Tag Archives: Customer Experience

Overcoming the Top 3 Barriers to Customer-Centricity

Overcoming the Top 3 Barriers to Customer-Centricity

GUEST POST from Alain Thys

I just finished a presentation for the leadership team of a European travel company that wanted to better understand the barriers they would face on their journey to true customer-centricity. And what they could do about it. 

It was a good excuse to give a 2022 update to some of my older thinking on the topic. And while I can’t really share the presentation, I’m including as summary of the Top 3 barriers below. In case you find them of interest. 

BARRIER #1: Lack of Clarity

Everyone wants to be customer centric, but no one explains what that means in practice. Not just to agree on what a great customer experience looks like. But also to think through its implications for the business. 

What changes does Aïsha need to plan in her logistics department? What return can shareholders expect for investing in ‘happy faces’? What new developments do distributors and ecosystem partners need to plan for? And are any of these implications realistic within available timelines and budgets?

Without this clarity, everyone will interpret ‘being customer-centric’ in its own way, so initiatives will go in a thousand directions. Or simply grind to a halt because of an operational or financial disconnect.

Either way, with the best of intentions, the only certainty is that customers will have a variable experience depending on the touchpoint, person or time of day. 

Overcoming the Barrier: Clearly describe your customer experience. What are you promising? How will you make it happen? And what does it mean for each of your internal and external stakeholders? And before you hit the ‘start’ button, check whether all of your ideas are realistic.

BARRIER #2: Lack of Empathy

Whenever a leadership team embraces customer-centricity, the buzzwords and targets start flying around. Metrics like Net Promoter, customer ease or new kid on the block TLM appear in PowerPoint decks and we focus everything on driving the numbers.

But as management teams get excited, those around them care a lot less. Employees prefer meaningful work and decent salaries over KPIs. Shareholders may not see why they should sacrifice short-term profit for customer smiles. Distribution and ecosystem partners have got their hands full in running their own business.

The result is that strategies are implemented because you say so as a leader. This compliance often works in the short-term. But it disintegrates when processes, negotiations, and culture get in the way. Or when the next budget cut or senior executive comes around.

Overcoming the Barrier: Anchor your customer-centricity drive in the culture by reframing it into what matters to your different stakeholders. Connect the customer experience to the values and culture of those who work for you. Show your shareholders how smiles and money go hand in hand. Engage your ecosystem to create a common vision, instead of imposing yours. Make the strategy theirs, instead of yours.

BARRIER #3: Lack of Vision

Customer teams focus most, if not all, of their attention on improving the customer’s experience based on feedback and competitive benchmarks. Rightly so. Dropping the ball on a touchpoint or moment may cost dearly in both loyalty and revenue. 

But too much focus on ‘continuous improvement’ can blind us to the experience that ‘should exist’ tomorrow. In today’s economy, the last best experience the customers had anywhere, become their expectation everywhere. It’s just that they can’t tell what it is before they’ve had it. At which point, we’re too late.

Unfair? Totally. But also reality.

Overcoming the Barrier: Keep improving today, but allocate at least 20% of your time to imagining the customer’s future that ‘should exist’. Look at life through the eyes of your customer and prototype experiences they cannot imagine today. Be the one who raises the expectation bar, so it forces others to follow.

I’m not saying these are the only barriers. But if you tackle them, you’ve probably avoided some of the biggest pitfalls to customer-centricity out there.

May the customer force be with you!

Image credit: Pixabay

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Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of November 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of November 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are November’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Human-Centered Design and Innovation — by Braden Kelley
  2. Four Ways to Overcome Resistance to Change — by Greg Satell
  3. What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do — by Mike Shipulski
  4. 5 Simple Steps for Launching Game-Changing New Products — by Teresa Spangler
  5. Why Small Teams Kick Ass — by Mike Shipulski
  6. Crabby Innovation Opportunity — by Braden Kelley
  7. Music Can Make You a More Effective Leader — by Shep Hyken
  8. Lobsters and the Wisdom of Ignoring Your Customers — by Robyn Bolton
  9. Asking the Wrong Questions Gets You the Wrong Answers — by Greg Satell
  10. Brewing a Better Customer Experience — by Braden Kelley

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in October that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

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Brewing a Better Customer Experience

Brewing A Better Customer Experience

by Braden Kelley

There is probably nothing more important to the ongoing success of a business than a consistently excellent customer experience.

