We’re Moving to the New Customer Innovations Website

We are very happy to announce that Customer Innovations is moving to a new and updated home on the web.

You can find us at:  www.customerinnovations.com

The ideas and insights we’ve been sharing on this blog site have already been relocated to this new location.

Onwards and upwards,

Frank Capek,  CEO, Customer Innovations, Inc.

Empathy in Action: Sustaining Success with Customers

“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.

Peter Drucker

Its not difficult to find support for what appears to be an ultimate truth; customer-centricity is THE central element of business success.  Since virtually every business leader espouses this truth, it must be great to be a customer!

Unfortunately, in practice, fragmented roles and accountabilities for the wide range of activities associated with “being in business” tend to create issues.  Surprisingly few organizations actually behave in a way that’s customer-centric and, as you know, being a “customer” is often frustrating.    According the national reporting body for the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), customer satisfaction “continues on the path it has been for quite some time now: in the aggregate, it is going nowhere.”


Issue:  Customer – Object versus Person

After having the chance to work with the leaders of many dozens of companies, I’ve noticed a distinguishing feature of organizations that engage with customers in a way that fuels continued innovation and economic success.   It starts with how leaders and people throughout with organization think about and talk about their customers.

According to dictionary.com, customer means…

  1. A person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer; patron.
  2. Informal.  A person one has to deal with: a tough customer; a cool customer.

The foundation of this definition is “person.”   A customer is a person or, in the case of business-to-business, often a network of people.   A distinguishing characteristic of organizations that sustain success with customers is their ability to engage with customers as people.   This seems like it should be easy.   However, even casual conversations with leaders in many businesses reveal that the organization is focused on customers not as people but as objects.

According to dictionary.com, “objectify” means…

  1. To present or regard as an object
  2. To make objective, external, or concrete.

Objectifying people generally involves intentionally or unintentionally treating them as a means to an end, without any deep, visceral understanding of their lives, feelings, priorities or preferences.    As a result, organizational behavior tends to be at best – reactive, and at worst, self-serving and manipulative.

There are several indicators of businesses that objectify customers.  People in leadership positions don’t spend much time in open dialogue with customers about what they need and what’s working and not working about their experience.   Insights about customers tend to be surface-level descriptions.  Conversations about customers tend to be abstract and removed rather than concrete and personal.   People on the front line may be following the process but, at best, “pretending to care.”  The company might measure customer satisfaction with the company’s touch points but doesn’t really know what customers do end-to-end, how they make choices, and how the overall experience makes them feel.

These characteristics stand in stark contrast to businesses that appear immersed in their customers’ lives and, as a result, deliver a very personal, human experience.   As consumers, we recognize these businesses.  They range from the small and local (e.g., your favorite restaurant or local retail establishment) to the larger scale businesses of which my favorites include Chick-fil-A, Zappos, Nordstrom, Umpqua Bank, and Apple.

Personifying Customers:  Empathy in Action

In order to create real loyalty and sustain customer-focused innovation, organizations need to adopt a discipline for personifying customers.   This is even more critical as organizational transparency increases.  Personifying customers includes structured ways to embed empathy in the core processes of customer discovery, design and delivery.   Empathy is the identification with or vicarious experiencing of the situations, feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.   The core processes include:

  • Empathic Discovery.  Most of what companies know about their customers tends to be descriptive and data driven:  who they are, where they live, what they’ve purchased, how long they’ve been a customer, etc… There may be a segmentation analysis that groups customers by attitudes, etc… However, in most cases, there is no rigorous framework for personifying customers in a way that builds empathic understanding.  This includes structured ways to answer:  who are these people, what are the situations they’re in, what’s important to them and what are they trying to accomplish, how do they evaluate alternatives and make choices, what do they do outside of the limited set of contacts with our business, and what emotional states influence behavior?  
  • Empathic Design.  Empathic design leverages empathic discovery in order to create products that allow customers to more easily accomplish the goals that are important to them.  This includes designing products and services that customers love because they’re meaningful and make them feel good.  This often includes the design of products, services, or modes of interaction that customers don’t even know they desire or, in some cases, solutions that customers have difficulty envisioning due to lack of familiarity with the possibilities offered by new technologies or because locked in a old mindset.
  • Empathic Delivery.  Customer service is a monologue; it’s about technical delivery, standards, and execution.  The company decides what to do and how to do it.  Well-designed and executed customer service usually does a good job of meeting customers’ baseline needs and expectations.  On the other hand, empathic delivery is a dialogue.    It’s about watching a customer’s experience with every sense and following up with a thoughtful and appropriate response that demonstrates that you really care and are on their side.   It enables the organization to surround products and programmatic services with personal touch.

