file a formal written complaint. Chat is in the moment, and can deliver a good experience—even if it’s AI doing the chatting (and not a human). Email or a written complaint could take too long to resolve an immediate problem, such as rebooking a flight for any last-minute reason.

For some background, Frontier Airlines is a low-cost carrier based in Denver. It has plenty of competition, and when you combine that with rising expenses in almost every area of business and a tough economy, Frontier, just like any other company in almost any industry, is looking to cut costs. In a recent Forbes article, I shared the prediction that some companies will make the mistake of cutting expenses in the wrong places. Those “wrong places” are anywhere the customer will notice. Cutting off phone support to a live human, just one of Frontier’s cost-cutting strategies, is one of those places the customer may notice first.

If a customer wants to change or cancel a flight, make a lost-luggage claim and more, if they have the information they need on hand and the system is intuitive and easy to navigate, the experience could be better than waiting on hold for a live agent. Our customer service research found that 71% of customers are willing to use self-service options. That said, the phone is still the No. 1 channel customers prefer to use when they have a problem, question or complaint.

Frontier’s decision to stop human-to-human customer support has generated controversy and criticism from customers/passengers and employees. The company’s management defends its decision, stating that they need to cut costs to remain competitive. They claim you can eventually reach a human, but their passengers will first have to exhaust the digital options. While self-service automated customer support may help the airline cut costs and increase efficiency, it obviously frustrates customers and negatively impacts employees.

The big concern is that 100% digital or self-service support is still too new. We are still a long way from technology completely replacing the human-to-human interactions we’re used to in the customer service and support worlds. Efficiency is important, but so is the relationship you maintain with your customers and employees. It takes a balance. The best companies figure this out.

Consider this: Video did not kill the radio star. ATMs were predicted to eliminate the need for bank tellers. And for the foreseeable future, technology will not kill live, human-to-human interactions. Frontier customers looking to save money will be forced to adapt to its new way of customer service. Knowing this upfront will help. But also consider this, something I’ve been preaching for several years: The greatest technology in the world hasn’t replaced the ultimate relationship-building tool between a customer and a business, and that is the human touch.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Today’s Customer Wants to Go Fast

Today's Customer Wants to Go Fast

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Customers don’t want to wait. Specifically, they don’t want you to waste their time. If you do make them wait, you risk losing them. Making your customers wait sends the message that you don’t respect them or their time.

Jay Baer, a customer experience and marketing expert, proves this in his latest study, The Time to Win, which measures the impact of speed and responsiveness on customer experience and loyalty.

Just how important is speed? Consider these findings from Baer’s report:

  • Two-thirds of customers say speed is as important as price.
  • More than half of the customers surveyed hired the first business to respond to their requests, even if it was more expensive.
  • Half of all customers will not wait more than three minutes in a store.

I had a chance to interview Baer on Amazing Business Radio, where he shared some important insights that should be considered. Here are six of my favorites, followed by my commentary:

  • Speed is the most important component of customer experience and the only one that never pauses or goes backward – Calling it the most important component of the customer experience is bold, but consider a key finding from the report: 50% of customers are less likely to spend money with a business that takes longer to respond than they expect. Baer says, “Customers’ expectations for speed and responsiveness escalate every year without fail.”
  • Everyone has the same amount of time, 1,440 minutes a day, and there is nothing we can do to get more – Time is the same for everyone. Nobody gets more than anyone else. It has nothing to do with being rich, poor, young or old. And once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Starting with that premise, business leaders should ask themselves, “What can we do to make sure we’re not to blame for wasting our customers’ time?”
  • Age makes a difference – In our interview, I was surprised when Baer shared the generations that were most and least patient. I would have thought Baby Boomers (the older generation) would have been more patient, but I was wrong. Gen-Z is the most patient generation. Boomers are the least patient. The point is to know your customers. Who do you cater to? Understand the demographics and improve your response time accordingly.
  • The first company that responds to a customer has an incredible advantage – If your company is the first to respond, you could win the customer’s business, regardless of price. Specifically, 53% of consumers hired the first business that responded to them. Customers want to make decisions and move on. If you give them what they want, they can skip the hassle and time of comparing all the competition.
  • Fast response impacts your bottom line – Just as customer service and convenience make price less relevant, so does quick response or fast service. The research found that customers would pay an average of 19% more for “always immediate service,” which includes no waiting in line, not waiting on hold, etc. In other words, customers put a premium on speed. It’s about convenience. Furthermore, 27% of customers are more likely to spend money when the brand responds faster than expected.
  • Right now is not really right now – As customers’ expectations and their need for speed increase, the concept of “right now” can seem daunting. According to Baer, the concept of “right now” is the optimal amount of elapsed time in every customer interaction throughout the entire customer journey. If that sounds technical, here’s a simpler way of putting it: “Right now” is simply slightly faster than the customer expected.