How many brands are you loyal to that provide a bad customer experience?

Customer Experience (CX) is more than customer service, more than the brand image your sales and marketing work so hard to project. In simple terms, everything your vendors and employees do on behalf of the company contributes to the customer experience.

But most organizations, and even customer experience professionals don’t think in these terms. It gets too complicated for most organizations. It’s much easier to think about customer touchpoints and pain points that can be identified and improved in a quest to create a great customer experience.

But what defines a great customer experience?

Seven Characteristics of a Great Customer Experience

  1. It’s easy to get to know you
  2. Clear communication
  3. Transparency in what to expect
  4. Effortless transactions (not just shopping, but problem solving and troubleshooting too)
  5. Intentional friction (don’t over-optimize ALL transactions, sometimes waiting actually creates value by teasing the senses)
  6. Interactions that make you feel valued not just as a customer, but as a person too
  7. Occasional unexpected moments of delight

The Seven Characteristics of a Great Customer Experience serve as a set of guiding principles as you train employees, as you engage in service design, and as you pursue technology upgrades.

And what are the most important steps in a successful journey to a great customer experience?

Continue reading on the HCL Technology Blog


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The Role of Instagram in Customer Experience

The Role of Instagram in Customer Experience

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Part of what fuels a good customer experience is the content experience. That’s where companies and brands serve up content in numerous ways, which could include (but is not limited to) articles, blogs, text messages, newsletters, YouTube videos, podcasts, TikTok content, Tweets, LinkedIn posts and the subject of this article, Instagram. (Note: Check out this recent article about TikTok for business. TikTok has become the No. 1 visited social platform in the world, even bigger than Google!)

Customer behavior has dramatically changed as technology has allowed us to deliver content in numerous ways. There are plenty of platforms, such as the ones mentioned above, so which one should a brand focus on? The short answer is any platform you know your customers are on. That said, as new platforms evolve, some companies and brands aren’t quick to adopt them, although maybe they should be.

Who would have thought that Facebook would become a marketing machine for some brands? And it’s the same with other platforms. And that brings us to the topic—and platform—that is the focus of this article.

Instagram started out as a photo- and video-sharing social media platform in 2010 when Kevin Systrom (co-founder) uploaded a picture of a dog with the caption “test.” Over the past 12 years, it has evolved into much more, including an opportunity for brands to incorporate the platform into their content and marketing strategies.

A recent Passport-Photo.Online study surveyed more than 1,000 Instagram users to find out how the Instagram content experience is influencing their buying decisions. Here are some stats (followed by my commentary) to get you thinking about the power of Instagram and how this social media platform can work for you and your organization.

  • Instagram has 1.4 billion users each month, making it the fourth most popular social network. The potential to be seen is huge! Take advantage of another social media channel that gives you great exposure.
  • Ninety-two percent of Americans who use Instagram follow a business, with most following six to ten business accounts. The majority of Instagram users are Millennials and Gen-Z. According to a Hootsuite survey, ages 18-44 make up just under 88% of the Instagram audience. If that’s the age range of your target audience, this is a place for you to be.
  • Of those Instagram users who follow businesses, 26% typically visit business profiles every day. Another 27% visit business profiles every week. Daily or weekly visits from customers and potential customers are high. This is genuine marketing gold. Creating content that gets followers to come back again and again—daily or weekly—is something you don’t want to miss.
  • Seventy-one percent of Instagram users feel more connected to brands they follow on Instagram. Feeling connected to any company infers there is a sense of loyalty. Furthermore, 93% of people on Instagram are likely or very likely to buy from a business they feel connected to over a competitor. Some presence is better than no presence. Don’t miss the opportunity to engage and create a stronger connection with your customers.
  • Replying to the question, “Did Instagram ever inspire you to shop from businesses even when you weren’t looking to do so?,” 79% said, “Yes.” Do you need any more proof? Can you afford not to participate in an Instagram content strategy?
  • Eighty-nine percent of Instagrammers prefer short-form content (less than 1,000 words) over long-form content (1,000+) when it comes to text posts from brands specifically. Here is where the content marketing strategy comes into play. A 1,000-word post is still long. Consider experimenting with shorter posts, 400-500 words. Follow some of your favorite brands and notice their content strategy. Look for length, frequency, etc.