Unfortunately (and fortunately for competitors), empathic delivery is rare in the business world.  Processes, policies, metrics, resource constraints, as well as more deeply entrenched unwritten rules often get in the way.  Since empathic delivery cannot be fully scripted, it leads to significant implications for the employee experience.  Employees must have enough “elbow room” to do the right thing for customers.  This requires a deliberately designed pattern of interventions in the employee experience including recruiting, incorporating, training, communicating, measurements, and rewards.  It also involves surfacing the unwritten rules that may be driving employee behavior inconsistent with the desired customer experience.

Integrating Customer and Employee Experience

Not surprisingly, putting empathy into action requires a tightly integrated perspective on customers and employees.   You can’t treat customers with empathy without doing the same for employees.   This is one of the reasons that many of the companies that appear on Fortune’s list of best places to work are businesses that deliver a very effective customer experience.   However, as covered in several previous posts, a highly engaged workforce is necessary but not sufficient.  (See:  A Break in the Service Profit Chain:  Why Increases in Employee Engagement Don’t Improve the Customer Experience).  In addition, if you’re interested, please feel free to check out the white paper titled:   “Getting the Employee Experience Right:  Creating Employee Experiences that Drive Business Growth.”

Customer Innovations works with leading brands to “embed empathy” into the design and delivery of experiences that are both positive for customers and profitable as well as strategically relevant for the business.

Moving From Service to Signature Experience

The Limitations of  Service

Service has always been and probably will always be critically important.    Every viable company must provide for an acceptable and effective level of service in order to retain customers, avoid the cost associated with repeated service interactions, and lost revenue associated with negative word of mouth.

While providing the finest levels of service may be a virtuous objective, we’ve found that it is extraordinarily easy to make ineffective and uneconomic service investments.   In situation after situation we’ve seen companies simultaneously under-deliver on service elements that are important to customers and over-deliver on service levels customers may not care about or even notice.  For example, many companies attempt to optimize speed to answer or satisfaction with service rep interactions rather than dealing effectively with issue avoidance or measuring and minimizing overall customer effort.  Unless your organization is unlike any other we’ve worked with, I can say with near certainty that you’re currently making uneconomic investments in both service delivery and service improvement.

There are several factors that contribute to the problem, including:

  • Service is an inherently introverted activity.   Service is something a company provides.    Since there are clearly costs associated with service delivery, most companies understand and carefully manage these costs.   However, in most cases, the real economic value of service is directly connected to customer behavior.   Does the service you provide actually influence customers and prospects in a way that builds and sustains profitable revenue streams?
  • Service often reinforces fragmentation.   In most organizations, providing service is assigned to specific front-line functions, including field representatives, call centers, etc…    In many cases, these front-line functions are stuck with the difficult job of making up for systemic issues created at the core of the enterprise.   As a result, the front-line can end up caught in the middle between a broken system and a frustrated customer with little ability to address any of the deeper systemic issues.
  • Service quality is usually a poor differentiator.  Every company provides some level of service.  Differences in service quality can be described as a difference in degree.   A difference in degree is something every one does but some do better than others.   The unfortunate fact is people on the receiving end have a very hard time perceiving differences in degree.  Not only that, but since differences in degree often correspond with literally hundreds of service levels, they tend to be very expensive to improve. Efforts to enhancing differences in degree are often investments in better sameness.  However, not all differences are created equal.   People have a very easy time perceiving a difference in kind.   A difference in kind is something I get from one that I don’t get from another; it’s fundamentally different and may even catch me by surprise.  Virtually every example of companies that have differentiated based on service (e.g., Amazon, Zappos, Container Store, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A etc…), do so with a relatively small number of differences in kind not just a large number of differences in degree.  The good news is that creating a small number of differences in kind doesn’t necessary cost as much as ramping up a large number of differences in degree.

From Service to Signature Experience

So, what’s the solution?  We need a fundamental shift from focusing on delivering service to focusing on and finding ways to improve experiences.  What do we mean by experience?