With only 1,440 minutes available each day, customers want to devote as few minutes as possible to waiting, as Baer’s research proves. This is so important that people will pay more for it. The security lines in airports are perfect examples of this. If you’ve taken a flight in a major U.S. airport, you’ll notice three lines to get through security. The TSA security line is for most passengers. This is free. Then there is TSA PreCheck. For a small investment of $78 (which covers you for five years), you can get pre-qualified to use a shorter line where you don’t have to take your computer out of your bag, take off your shoes, and more. And for a bit more money, you can sign up for CLEAR, which allows you to jump to the front of the TSA lines.

Baer’s research makes an important point. If you want a competitive edge in business, respect your customer’s time. Don’t make them wait. Respond quickly to their questions, requests, and problems. Find ways to incorporate speed into your customer experience and you’ll reap the benefits of returning customers who spend more and say, “I’ll be back!”

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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10 Ways to Rock the Customer Experience In 2023

10 Ways to Rock the Customer Experience In 2023

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

As of today, 2022 is behind us. It was quite a year. Some businesses are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, and then came employment issues, supply-chain problems and a shaky economy. All that makes for a company’s leaders having to use every skill they ever learned in their careers.

Our CX research indicated that 2022 was worse for customer service than the prior year. So we don’t continue that trend in 2023, I’ve created a list of tactics to help you. And while these may seem basic, they are essential to your organization’s success. With that in mind, here are ten ways that you can rock the customer experience in 2023:

1. Manage First and Last Impressions

There may not be anything more basic than this. Start with a strong first impression—and not just the first time a customer interacts with you. It could be the 500th time. First impressions set the tone for whatever is to follow, be it the first interaction or the 500th. As for last impressions, be sure to end strong. Last impressions create lasting impressions.

2. Give Back

Customers gravitate toward companies and brands that give back. Forty-five percent of the customers we surveyed in our annual customer experience research said that a company that gives back to the community or stands for a social cause is important to them. That’s almost half of your customers.

3. Be Customer-Focused

My definition of customer-focused is more than just delivering a good customer service experience. In addition to paying attention to customer service and CX, every decision you make keeps the customer in mind. Even if you are considering a change that will negatively impact the customer, you think it through, understand the ramifications and strategize how to overcome or handle the decision’s impact.

4. Empower Your Employees

If you want to keep your best employees and want them to take care of your customers, you need to hire good people, train them to do their job and then let them do it. Customers become frustrated when they encounter employees who aren’t able to make smart decisions. By the way, employees become frustrated as well, and that’s not good for the culture.

5. Practice Proactive Customer Service

This how you create customer confidence. Reach out to them proactively if you know of a problem. For example, the cable company that reaches out to its customers to let them know about an outage before they turn on their TV or computer. Or the retailer that emails, texts or calls a customer to let them know their purchase is delayed. While nobody likes bad news, knowing in advance gives the customer a sense of control and knowledge that the company is working on the problem.

6. Make It Personal

Find ways to personalize the experience. Customers like to be recognized and remembered. Make your customers feel as if you know them.

7. Have an Abundance Mindset, Especially When It Comes to Time

Zig Ziglar used to say, “You will get all you want in life if you help other people get what they want.” In this case, help customers get the most out of their experience with you and your products. That may mean spending a little more time selling, supporting and relationship-building with your customers. One of the big “loyalty killers” in business is when employees rush a customer to get to the next customer. Customers know it, feel it and don’t like it. An extra minute or two can be the difference between a customer coming back—or not.

8. Be Convenient

Eliminate anything (or at least as much as you can) that causes friction. Don’t make customers wait, don’t make them go through extra steps or do anything that is in the least bit inconvenient. Seventy percent of the customers we surveyed said they would pay more for convenience, and 68% said a convenient experience alone will make them come back.

9. Practice the “Employee Golden Rule”

My Employee Golden Rule goes like this: Do unto employees as you want done unto your customers. In other words, treat the people you work with as well (if not better) than your customers. That sets the tone from the inside and is felt by the customer on the outside.

10. Be Helpful

Ace Hardware is known as “The Helpful Hardware Place.” That’s their secret sauce. It separates them from their direct competitors (Home Depot, Menards, Walmart, etc.). I was interviewing an Ace executive for one of my customer service books, and he said, “Our competition has friendly customer service. So do we, but we also provide helpful service.” Think about how to help your customers be more successful when they buy whatever it is you sell.

