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

Customer SuccessCon West 2016
January 14, 2016
Berkeley, CA

CXPA’s 2016 European Insight Exchange
March 31, 2016

CXPA’s 2016 US Insight Exchange
May 3 – 4, 2016
Atlanta, Georgia

Design Management Conference Europe
May 23 – 25, 2016

Design Leadership Conference
September 25 – 27, 2016

Customer Experience First, Business Strategy Second


Happy CX Day! On this important day, I want to discuss an important topic: strategy.

In a recent post, I lamented how many companies today focus on business strategy first and customer experience strategy second. They decide what they’re going to do—and, as an afterthought, make decisions about how they’ll deliver their products and services.

Everyone loves to talk about how delivers a great customer experience. But one thing that gets overlooked in these conversations is the order in which its executives made decisions about both the what and the how. In Delivering Happiness, CEO Tony Hsieh talks about his unwillingness to compromise the customer experience—and some of the tough business decisions he had to make in order to protect it. The company:

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Customer Journey Mapping Workshop in November!


Join us for a hands-on customer journey mapping workshop in the heart of San Francisco!

I’m thrilled to announce our first open enrollment workshop:
November 17, 9:00 – 5:00 & networking dinner
November 18, 9:00 – 4:30

Whether you’re just getting started with customer journey mapping or looking for a methodology refresh, our two-day interactive workshop will help you develop the skills and know-how you need to effectively employ journey mapping within your organization.

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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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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!


SXSW voting has now closed. Huge thanks to everyone who voted for our session.

If you’re interested in learning how to map your customer journey, please join our workshop on November 17 & 18 in San Francisco!


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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