  • Experiences are something that people have.  A company may influence that experience but, in the end, the experience only resides with the person.   Experiences exist within the context of the goals and desired states a person is trying to achieve, as well as the end-to-end set of activities they engage in to accomplish those objectives.  The only way to understand the experience is to understand how people are having the experience.
  • Experiences do not just happen at service touch-points.   Experiences can certainly be influenced by how an organization provides service, but it’s critical to pay attention to the broader context. Most opportunities to improve experiences do not just happen at the service touch points.  The greatest opportunities to create differentiated experiences come from understanding what happens at the non-touch-points.  How do we help them create new possibilities?  How do we minimize the effort associated with what customers are really trying to accomplish?  How do we eliminate points of confusion or frustration?
  • Experiences influence how people feel.  Not surprisingly, companies tend to focus a lot on how customers feel about their products and services.   However, experiences influence how people feel about themselves.  For example, does the experience make people feel smart, powerful, understood, cared for, or in control?   Of does the experience make people feel stupid, confused, marginalized, manipulated or frustrated?  If a company creates an experience helps people feel good about themselves, these customers will end up feeling great about the company and its products or services.
  • Experiences are social.  Most experiences involve things that people do together or engage in as a means of social expression.   The most powerful and influential experiences change the way people relate to each other.   For example, leading grocery retailer HEB’s experience design is orchestrated around the family experience of mealtime.   The most effective way to think about customer relationship management might be… what are the relationships are customer care most about and how can we create an experience that positively transforms those relationships.
  • Experiences create distinctions that influence behavior.   Experiences exist in what people remember, the stories they tell, the conclusions they draw, the decisions and resolutions they make, and the meaning they derive from it all.   The most powerful and influential experiences are designed around a differentiated commitment and a series of high-contrast “signature elements” that catch people by surprise and represent a difference in kind.

For example, the Starbucks experience represents a comfortable, inviting, predictable and highly social “third place” to go (beyond home and office).  The experience design incorporates a set of “signature differences” including the products (unique drinks and serving sizes), baristas, ordering interactions, service flow, store design, music and other peripheral products, and commitment relevant causes.

As another example, ZipCar creates an experience that addresses the non-touch-point opportunities in the traditional car rental experience.   ZipCar enables people to easily access a shared interest they have in cars located throughout their community.

What Does This Mean for B2B?

Moving from service to experience is also critically important for business-to-business providers.    First of all the stakes are often higher.  For example, the quality and the nature of the experience a business has with any product and/or service provider can influence significant revenue decisions as well as influence the businesses focus on price versus differentiated value.   Secondly, designing and managing the experience is more complex.  Most business-to-business relationships involve a network of personal relationships surrounded by a level of rational, economic decision-making.

Behavioral Portraits and the Design of Influential Experiences

“Remember… you’re unique… just like everybody else.” Although, it may be a little funny to say it that way, thank heavens for diversity!  For as much as we all have in common, our lives are more interesting because we’re not all the same. We’re interested in different things, we like different music, we’re attracted to different kinds of experiences, and we have unique emotional reactions to the situations we’re in.

Over the past 25 years, Customer Innovations has worked with a wide range of leading companies on the design of products, services, and experiences that influence customers.  In the course of that work, we’ve helped clients understand how their customers’ think, what their customers’ feel, and how and why customers behave the way they do.  That insight is used to design things that really matter to customers; that make a difference in their lives; that are intuitive easy to navigate; and that influence behaviors that make more money for our clients.

In this post, I will describe one of the key tools we use to do this work, called a Behavioral Portrait.   A Behavioral Portrait is rigorous approach to understanding the important ways that different people are attracted to, engage with, and respond to different kinds of experiences.  It also explains why people have widely varying and highly individual emotional and behavioral reactions to the same experiences.  The Behavioral Portrait tool is used to identify key behavioral differences between different customer personae (for more information see the following posts: Personae Driven Experience Design and What is the Difference Between Personae and Segmentation?).

The Behavioral Portrait measures preferences in five major areas that have a profound effect on the design strategy for influencing customers sensitive to these preferences.  These areas are:

  • Novelty Seeking. Describes the degree to which a person is attracted to, comfortable with, and exhilarated by new and unfamiliar experiences.  Novelty Seeking includes individual measurements for curiosity, impulsiveness, and extravagance.
  • Harm Avoidance. Describes the ways a person engages with ambiguity, risk, and unpredictable interactions with people they don’t know.  Harm Avoidance includes individual measurements for anticipatory worry, fear of uncertainty, and shyness with strangers.
  • Social Orientation. Describes a person’s preferences for social interactions and connections that influence their experiences and their lives. Social Orientation includes individual measures of introversion/extroversion, sentimentality, attachment, and dependence.
  • Decision Style. Describes a person’s preferred mode of perceiving and interpreting information and then making decisions based on that information.  Decision Style includes individual measurements of perceptual breadth, detailed versus conceptual interpretation, and analytic versus synthetic decision-making.
  • Behavioral Activation. Describes the unique ways a person initiates action, as well as, their degree of focus and persistence over time and in the face of obstacles. Behavioral Activation includes individual measures of energy, directedness, criticality, and single-mindedness.