BONUS: Show Appreciation

Don’t ever forget to say, “Thank you.” It doesn’t matter if it’s in person, on the phone, a text or an old-fashioned, hand-written note. Customers must always know you appreciate them for their business.

Some of these ideas may seem basic—even common sense. Maybe they are, but they are also essential to delivering the experience that gets customers to say, “I’ll be back!”

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Customer Experience versus Customer Service

Customer Experience versus Customer Service

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

As I talk to people about their experiences with the companies and brands they do business with, they often use the terms customer service and customer experience interchangeably. Are they confused? Do they not know the difference? Maybe, maybe not. And in the end, it doesn’t matter. They don’t care, and neither should you.

All you should worry about is giving them the experience they want, expect and deserve – regardless of what your customers call it.

Here are some of the different definitions the public gives to customer service:

  • Customer service is a group of people who help me when I have a problem or a complaint.
  • Customer service is the way people treat me.
  • Customer service is a friendly experience.
  • Customer service is easy and convenient.

And every once in a while, someone will use the words customer experience to describe the same. I’ve heard many other definitions of customer service and customer experience. The idea here is that customers have their definitions, and yours doesn’t matter. However, and this is important, regardless of how they define customer service or customer experience, the outcome needs to be the same: the customer always wants to be happy.

Now the word happy is my word. Customers will say they want to be happy, delighted, satisfied, pleased, and more. What drives all of that is an experience that might include friendly, knowledgeable employees, excellent customer support when there’s a problem, a simple, convenient experience, not having to wait, fast response times, employees who have empathy when it’s needed, and more. The list can get quite long, and it’s different for different types of businesses. Depending on your business, you may include something that other businesses might not.

In the end, does it really matter what customers call their experience? And does it really matter what we call it? The answer, as I’ve already mentioned, is no. What is important is that the company has every employee in alignment with what they want the customer to experience. It’s about the outcome. Whatever words we use internally, be it customer service, customer experience, or any other term that describes the outcome and process we want to create for the customer, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we create the experience that meets our customers’ expectations, makes them happy, and gets them to say, “I’ll be back.”

Image Credit: Unsplash

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23 Ways in 2023 to Create Amazing Experiences

23 Ways in 2023 to Create Amazing Experiences

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Happy New Year! I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, which are often broken. Instead, I like setting and resetting my goals for the year, and in my world, those goals focus on delivering an amazing customer service experience. So, I’ve created a list of simple ways to deliver the experience that everyone wants. Here are twenty-three ways to help you and your teams provide an amazing customer experience in 2023.

  1. Manage the first impression. It sets the tone for what’s to follow.
  2. Manage last impressions. They create lasting impressions.
  3. Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Customers want to work with people who “know their stuff.”
  4. Make the customer feel like a person. Customers are not a sale, an account number, a prospect, etc. They are people.
  5. Respond quickly to calls and emails. Fast response time creates confidence.
  6. Don’t make customers wait on hold. Making customers wait for unreasonable amounts of time is a sign of disrespect.
  7. Be nice and show empathy. Create a warm human-to-human experience.
  8. Be available. How easy are you to reach? And if you’re not available, go back and read No. 5 again.
  9. Treat employees the way you want customers to be treated. How employees are treated will be felt on the outside by customers.
  10. Eliminate friction. If there is anything in the process of doing business with you that’s hard on the customer, find a way to eliminate or mitigate it.
  11. Act like a leader. My friend Mark Sanborn says, “You don’t need a title to be a leader.” Be the person everyone admires and wants to emulate.
  12. Always be polite. Say please and thank you. It shows you respect and appreciate your customers.
  13. Be proactive. If you know there’s a problem, let the customer know before they call you. Any form of proactive communication is always appreciated.
  14. Have an abundance mindset. Be generous – and don’t keep score. Zig Ziglar used to say, “You will get all you want in life if you help other people get what they want.”
  15. Give customers the gift of your time. An extra few minutes with a customer goes a long way in building a relationship.
  16. Give back to your community or contribute to a cause. Besides being a nice thing to do, customers gravitate to companies that “give back.”
  17. Have a “helpful” mindset. What can you do to help your customers be more successful?
  18. Don’t make excuses when problems arise. Instead, think in terms of explanations. Excuses show weakness. Explanations are reasons that can be followed up with how you plan to fix the problem.
  19. Be flexible. Excellent customer service lies in flexibility. Rules should be guidelines.
  20. Avoid phrases customers hate, such as, “It’s not my department,” or, “That’s our company policy.” I refer to these as loyalty killers.
  21. Train and empower your employees. If you have good people and train them well, let them do their job. Customers love working with empowered employees.
  22. Be customer focused. That means that every decision you make keeps the customer in mind. That doesn’t mean every decision will make the customer happy, such as a price increase, but at least you’ve considered the impact or result of your decisions.
  23. Express appreciation. Say, “Thank you!” Depending on how your customers like to communicate, it could be in person, on the phone, in an email, a text or an old-fashioned hand-written note.