Content marketing is a powerful customer experience strategy. While it may cost to produce content, it costs nothing to post. And good content can be repurposed across all social media platforms. A good article on Instagram can work on LinkedIn. A few compelling sentences out of the article can become several tweets. One piece of content can be repurposed in numerous ways.

As you look at the stats and findings from the survey, you can immediately recognize the opportunity that Instagram offers. As the fourth most popular social network, this is a marketing channel you can’t afford to ignore.

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Shep Hyken

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Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of September 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of September 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are September’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. You Can’t Innovate Without This One Thing — by Robyn Bolton
  2. Importance of Measuring Your Organization’s Innovation Maturity — by Braden Kelley
  3. 3 Ways to Get Customer Insights without Talking to Customers
    — by Robyn Bolton
  4. Four Lessons Learned from the Digital Revolution — by Greg Satell
  5. Are You Hanging Your Chief Innovation Officer Out to Dry? — by Teresa Spangler
  6. Why Good Job Interviews Don’t Lead to Good Job Performance — by Arlen Meyers, M.D.
  7. Six Simple Growth Hacks for Startups — by Soren Kaplan
  8. Why Diversity and Inclusion Are Entrepreneurial Competencies
    — by Arlen Meyers, M.D.
  9. The Seven P’s of Raising Money from Investors — by Arlen Meyers, M.D.
  10. What’s Next – The Only Way Forward is Through — by Braden Kelley

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in August that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of July 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of July 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are July’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. What Latest Research Reveals About Innovation Management Software — by Jesse Nieminen
  2. Top Five Reasons Customers Don’t Return — by Shep Hyken
  3. Five Myths That Kill Change and Transformation — by Greg Satell
  4. How the Customer in 9C Saved Continental Airlines from Bankruptcy — by Howard Tiersky
  5. Changing Your Innovator’s DNA — by Arlen Meyers, M.D.
  6. Why Stupid Questions Are Important to Innovation — by Greg Satell
  7. We Must Rethink the Future of Technology — by Greg Satell
  8. Creating Employee Connection Innovations in the HR, People & Culture Space — by Chris Rollins
  9. Sickcare AI Field Notes — by Arlen Meyers, M.D.
  10. Cultivate Innovation by Managing with Empathy — by Douglas Ferguson

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in June that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Three Lessons for Creating Better Customer Experiences

Three Lessons for Creating Better Customer Experiences

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Customer behavior is changing. Expectations are higher. There’s tension between customers and the brands they do business with. The willingness to leave one brand to do business with another has never been higher.

Lance Gruner, Executive Vice President of Global Customer Care at MasterCard, was one of the keynote speakers at CCW (Contact Center Week), the industry’s largest conference and trade show of its kind. More than 3,000 attendees listened to Gruner share lessons he learned while running customer service teams worldwide for one of the most recognized brands in the world.

Gruner started with a story about lost luggage during a recent trip to Ireland. The airline eventually found it, but it wasn’t an easy experience and seemed to take more effort than necessary. Even though his luggage was eventually returned to him, Gruner realized there was a bigger issue, which was how the incident was handled. His point was something most companies and brands are guilty of. They may fix the customer’s problem, but there is a more significant issue. In Gruner’s words, “We must focus on the root and not the symptom.”

In this example, the symptom is the lost luggage, and the root is how employees handle the customer.

Whether they know it or not, what customers want isn’t that complicated. They want to trust that brands will do what they promise. If by chance, things aren’t working out the way they should, they want to trust that a brand will have their back and fix what needs to be fixed. Sounds simple, but simple doesn’t always mean easy.

Gruner shared how MasterCard does this. Eighty-four percent of MasterCard’s customers are delighted with their experience. “We still have a ways to go,” admits Gruner. He shared three things MasterCard is doing to drive that improvement.

1. Focus on customers, and specifically, the effort customers go through to do business with you. Just ask the question, “Are we making it easy for our customers?” High customer satisfaction marks—and loyalty—happen when a brand can meet customers where they are. Being available on the phone and digital platforms, such as chat, text, social media and other channels, is important to giving customers an easy experience.

2. Use technology and data to support this effort. Data is powerful when used the right way. Data gives you customer insights that help identify trends. Used correctly, you not only meet the customer’s current needs, you can also predict what they will want and expect in the future. Knowing where customers are going before they do is a powerful way to build trust and loyalty. So, leverage data. Don’t just collect it. Study it and use it to create a better customer experience (CX).

3. Focus on employees. Gruner knows there are employee issues. What is known as the Great Resignation started long before the pandemic, but it has accelerated. In addition to Baby Boomers and Gen-X taking retirement, employees are evaluating their lifestyles. Their wellbeing is paramount to their happiness at a company. Gruner emphasizes the importance of focusing on “our people.” Just as customers must believe in the brand, so must employees. He smiled when he said that 95% of MasterCard employees are proud to be part of the brand. They understand that work is more than just a job to some. They want to be part of something bigger. Gruner says, “We are doing well by doing good.” MasterCard is focused on a workforce that is inclusive and diverse. It believes in sustainability and giving back to the community. Employees appreciate and embrace this effort.

Pay close attention to lesson number three. Circling back to Gruner’s comment about the root versus the symptom, employees are the root. They have great control over the outcome of a customer’s problem. When employees are properly trained and appreciated for making good decisions, customer experience magic happens. How employees feel about their jobs and how customers feel about the company go hand-in-hand. What’s happening on the inside of an organization is felt on the outside by the customer. If you want your customers to be happy, start looking inside your company. It has never been more important to focus on employees as part of your customer service and CX strategy.

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Shep Hyken

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Announcing Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly

Human-Centered Change and Innovation Weekly Newsletter

We’re about two months into the re-birth and re-branding of Blogging Innovation as Human-Centered Change and Innovation.

At the same time I brought my multiple author blog back to life, I also created a weekly newsletter to bring all of this great content to your inbox every Tuesday.

Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly brings four or five great articles as an email to you from myself and a growing roster of talented and insightful contributing authors, including:

Robert B. Tucker, Janet Sernack, Greg Satell, Linda Naiman, Howard Tiersky, Paul Sloane, Rachel Audige, Arlen Meyers, John Bessant, Phil Buckley, Jesse Nieminen, Anthony Mills, Nicolas Bry and your host Braden Kelley.

You can sign up for the newsletter here:


I would be interested to know whether you prefer:

  1. Tuesday
  2. Sunday

And, if you’ve missed out on previous issues and would like to explore them, you’ll find the links below:

Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly

Finally, if you know a globally recognized human-centered design, change, innovation, transformation or customer experience author that should be contributing guest articles to the blog and newsletter, have them contact us.

I hope you continue to find value in everyone’s contributions to the conversations around human-centered change, innovation, transformation and experience design!

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Don’t Forget to Innovate the Customer Experience

Don't Forget to Innovate the Customer Experience

Too often we speak about Innovation, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, Employee Experience and Organizational Change as very distinct and separate things.

But is this the right approach?

Those of you who have read both my first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and my second book Charting Change know that the main reason that the second book even exists is because innovation is all about change.

Apple couldn’t bring the iPod, iTunes and the iTunes store to market without inflicting incredible amounts of change upon the organization and building many different new organizational capabilities and hiring many new types of people with many types of expertise new to the organization.