Customers have different reactions to product, service, and experience design/  execution based on their preferences.  For example:

  • Higher harm avoidant customers tend to get stressed about elements of the experience that are unpredictable, confusing, or seem risky.  Higher harm avoidant customers also tend to react more negatively to any embedded element in the experience that might be perceived as a “violation of justice.”  For example, in a restaurant, they will react more negatively if people seated after them are served before them.
  • More socially oriented customers will go along with the behavior of others and will respond more strongly to social influence.  For example, more socially oriented customers will respond more positively to conservation programs that illustrate how their behavior compares with others (e.g., your electricity usage is 57% higher than the average for your neighborhood… or… the blue recycle bins are at the curb for every house on my street except for mine).
  • Higher novelty seeking customers will tend to be the early adopters of the latest and greatest new technologies. They’ll tend to engage more readily with interesting information about products and services.  They’ll tend to experiment with alternative medicine.  Our research also indicates that they are more attracted to and more likely to return frequently to restaurants that offer a diverse experience or change up their menu.

We’ve found that by understanding the behavioral preferences for different customer personae allows us to design products, services, and experiences that engage a wider range of customers.   You do this by allowing for personae-sensitive pathways.  For example, you provide a high-novelty seeking pathway that customers can opt into if they desire that.  However, you don’t force the low novelty-seeking customers through that pathway because it’s likely to make them feel uncomfortable.

Customer Innovations has developed several tools for measuring these behavioral preferences.  These tools include:

  • The full Behavioral Portrait tool – an 85-question instrument that takes about 12 minutes to complete and provides a reliable measure of an individual’s preferences across the 5 dimensions and 17 sub-dimensions described above.   This full Behavioral Portrait tool is used as part of in-depth personae development research.  It’s also used to provide rich feedback to individuals about their preferences.
  • A streamlined Behavioral Indicator tool – a 17-question set that can be embedded in a quantitative survey in order to correlate a respondent’s behavioral preferences to their response to other questions about their experience, their attitudes, or their preferences for new product or service concepts.

If you have an interest in learning more about the approach outlined above or any of the associated tools, please let us know.

Channel 2.0: “Collaborative Ecosystem Management”

We are in the midst of a dramatic shift in the way business is done.  In most industries, a much more open and collaborative network model is replacing the traditional closed and controlled firm-centric view of the world.   This shift has been well documented by my colleague Don Tapscott in his bestselling book Wikinomics.  Don is the head of nGenera Insights (a Customer Innovations partner).

As this shift takes place, companies must reconsider many of the foundational assumptions about their role in the complex ecosystem of customers, competitors, intermediaries, and other influencers.   While many basic relationship management capabilities are still important, there are two major problems with the traditional approach to  “Channel Management”:

  1. The first problem is the “channel” part. In a network view of the world, a channel is an outdated, linear way of viewing the market.  In many ways, it reinforces the notion that you move your products and services forward through the channel to reach end-consumers.  This doesn’t work in the presence of media-savvy and networked consumers.  These next-generation consumers can easily find better deals with more agile providers and, in the process, are more likely to either by-pass intermediaries all together or deal with newer intermediaries (e.g. Amazon, etc…) that consolidate products and services in a way that makes it easier for them to get what they want.
  2. The second problem is the “management” part. In a more agile, networked view of the world, channel participants are more difficult to manage or control.  They tend to either have or believe they have more alternatives.  In most cases, they have the all-important relationship with the ulimate consumers who are paying the money.  In addition, they have to deal with a rapidly changing set of consumer demands that change what it takes for them to be successful.  If I’m an insurance agent, retailer, distributor, etc… struggling to keep up with changing consumer demands, preferences, and alternatives, I’ll challenge anything that product providers do that gets in the way of my responding to and serving my customers.

As we move beyond the linear, Channel 1.0 view of the world, companies must begin to more effectively position themselves as part of a collaborative ecosystem.  We call this Channel 2.o model, Collaborative Ecosystem Management.