As you look at this list, you’ll see nothing complicated. The ideas may seem rather basic. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity. These are precisely the strategies and tactics that will make your customers say, “I’ll be back!”

Again, Happy New Year, and may 2023 be your best year yet – and each year better than the last!

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022

Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022

2021 marked the re-birth of my original Blogging Innovation blog as a new blog called Human-Centered Change and Innovation.

Many of you may know that Blogging Innovation grew into the world’s most popular global innovation community before being re-branded as InnovationExcellence.com and being ultimately sold to DisruptorLeague.com.

Thanks to an outpouring of support I’ve ignited the fuse of this new multiple author blog around the topics of human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design.

I feel blessed that the global innovation and change professional communities have responded with a growing roster of contributing authors and more than 17,000 newsletter subscribers.

To celebrate we’ve pulled together the Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022 from our archive of over 1,000 articles on these topics.

We do some other rankings too.

We just published the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022 and as the volume of this blog has grown we have brought back our monthly article ranking to complement this annual one.

But enough delay, here are the 100 most popular innovation and transformation posts of 2022.

Did your favorite make the cut?

1. A Guide to Organizing Innovation – by Jesse Nieminen

2. The Education Business Model Canvas – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

3. 50 Cognitive Biases Reference – Free Download – by Braden Kelley

4. Why Innovation Heroes Indicate a Dysfunctional Organization – by Steve Blank

5. The One Movie All Electric Car Designers Should Watch – by Braden Kelley

6. Don’t Forget to Innovate the Customer Experience – by Braden Kelley

7. What Latest Research Reveals About Innovation Management Software – by Jesse Nieminen

8. Is Now the Time to Finally End Our Culture of Disposability? – by Braden Kelley

9. Free Innovation Maturity Assessment – by Braden Kelley

10. Cognitive Bandwidth – Staying Innovative in ‘Interesting’ Times – by Pete Foley

11. Is Digital Different? – by John Bessant

12. Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021 – Curated by Braden Kelley

13. Can We Innovate Like Elon Musk? – by Pete Foley

14. Why Amazon Wants to Sell You Robots – by Shep Hyken

15. Free Human-Centered Change Tools – by Braden Kelley

16. What is Human-Centered Change? – by Braden Kelley

17. Not Invented Here – by John Bessant

18. Top Five Reasons Customers Don’t Return – by Shep Hyken

19. Visual Project Charter™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) and JPG for Online Whiteboarding – by Braden Kelley

20. Nine Innovation Roles – by Braden Kelley

21. How Consensus Kills Innovation – by Greg Satell

22. Why So Much Innoflation? – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

23. ACMP Standard for Change Management® Visualization – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – Association of Change Management Professionals – by Braden Kelley

24. 12 Reasons to Write Your Own Letter of Recommendation – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

25. The Five Keys to Successful Change – by Braden Kelley

26. Innovation Theater – How to Fake It ‘Till You Make It – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

27. Five Immutable Laws of Change – by Greg Satell

28. How to Free Ourselves of Conspiracy Theories – by Greg Satell

29. An Innovation Action Plan for the New CTO – by Steve Blank

30. How to Write a Failure Resume – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.


Build a common language of innovation on your team


31. Entrepreneurs Must Think Like a Change Leader – by Braden Kelley

32. No Regret Decisions: The First Steps of Leading through Hyper-Change – by Phil Buckley

33. Parallels Between the 1920’s and Today Are Frightening – by Greg Satell

34. Technology Not Always the Key to Innovation – by Braden Kelley

35. The Era of Moving Fast and Breaking Things is Over – by Greg Satell

36. A Startup’s Guide to Marketing Communications – by Steve Blank

37. You Must Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable – by Janet Sernack

38. Four Key Attributes of Transformational Leaders – by Greg Satell

39. We Were Wrong About What Drove the 21st Century – by Greg Satell

40. Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire – by Braden Kelley

41. Now is the Time to Design Cost Out of Our Products – by Mike Shipulski

42. Why Good Ideas Fail – by Greg Satell

43. Five Myths That Kill Change and Transformation – by Greg Satell

44. 600 Free Innovation, Transformation and Design Quote Slides – Curated by Braden Kelley

