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I’m often asked about customer experience conferences: What’s out there? Where am I speaking? Which conferences would I recommend?

I’ve compiled the following list of conferences spanning a variety of topics — like CEM, service design, customer loyalty, customer success, and contact centers — that should be of interest to a wide range of customer experience professionals. I've organized the events based on the types of organizations hosting them: professional associations, event producers, service providersmedia companiesanalyst firms, and tech vendors. And, as the title of this post implies, I'll be keeping this list up to date on a rolling basis.

Am I missing an upcoming event? Please let me know!

Event Producers

Middle East's Customer Festival
November 18 – 19, 2014
Dubai

Next Generation Patient Experience
December 2 – 4, 2014
Dallas, Texas

IQPC CX Impact
December 8 – 10, 2014
New Orleans

Customer Experience World
December 8 – 9,  2014
Dubai

IQPC Call Center Executive Exchange
January 25 – 27, 2015
Orlando, Florida

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In a previous post, I talked about the need for loyalty program interactions to be both useful and easy. In other words, loyalty programs need to provide some utility or help someone accomplish a task (whether that’s saving money, getting a free TV, or getting exclusive access to an event). And the process of doing so shouldn’t require a lot of effort or brainpower on the part of the customer.

The only way to ensure your loyalty program meets these objectives is to explicitly design it that way. The following steps are a great way to get started:

1. Create an equitable value proposition. To be useful in the eyes of customers, loyalty program earning schemes must be calibrated with appropriate rewards. A new tool from Strategyzer called the value proposition canvas can help marketers identify customers’ pains, gains, and jobs (a.k.a. “tasks”) — and then define how their loyalty program will create value and be something that customers actually want.

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Organizers for the annual SXSW interactive, film, and music festivals recently posted their 2015 programming lineup — and I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be presenting with my friend and colleague, Lisa Lindström, CEO of the experience design firm Doberman.

Our session, How Kids Changed the Way We Design for Adults, will showcase the lessons that Doberman has learned over years of working with users of all ages. The punch line: By adapting your research and design processes to align with the preferences, cognitive abilities, social skills, and attention spans of kids — you’ll be better armed to create innovative, intuitive, and delightful products and services for adults.

SXSW Interactive will take place on March 13 - 17, 2015 in Austin, Texas. You can find out more about the event and our talk. We hope to see you there!

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The best part of Uber’s customer experience this Halloween isn’t the little candy corns and witches that have replaced the regular vehicle icons on the in-app map. (Though I have to admit, those are pretty damn cute.) It’s the way Uber has set expectations about the surge pricing that will inevitably force Halloween revelers to fork over much more than a couple of full-size Snickers bars to get to and from their festivities this evening.

Not surprisingly, surge pricing isn’t popular with customers. Does anybody really want to pay 1.75x or 2.25x the price of a regular taxi fare? Of course not. I’d argue it’s just about the only ghoulish thing about the entire Uber experience. But it’s a fundamental part of how Uber does business, as it “ensures reliability during the busiest times.”

Rather than springing tonight’s surge pricing on unsuspecting (and, let’s be honest, inebriated) customers and creating a frustrating beginning or end to an otherwise fun night of partying, Uber just sent out an email with the subject: “An Uber Guide to Halloween.” In it, Uber reminds us to “keep in mind that tonight will be one of those rare evenings when every witch, mummy and Miley look-alike wants to leave at exactly the same time.”

It then shows an illustration of how customers should expect prices to rise and fall throughout the evening and offers tips on how to save money tonight — or at least know what you’re going to pay before you request a ride. And, given the number of accoutrements (like wands, tails, and wings) that Uber riders will be carrying with them tonight, the email also provides a URL for getting in touch with your driver should you happen to lose a critical costume part in transit.

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I go to a lot of conferences. A lot. And frankly, I’m sick and tired of all the bad nametag design that I see — even, or I should say especially, at DESIGN conferences. Here the major problems:

  • Tiny type. Type sizes that are easy to read on a screen or on a printout that you’re holding can be completely illegible in the common conference scenario of viewing a nametag from several feet away (and often sideways).
  • Poor foreground/background contrast. I was at a conference a couple weeks back where my nametag was royal blue with black type. I doubt anyone could read it.
  • Poor information design. The most important pieces of information on a nametag are the attendee’s first name, company, and last name. In. that. order. And yet, most nametags neglect to create any sort of typographical hierarchy. As a reminder, we have different type sizes for a reason.
  • Confusing status indicators. At the conference where I had the blue nametag, others’ name tags were either yellow or white. And some of the white nametags had red dots on them. What did it all mean?? It felt like there was some secret class system that only the conference organizers knew about.
  • An over abundance of logos. The front of the nametags at one design conference I recently attended were half — yes half! — covered in sponsor logos. The extreme clutter made it difficult to focus on any single piece of information.
  • One-sided nametags. Every double-sided nametag I’ve seen has the attendee’s name on the front and other information (or nothing) on the back. And yet many lanyards allow for easy nametag flipping throughout the day, causing the attendee’s name to face his/her shirt instead of other attendees’ eyes.

These problems produce a variety of awkward interactions between attendees:

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