Channel 1.0:  Traditional Channel Management

Channel 2.0:  Collaborative Ecosystem Management

Linear, feed-forward value delivery system

Complex, shifting network of participants

Static and known list of channel relationships

Evolving and emerging channel participants

Product and service fulfillment model

Demand creators and accelerators

Inflexible channel structures and systems

Adaptive collaboration processes and technology

The new channel model builds on many of the Channel 1.0 capabilities (covered in:  Channel 1.0: Foundational Capabilities for Optimizing B-to-B-to-C Performance) but must express these capabilities in a world that includes a complex, shifting network of participants, an evolving and emerging set of channel partners, and, as a result, must leverage more adaptive collaboration processes and technology.

Customer Network

Example:  The SAP Developer Network (SDN) is an online community for SAP developers. It is a resource and collaboration channel for SAP developers, architects, consultants and integrators. The SDN hosts forums, expert blogs, a technical library, downloads, a code gallery, e-learning catalog, a Wiki and more.  All these support open communication between active members of the community, which includes more than 1,455,000 members.  The SDN has fundamentally transformed the scale and effectiveness of integrated and supporting SAP’s products in a way that continued to fuel the growth of the company.  This allows SAP to maintain a primary focus on evolving their product while managing an enabling network of other participants that can apply the product and fuel their growth.

In general, we’ve learned that moving to a Channel 2.0 model must integrate three dimensions.  This builds on and extends the basic Channel 1.0 Capabilities, as well as, the Consumer-Back Approach that were introduced in Channel 1.0: Foundational Capabilities for Optimizing B-to-B-to-C Performance.  The three dimensions that must be integrated are:

  1. Consumer-Back Experience Design. Creating a platform for integrating complementary providers and partners in order to provide a seamless end-to-end consumer experience around goals that are important to consumers.
  2. Provider-Forward Experience Design. Creating an “experience chain” that helps makes traditional intermediaries, as well as, the wide range of other ecosystem participants successful in serving their downstream customers, whoever those customers are.
  3. Collaborative Ecosystem Platforms. Providing an open communication environment for connecting consumers, channel customers, complementary product/service partners, and other influencers.  This collaboration platform often creates the opportunity for channel customers and complementary product/service providers to collaborate with each other in ways that are currently impossible.

These are not three alternatives.  Effective Channel 2.0 strategies must integrate all three.

Dimension 1:  Consumer-Back Experience Design. A more ecosystem-oriented environment makes it possible to integrate capabilities across complementary service providers in ways that were previously impossible.  Often that integration was left to the customer.  For example, if your goal was to relocate your family from New York to San Francisco, the experience you would have as a customer would involve integrating the capabilities of real estate agents, mortgage companies, movers, banks, schools, doctors, utilities, home furnishing retailers, cleaning services, hotels, airlines, the post office, etc…    A significant step beyond the Consumer-Back approach described earlier would be to do what we call Consumer-Back Experience Design. This is what “The Right Move Group” did when they created an integrated platform of services address all of the elements listed above for families moving to the San Francisco area.

We are starting to see an increasing number of Consumer-Back Experience Design examples in other areas.  For example, the range of integrated platforms for launching small businesses (a.k.a. Business in a Box platforms).  This includes platforms like:  Smart Online and Microsoft’s Start Up Zone.    Other examples include travel integration services like TripIt, wedding experience integration service like Wedding Channel, and personal concierge services like Fini.

We believe that building an effective Channel 2.0 strategy starts by thinking Consumer-Back.  However, success is dependent on also considering the other two perspectives.

Dimension 2:  Provider Forward Experience Design. Forward Experience Design builds on and significantly extends the capabilities described in the Channel 1.0 Capability Model.  A more technology-enabled, ecosystem-oriented model makes it possible for providers to collaborate with their channel customers in fundamentally more effective ways.

Examples of technology that can enable Provider Forward Experience Design include:

Dimension 3:  Collaborative Ecosystem Platforms.  As we move towards more of a Channel 2.0 world, both of the previous two perspectives will increasingly be enabled by an Collaborative Ecosystem Platform.  A Collaborative Ecosystem Platform creates an environment within which participants from multiple organizations can work together to create an integrated experience that improves the performance of participants and, in the end, creates more value for customers.  This can run the range from:

  • Relatively unstructured sites for sharing information, like Microsoft’s Technical Community Platform
  • Process specific platforms for collaborative service like Get Satisfaction (enables product companies, intermediaries, and end-consumers to all collaborate on generating answers to technical and service issues.
  • Domain specific platforms like Sermo which provides an environment for physicians to discuss courses of treatment, the application and effectiveness of pharmaceutical and medical device products, etc…
  • Social networking platforms like Facebook which is providing additional ways for companies to reach end-consumer and participate in the dialogues that consumers have about the experiences that are important to them.