45. FutureHacking – by Braden Kelley

46. Innovation Requires Constraints – by Greg Satell

47. The Experiment Canvas™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – by Braden Kelley

48. The Pyramid of Results, Motivation and Ability – by Braden Kelley

49. Four Paradigm Shifts Defining Our Next Decade – by Greg Satell

50. Why Most Corporate Mindset Programs Are a Waste of Time – by Alain Thys


Accelerate your change and transformation success


51. Impact of Cultural Differences on Innovation – by Jesse Nieminen

52. 600+ Downloadable Quote Posters – Curated by Braden Kelley

53. The Four Secrets of Innovation Implementation – by Shilpi Kumar

54. What Entrepreneurship Education Really Teaches Us – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

55. Reset and Reconnect in a Chaotic World – by Janet Sernack

56. You Can’t Innovate Without This One Thing – by Robyn Bolton

57. Why Change Must Be Built on Common Ground – by Greg Satell

58. Four Innovation Ecosystem Building Blocks – by Greg Satell

59. Problem Seeking 101 – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

60. Taking Personal Responsibility – Back to Leadership Basics – by Janet Sernack

61. The Lost Tribe of Medicine – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

62. Invest Yourself in All That You Do – by Douglas Ferguson

63. Bureaucracy and Politics versus Innovation – by Braden Kelley

64. Dare to Think Differently – by Janet Sernack

65. Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Reality – by Braden Kelley

66. Innovation vs. Invention vs. Creativity – by Braden Kelley

67. Building a Learn It All Culture – by Braden Kelley

68. Real Change Requires a Majority – by Greg Satell

69. Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit – by Braden Kelley

70. Silicon Valley Has Become a Doomsday Machine – by Greg Satell

71. Three Steps to Digital and AI Transformation – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

72. We need MD/MBEs not MD/MBAs – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

73. What You Must Know Before Leading a Design Thinking Workshop – by Douglas Ferguson

74. New Skills Needed for a New Era of Innovation – by Greg Satell

75. The Leader’s Guide to Making Innovation Happen – by Jesse Nieminen

76. Marriott’s Approach to Customer Service – by Shep Hyken

77. Flaws in the Crawl Walk Run Methodology – by Braden Kelley

78. Disrupt Yourself, Your Team and Your Organization – by Janet Sernack

79. Why Stupid Questions Are Important to Innovation – by Greg Satell

80. Breaking the Iceberg of Company Culture – by Douglas Ferguson


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81. A Brave Post-Coronavirus New World – by Greg Satell

82. What Can Leaders Do to Have More Innovative Teams? – by Diana Porumboiu

83. Mentors Advise and Sponsors Invest – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

84. Increasing Organizational Agility – by Braden Kelley

85. Should You Have a Department of Artificial Intelligence? – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

86. This 9-Box Grid Can Help Grow Your Best Future Talent – by Soren Kaplan

87. Creating Employee Connection Innovations in the HR, People & Culture Space – by Chris Rollins

88. Developing 21st-Century Leader and Team Superpowers – by Janet Sernack

89. Accelerate Your Mission – by Brian Miller

90. How the Customer in 9C Saved Continental Airlines from Bankruptcy – by Howard Tiersky

91. How to Effectively Manage Remotely – by Douglas Ferguson

92. Leading a Culture of Innovation from Any Seat – by Patricia Salamone

93. Bring Newness to Corporate Learning with Gamification – by Janet Sernack

94. Selling to Generation Z – by Shep Hyken

95. Importance of Measuring Your Organization’s Innovation Maturity – by Braden Kelley

96. Innovation Champions and Pilot Partners from Outside In – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

97. Transformation Insights – by Bruce Fairley

98. Teaching Old Fish New Tricks – by Braden Kelley

99. Innovating Through Adversity and Constraints – by Janet Sernack

100. It is Easier to Change People than to Change People – by Annette Franz

Curious which article just missed the cut? Well, here it is just for fun:

101. Chance to Help Make Futurism and Foresight Accessible – by Braden Kelley

These are the Top 100 innovation and transformation articles of 2022 based on the number of page views. If your favorite Human-Centered Change & Innovation article didn’t make the cut, then send a tweet to @innovate and maybe we’ll consider doing a People’s Choice List for 2022.

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 1-6 new articles every week focused on human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook feed or on Twitter or LinkedIn too!

Editor’s Note: Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all the innovation & transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have a valuable insight to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, contact us.

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Voting Closed for the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022

Voting Closed for the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022CLICK HERE TO SEE WHO HAS BEEN NOMINATED

For more than a decade I’ve devoted myself to making innovation insights accessible for the greater good, because I truly believe that the better our organizations get at delivering value to their stakeholders the less waste of natural resources and human resources there will be.

As a result, we are eternally grateful to all of you out there who take the time to create and share great innovation articles, presentations, white papers, and videos with Braden Kelley and the Human-Centered Change and Innovation team. As a small thank you to those of you who follow along, we like to make a list of the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers available each year!

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHO HAS BEEN NOMINATED

Our lists from the ten previous years have been tremendously popular, including:

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2015
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2016
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2017
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2018
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2019
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021

Do you just have someone that you like to read that writes about innovation, or some of the important adjacencies – trends, consumer psychology, change, leadership, strategy, behavioral economics, collaboration, or design thinking?

Human-Centered Change and Innovation is now looking to recognize the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022.

It is time to vote and help us narrow things down.

The deadline for submitting votes is December 31, 2022 at midnight GMT.

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHO HAS BEEN NOMINATED

Build a Common Language of Innovation on your team

The ranking will be done by me with influence from votes and nominations. The quality and quantity of contributions to this web site by an author will be a BIG contributing factor (through the end of the voting period).

You can vote in any of these three ways (and each earns points for them, so please feel free to vote all three ways):

  1. Sending us the name of the blogger by @reply on twitter to @innovate
  2. Adding the name of the blogger as a comment to this article’s posting on Facebook
  3. Adding the name of the blogger as a comment to this article’s posting on our Linkedin Page (Be sure and follow us)

The official Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022 will then be announced here in early January 2023.

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHO HAS BEEN NOMINATED

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Ten CX and Customer Service Predictions for 2023 – Part Two

Ten CX and Customer Service for 2023 – Part Two

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Last week I shared the first five of ten business predictions and trends for 2023. Here the remaining five (plus a bonus). As you look at these predictions, think about how they might impact your company. For example, if self-service customer service options are more popular than ever (No. 7), is your company or brand offering them to your customers?

6. Customer Support on the Phone Is Not Dead

Even with all the self-service solutions becoming more popular, the phone will continue to reign as the most popular way for customers to connect with customer support. Our customer service research (sponsored by Amazon AWS) confirms this as 87% of Baby Boomers (who make up just over 21% of the population of the U.S.) prefer the phone to any other channel, keeping traditional phone support as the No. 1 way customers choose to get their questions answered and their complaints resolved.

7. Self-Service Is More Popular than Ever

Even though the phone continues to be the most popular channel for customers to have their questions and complaints addressed, self-service options are becoming more and more appealing. Just as Boomers drive the phone, the younger generations—Gen-Z and Millennials—are proving that an investment in self-service channels, such as a robust knowledgebase on a website, video tutorials, chatbots and more, is an up-and-coming trend.

8. More Companies and Brands Will Stand for Something Important

Here’s more vital research to consider. Forty-five percent of your customers value a company that supports a social cause that’s important to them, and only 20% feel that a cause is not important enough to sway their buying decision. It’s especially true for Gen-Z and Millennials. Causes can range from climate change to sustainability, local community and charity events, and good old-fashioned values. You’ll start seeing more companies and brands participating in causes that are important to them and their customers. Our customer experience research found that customers are drawn to companies that “give back.”

9. Customers Want to Do Business with Companies and Brands They Can Trust

The old expression says it all. Customers want to do business with people and companies they know, like and trust. The knowing and liking are easy. Trust is harder. It’s an emotional connection between the customer and the company. Customers must know something will absolutely happen, that their experience will always be great and that the company has their best interests in mind. Eighty-one percent of more than 1,000 consumers we surveyed said a great customer experience increases trust. Start with the experience. Work to create an experience that instills confidence and will positively impact your bottom line.

10. The Customer Support Department Becomes the Revenue Generation Department

There have been numerous discussions and debates over the years about the investment into a customer support system. For many years, the department and processes that handle customers’ questions and complaints were seen as a cost. As the importance of customer service continues to grow, leaders are recognizing the revenue generated from the front line that handles customers’ problems and issues. I’ve gone as far as suggesting to clients that they stop referring to this group as the customer support department, but instead call it the revenue generation department. If it is the job of sales and marketing to bring in customers, it is the job of the people who have direct contact with the customer, especially after the sale, to maintain and nurture them for future business. A problem handled well gives the customer confidence to want to come back. When they do, they spend more. Eventually, they may even become loyal. As companies realize this, they will start investing more into the department and process traditionally known as customer support.

BONUS: Robots Will Not Replace People

In our research, we asked more than 1,000 consumers if they thought in the next ten years, robots would start to replace humans in customer service roles. Sixty-four percent said yes. Here’s my prediction. Robots won’t replace humans—at least not 100%. We are already seeing chatbots, voice recognition software, AI-infused conversations (with the computer) and other digital technologies becoming more capable, and therefore more popular. However, they won’t replace customer support agents and frontline employees. What they will do is make their jobs easier. Currently, AI and digital support are really good for basic questions and simple problems. While they will improve, we’ll still need human-to-human interactions when necessary. Certain businesses will excel in the adoption of high-end robotic and AI-infused technologies, but we’re a long way away from computers and robots replacing people. A few years ago I came up with a quote that still holds true today, and I believe will hold true ten years from now: The greatest technology in the world hasn’t replaced the ultimate relationship building tool between a customer and a business: the human touch.

If I had to sum up my predictions for the future of customer service and CX, I might use another old saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yes, you need to provide your customers with modern convenience and technology that they have come to expect and rely on, but the basics are basics for a reason. Customers will always want to be treated well, be treated like individuals, and feel a real human connection.

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Shep Hyken

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Voting Closed – Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022

Vote for Top 40 Innovation BloggersFor more than a decade I’ve devoted myself to making innovation insights accessible for the greater good, because I truly believe that the better our organizations get at delivering value to their stakeholders the less waste of natural resources and human resources there will be.

As a result, we are eternally grateful to all of you out there who take the time to create and share great innovation articles, presentations, white papers, and videos with Braden Kelley and the Human-Centered Change and Innovation team. As a small thank you to those of you who follow along, we like to make a list of the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers available each year!

Our lists from the ten previous years have been tremendously popular, including:

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2015
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2016
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2017
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2018
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2019
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021

Do you just have someone that you like to read that writes about innovation, or some of the important adjacencies – trends, consumer psychology, change, leadership, strategy, behavioral economics, collaboration, or design thinking?

Human-Centered Change and Innovation is now looking to recognize the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022.

It is time to vote and help us narrow things down.

The deadline for submitting votes is December 31, 2022 at midnight GMT.

Build a Common Language of Innovation on your team

The ranking will be done by me with influence from votes and nominations. The quality and quantity of contributions to this web site by an author will be a BIG contributing factor (through the end of the voting period).

You can vote in any of these three ways (and each earns points for them, so please feel free to vote all three ways):

  1. Sending us the name of the blogger by @reply on twitter to @innovate
  2. Adding the name of the blogger as a comment to this article’s posting on Facebook
  3. Adding the name of the blogger as a comment to this article’s posting on our Linkedin Page (Be sure and follow us)

The official Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022 will then be announced here in early January 2023.

Here are the people who received nominations this year along with some carryover recommendations (in alphabetical order):

Adi Gaskell – @adigaskell
Alain Thys
Alex Goryachev
Andy Heikkila – @AndyO_TheHammer
Annette Franz
Arlen Meyers – @sopeofficial
Art Inteligencia
Braden Kelley – @innovate
Brian Miller
Bruce Fairley
Chad McAllister – @ChadMcAllister
Chris Beswick
Chris Rollins
Dr. Detlef Reis
Dainora Jociute
Dan Blacharski – @Dan_Blacharski
Daniel Burrus – @DanielBurrus
Daniel Lock
David Burkus
Dean and Linda Anderson
Diana Porumboiu
Douglas Ferguson
Drew Boyd – @DrewBoyd
Farnham Street
Frank Mattes – @FrankMattes
Geoffrey A Moore
Gregg Fraley – @greggfraley
Greg Satell – @Digitaltonto
Helen Yu
Howard Tiersky
Janet Sernack – @JanetSernack
Jeffrey Baumgartner – @creativejeffrey
Jeff Freedman – @SmallArmyAgency
Jeffrey Phillips – @ovoinnovation
Jesse Nieminen – @nieminenjesse
John Bessant
Jorge Barba – @JorgeBarba
Julian Birkinshaw – @JBirkinshaw
Julie Anixter – @julieanixter
Kate Hammer – @Kate_Hammer
Kevin McFarthing – @InnovationFixer
Lou Killeffer – @LKilleffer
Manuel Berdoy

