Smartwatch Value Driver #5: Show Utility Now


Smartwatch apps don’t have to mirror the functionality of their phone and tablet counterparts to be useful. In fact, apps that try to do it all on a miniscule device with limited input mechanisms end up cluttered, frustrating, and forgotten.

Unfortunately for brands, user expectations don’t automatically align with device constraints. When we partnered with AnswerLab to study how people use (and want to use) smartwatches, we diagnosed a serious case of app apathy. Why? Study participants tended to give smartwatch apps one chance and one chance only—if they couldn’t immediately figure out the app’s purpose, they were unlikely to check back in the future for additional features.

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The Always Up-To-Date Guide To CX Events


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 providers, media 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!


Professional Associations

Design Management Institute’s Design Leadership Conference
September 27 – 29, 2015
New York City

Service Design Network’s Global Conference
October 2 – 3, 2015
New York City

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2 Employee Awards That Will Improve Your Customer Experience


In order to transform your customer experience, you need to change employee behavior. But how can you encourage the right types of behavior? Two awards will help.

The Above & Beyond Award: When a customer contacts your company with a problem, you want employees to fix it as quickly as possible. Depending on the nature of the problem, that might mean doing tasks that aren’t in their official job descriptions, staying overtime, or going on what feels like an organizational scavenger hunt. The Above & Beyond Award recognizes employees who show that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to solve your customers’ issues. With this award, you’ll encourage both frontline and behind-the-scenes employees to take ownership of customer problems and see them through to resolution.

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Smartwatch Value Driver #4: Leverage the Device Ecosystem


Pop Quiz: Which of the following is best for extended content consumption?

A) Tablet
B) Newspaper
C) Smartwatch

If you chose ‘C,’ you’re absolutely incorr—

PARDON THE INTERRUPTION. To continue reading, please switch to another device.

Jarring, right? Downright annoying, actually. Smartwatch users hate mid-task interruptions, too, as we learned during our research partnership with AnswerLab. Nothing kills momentum quite like slamming into a smartwatch error screen: “Please open this app on your phone to continue.” That’s a fast track to task (and app) abandonment.

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Which Comes First: Big Business Decisions –Or– Customer Experience?


Over the past year, I’ve had several prospective clients get excited about improving their customer experience—and then postpone their CX initiatives because they first need to “prioritize defining the business requirements” or because they’re about to “embark on a major org change.”

This approach always leaves me scratching my head. While these types of initiatives may make leaders feel as if they’re moving the company forward, the lack of customer input puts their decisions and change management efforts at high risk. What if the business requirements you’re formulating run contrary to what customers actually want—or miss some yet unarticulated need? How will your new org structure impact customer communications and services—and how can you even determine the potential impact if you’re not sure what customers’ real experiences and pain points are in the first place?

This Big-Business-Decisions-First-Customer-Experience Second approach is problematic. It assumes that customer experience is something additive. It suggests that customer experience is the pretty icing you layer over the functional core of your business cake.

This mindset is flat out wrong.

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SXSW Voting: Journey Mapping Edition!


It’s still seven months away, but I’m already getting excited for SXSW 2016. As you might know, I have a passion for customer journey mapping—and I want to share it in Austin! The team here at Kerry Bodine & Co. has proposed a SXSW workshop that will cover the mechanics of effective journey maps, why they’re mission critical, and how to get started using them in your organization.

But for this workshop to make it to the stage at SXSW, we need your help! Votes make up 30% of the selection criteria—so please take 2 minutes to vote for our session:

  1. Sign up for the SXSW PanelPicker if you haven’t already.
  2. Visit our proposal page: Customer Journey Maps: What, Why, & How.
  3. Click the “thumbs up” icon to cast your vote.

That’s it! Thanks so much for your support, and we hope to see you in Austin in March 2016.

If you’d like to know more about our proposed workshop, read on…

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Smartwatch Q&A: 5 Value Drivers To Make Your App Indispensable

How do smartwatch owners use their smartwatches? What are prospective buyers’ expectations? And how much value do these relatively new devices actually deliver?

Last week I partnered with AnswerLab CEO Amy Buckner Chowdhry to present a webinar highlighting findings of our recent research into how well smartwatches live up to the hype. Below, I share answers to some of the questions that came up during the webinar.


When interacting with their watches through touch, what gestures did participants find confusing or difficult to master?

Most of them! Many of our prospective buyers hadn’t had a previous chance to try on and tinker with a smart watch, and they experienced an especially steep learning curve. But even folks who’d owned a watch for months got stuck when we asked them to open apps or find specific pieces of information. Their confusion about how to get back to familiar territory told us that they used their watches for very specific purposes and left lots of features unexplored.

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Smartwatch Value Driver #3: Enable Bite-Size Interactions


When we investigated the current state of the smartwatch experience together with AnswerLab, we saw a massive disconnect between what study participants wanted from their wearable gadgets and the reality of how they used them. Regardless of watch platform or length of ownership, watch wearers in our study used them primarily as notification engines.

But they envisioned a future in which their smartwatches wouldn’t just alert them when a task merited pursuit on another device. They wanted to take meaningful watch-based action:

  • Don’t just remind me to refill a prescription—let me send the refill request to my pharmacy.
  • Thanks for the alert that my credit card bill is due—let me authorize a payment.
  • I get the same Thai takeout combo every week—let me place my usual order with a tap.

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Smartwatch Value Driver #2: Curate Ruthlessly


Newsflash: Smartwatches are tiny. They’re working with about 1/5th the screen real estate of a smartphone, and tablets are downright gargantuan by comparison.

Seem obvious? When we partnered with AnswerLab to study the current state of the smartwatch experience, we realized it wasn’t. It wasn’t obvious to brands whose apps failed to account for the limitations (and strengths) of this minute addition to the device ecosystem. And it wasn’t obvious to recent and prospective buyers, who envisioned miniaturized smartphones on their wrists.

Those expectations changed in a hurry when participants in our study strapped on smartwatches and explored apps made for shopping, health tracking, travel, entertainment, and financial management. Most quickly realized that phone app replicas wouldn’t be useful on a miniscule watch interface with limited input mechanisms. Plus, it just wasn’t comfortable for participants to peer at their wrists for long periods of time, so scrolling through lengthy content quickly became a literal pain.

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Smartwatch Value Driver #1: Get Intimate With Your Users


Despite their tiny size, smartwatches have big shoes to fill. They evoke Dick Tracy’s video watch, Ethan Hunt’s myriad wearable tech, and Q’s parade of futuristic gadgets that 007 inevitably destroys. These fictional contraptions recognize their owners and their owners’ needs, powering up exactly when required with critical information or the means to escape a sticky situation. James Bond’s gun in Skyfall is so personalized that it only fires when in contact with his distinct palm print.

Of course, these iconic devices are still science fiction—but that hasn’t stopped them from creating sky-high expectations. In our recent collaboration with AnswerLab to uncover the value of today’s smartwatches, participants in our study referenced Hollywood gadgets as a major motivation for wanting smartwatches of their own. Then we saw their disappointment as they experimented with apps that had no clue who they were or what they were trying to do.

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