I’ve also written about BIG C and little c change, with BIG C change including transformations of many types (including digital) and little C change including projects and other small initiatives. And yes, every project changes something, so every project is a change initiative. And so yes, project management is in fact a subset of change management, not the typical wrong way ’round that change management is usually made subservient to project management.

Stop it!

Architecting the Organization for Change

For an invention to have any chance of becoming an innovation, the organization must transform, and to do this well we must design corresponding changes in both employee experience and customer experience to accelerate and integrate:

  1. Value Creation
  2. Value Access
  3. Value Translation

See my important article Innovation is All About Value for more background on these three phrases.

Because of the interconnectedness between innovation, change, transformation, customer experience and employee experience we must look at these different specialties holistically and in a coordinated way if we are to maximize our chances of successfully completing the journey from invention to innovation.

Service Design and Journey Mapping have a role to play, as does Human-Centered Design because people are at the heart of innovation and transformation. These tools can help uncover the customer needs and help visualize what the NEW experiences must look like for both employees and customers to maximize the holistic value created and the ability of customers to access that value as effortlessly as possible.

As we work to design the potential innovation as a product or a service or a combination of the two, we must also consciously design the customer experience and employee experience to enhance to possibilities of this invention becoming an innovation. This includes potentially designing OUT touchpoints in current journeys that people may taken as a given, but maybe no longer need to exist if we are truly keeping the customer and their wants/needs at the center of our focus.

As part of your innovation activities, consider creating customer and employee journey maps, printing them poster size and placing them front and center on your innovation wonder wall so that you can ask your innovation team the following questions:

  1. What is different about this customer or employee touchpoint when considering our potential innovation?
  2. How could we design out the need for this customer or employee touchpoint?
  3. With our potential innovation, what customer or employee touchpoints may no longer be necessary?
  4. With our potential innovation, what new customer or employee touchpoints may we need to create?
  5. What organizational and employee knowledge and capabilities are we missing, that we must have, to deliver the necessary and expected customer and employee experiences?

As we explore these questions, they allow us to look beyond the product or service that forms the basis of the potential innovation that we are creating and create more value around it, to make our customers’ and employees’ experiences of our potential innovation better, and to increase our chances of more successfully translating the holistic value for its potential customers.

Customer and employee experiences are not detached and separate from the new products and services forming the basis of your innovation activities.

The change and transformation that accompany innovation are not separate either.

We must look at all of these specialties together and not see them as isolated things, otherwise we will fail.

So keep innovating, but be sure and consider the change and transformation necessary to help you be successful and how you are going to innovate your customer and employee experiences at the same time!

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At the Heart of Successful Digital Transformations are Humans and Data

At the Heart of Successful Digital Transformations are Humans and Data

Digital transformation has become an overused buzzword.

When most people speak about digital transformation, they are really speaking about digitization, digitalization, or digital strategy.

They are all very different and none of them are digital transformation.

Let’s look at each of these four terms so that we can be very clear about what we are talking about:

  1. Digitization – Digitization is the process of converting information into a digital (i.e. computer-readable) format (source: Wikipedia)
  2. Digitalization – Digitalization is the adaptation of a system, process, etc. to be operated with the use of computers and the internet (source: Oxford Dictionary)
  3. Digital strategy – In the fields of strategic management, marketing strategy, and business strategy, digital strategy is the process of specifying an organization’s vision, goals, opportunities and related activities in order to maximize the business benefits of digital initiatives to the organization (source: Wikipedia)
  4. Digital transformation – A digital transformation is the journey between a company’s current business operations to a reimagined version from the perspective of how a digital native would build the same business operations leveraging the latest technology and scientific understandings of management science, leadership, decision science, business and process architecture, design, customer experience, etc. (source: bradenkelley.com)

At the heart of successful digital transformation, innovation, disruption, and even customer experience are two things:

  • Humans
  • Data

Continue reading on the HCL Technology Blog


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