Accelerate your change and transformation success

Mari Anixter- @MariAnixter
Maria Paula Oliveira – @mpaulaoliveira
Matthew E May – @MatthewEMay
Michael Graber – @SouthernGrowth
Mike Brown – @Brainzooming
Mike Shipulski – @MikeShipulski
Mukesh Gupta
Nick Partridge – @KnewNewNeu
Nicolas Bry – @NicoBry
Nicholas Longrich
Norbert Majerus and George Taninecz
Pamela Soin
Patricia Salamone
Paul Hobcraft – @Paul4innovating
Paul Sloane – @paulsloane
Pete Foley – @foley_pete
Ralph Christian Ohr – @ralph_ohr
Randy Pennington
Richard Haasnoot – @Innovate2Grow
Robert B Tucker – @RobertBTucker
Robyn Bolton – @rm_bolton
Saul Kaplan – @skap5
Shep Hyken – @hyken
Shilpi Kumar
Scott Anthony – @ScottDAnthony
Scott Bowden – @scottbowden51
Shelly Greenway – @ChiefDistiller
Soren Kaplan – @SorenKaplan
Stefan Lindegaard – @Lindegaard
Stephen Shapiro – @stephenshapiro
Steve Blank
Steven Forth – @StevenForth
Tamara Kleinberg – @LaunchStreet
Teresa Spangler – @composerspang
Tim Stroh
Tom Koulopoulos – @TKspeaks
Tom Stafford
Yoram Solomon – @yoram

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We’re curious to see who you think is worth reading!

Ten CX and Customer Service Predictions for 2023 – Part One

Ten CX and Customer Service for 2023 - Part One

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

We are in a strange time. For the past two and a half years, we have experienced one hurdle after another. It started with the pandemic, moved into supply-chain problems that merged with employment issues, and to top it all off, we’re experiencing a rough economy. While the difficulties hit some industries harder than others, every company or brand has had to show a level of nimbleness and flexibility to stay ahead, if not just stay in business. Some companies figured it out, and some are still finding their way. Regardless, the following predictions could give you some food for thought in how to navigate the next year and beyond.

1. Customers Will Be Smarter and More Demanding Than Ever

Each year, I start the list with a similar prediction. It seems that our customers are smarter than ever when it comes to customer service and experience. They are getting the type of experience they want from certain companies and brands, and then they expect it from just about anyone they do business with. All of our customers, regardless of our type of business (B2B, B2C, B2B2C) are consumers. Certain B2C rockstar brands are teaching our customers what good service is like, and it’s become the expectation (and hope) of every customer that they will get a similar experience from any type of business.

2. Companies Will Focus as Much – Maybe More – on Employees Than They Do on Customers

What has been termed The Great Resignation wasn’t so much about employees quitting work to retire. They were quitting to move to better jobs. Companies that haven’t been employee-focused have struggled to keep some of their best people. Just as you work to attract and keep your best customers, you want to do the same with your employees. The cost of turnover, hiring and training can be far greater than an increase in salary and benefits. And don’t forget the appreciation factor. Just as you appreciate your customers, you should appreciate your employees. And a powerful byproduct of this effort is the customer experience. What’s happening on the inside of a company is felt on the outside by the customer.

3. Customers’ Expectations of the ‘Basics’ Continue to Rise

The basics of a good customer experience are really simple. Customers want employees who are kind and helpful. They want to easily reach the right customer support person. They expect employees to be knowledgeable about the company’s products and services. They want faster customer support responses from email, messages or text. Yes, these are the basics and they seem so simple, but that doesn’t mean they are easy to execute consistently. Our customer service research (sponsored by Amazon) found that year over year, customers’ expectations of these basics increased. The research also found that 49% of customers had more bad customer service experiences in the past year compared to the year before. Going back to Prediction No. 1, it’s the rockstar companies and brands that are setting the right example and raising the bar—and thereby raising customers’ expectations. The message is clear. Focus on the basics. They are the foundation of your customer service and CX strategies.

4. Personalization Gets More Personal

Up until recently, personalization had been used just to segment customers into several personas. Today, customers are experiencing hyper-personalization, treating them as individuals versus part of a larger group in a company’s database. Perhaps a better term for personalization would be individualization. In our customer service research, 74% of customers we surveyed said a personalized experience is important. A personal or individualized experience will endear the customer to the company, creating a greater chance of repeat business and even customer loyalty.

5. Some Companies Will Make the Mistake of Cutting Expenses in the Wrong Place

As many companies experience the pressures of the economy (and supply chain delays and employee issues), they will begin to make changes. Customers are spending less, and costs are going up. That’s not a good formula but it’s what we are forced to work with, and the result is companies being more careful about how they spend money. As this applies to customer experience, companies will be looking for places to cut costs and save money. The big mistake is if they cut in the areas of customer service and experience, leaving them vulnerable to competition and taking away their market share. Unfortunately, if history repeats itself, and I predict it will, many companies and brands will make this mistake. Hopefully, your company isn’t one of them. One of the worst places to cut is anywhere the customer will notice.

Well, that’s the first five of my ten predictions for 2023. Come back for the remaining five predictions next week.

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Pixabay

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