The migration to a Channel 2.0 strategy is very much an emerging capability for most companies.  It creates the ability to mobilize a much larger and more diverse set of participants in a way that can accelerate growth.  At this point, most of the companies we’ve seen and worked with are putting their toe in the water.   In our experience, it’s still very important to address any gaps in the foundational capabilities that are left over from Channel 1.0.  Very often addressing those gaps can have a substantial and immediate impact on business performance.  In most situations, we are recommending  a parallel set of activities aimed at:  1) addressing Channel 1.0 capability and performance gaps and 2) developing a Channel 2.0 strategy and roadmap that includes identifying the business experiments required to start to learn about and get traction in a Channel 2.0 world.

The Anatomy of Wow!

Over the past year, I’ve had the chance to post a wide range of thoughts on the ways that organization’s can leverage a deep understanding of their customers in order to design and engage customers in experiences that drive the growth of their business.  I recently took the opportunity to step back and reflect on the most important things I’ve learned over the past 25 years.  This post summarizes those most important things.  I’ve tried to make this concise… but will provide links to other posts that provide more insight.


Designing Influential Experiences

Wow Experiences exert a powerful influence on how people think, feel, decide, and act… because they’re designed from the mental model of the experiencer not the mental model of the provider.  Wow experiences create a high level of commitment, energy, and “word of mouth” by improving peoples’ lives.

  1. Wow Experiences change how people feel and are designed from a deep understanding of what people desire.  People don’t buy products or services, they buy Desired States.  What Emotional Outcomes should the experience generate?
  2. Wow Experiences deliver Innovative Solutions to people’s underlying, end-to-end problems. Finding these solutions requires getting below-the-surface of existing touch points.
  3. Wow Experiences generate viral stories.  Prime the story people will tell around an influential Experience Storyline.
  4. Wow Experiences resonate with the seemingly irrational ways people decide.  Design experiences that shape Preference Construction and overcome Behavioral Barriers.
  5. Wow Experiences are pleasantly surprising.  Design a small set of highly differentiated Signature Experience Elements.
  6. Wow Experiences are engaging and personal.  Enable people to Co-create and Personalize the experience, as well as, Influence and Collaborate with others.
  7. Wow Experiences recognize everything communicates!  Eliminate negative cues and align positive cues to influence the story and how you make people feel.


Delivering Influential Experiences

Customers’ experiences with any organization result from the behavior of a self-reinforcing, deeply entrenched organizational system.  Traditional approaches to defining and implementing a new experience fail because they underestimate limits imposed by legacy mindsets, processes, systems, and culture.

  1. Wow Experiences start with clear description of the intended experience – from the customers’ perspective. Align on an Experience Specification that describes the customers’ emotional & rational outcomes.
  2. Wow Experiences rely on Experience Value Management to focus improvements on fundamentally shifting the economics of customer relationships.
  3. Wow Experiences require shifting organizational behavior. Surface the Unwritten Rules that predispose the organization to deliver the current experience.
  4. Wow Experiences require specific employee experiences not just “engagement.” Diagnose how employee experiences reinforce Unwritten Rules and design specific Employee Experience Interventions to shift those Unwritten Rules.
  5. Wow Experiences require the holistic design of enabling Processes, Structures, and Management Systems.
  6. Wow Experiences have a limited shelf-life. Continually Refresh and Preserve a differentiated experience.
  7. Remember that, no matter what business you’re in… You’re in the Hospitality Business!


Here are a selection of links that provide some more insight into the points summarized above:

Why Customer Experience Initiatives Fail?

The Customer Experience Does Not Happen at Your Touchpoints

Cognitive Ergonomics: Designing Experiences that Fit the Customers’ Mental Model

Personae-Driven Customer Experience Design

Optimizing the Most Critical Elements of the Customer Experience: Customer Choices 

Cognitive Ergonomics: Customer Experience and Our Search for Meaning

No Matter What Business You’re In, You’re In the Hospitality Business 

Helping Customers Lose Wait

How Employee Experiences Drive Organizational Behavior

Roadmap to the Customer Innovations Blog

I’ve received several requests to put together a “roadmap” to the Customer Innovations blog posts I’ve done.   Here is an organized path through the material I’ve posted so far.  I haven’t tried to be all inclusive but have just the most substantial posts.   Grab a venti dark roast and enjoy!

Customer Experience Strategy:

Evocative Experience Design:

Integrating Customer and Employee Experience: