Broken Promises: United Airlines Edition

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On September 24, 2013, United Airlines sent out an email announcing its renewed commitment to customer experience and the resurrection of its “Fly The Friendly Skies” tagline from decades past. The email read, “‘Friendly’ now means more than it ever did. It means being user‑friendly. In other words, flyer‑friendly. We’re giving you an unmatched global network with more onboard product features, better technology and, of course, great customer service.”

The very same day that United sent that email, a friend of mine, let’s call her Jenny, boarded a cross-country flight from Boston to San Francisco. She’s a loyal United customer with “1K” status, which means that she flies more than 100,000 miles a year on United.

As Jenny stepped on the plane that day, she explained to the flight attendant that she often gets chilly on long flights and asked if she could have a blanket. The flight attendant quickly asked where she was seated, and upon learning that she was in 12A, told Jenny that she could only give blankets to people in first class.

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Journey Mapping With Customers: What’s In It For Them?

I love bringing our clients’ customers into journey mapping workshops. There’s nothing quite like hearing about customers’ enjoyable, confusing, and downright frustrating experiences while talking with them face to face.

But at the outset of our journey mapping projects, many of our clients worry that they won’t be able to convince any customers to join them. What’s in it for the customers, anyway? What value will they get for their time? The answer varies a bit from workshop to workshop, but generally customers can expect to:

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On Fear And Daring

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I stood unsteadily on the side of the mountain, desperately clutching a thick chain that had been anchored deep into the rock next to me. My vision narrowed. My breath became shallow. My legs started to shake violently. I found myself unable to move. Several feet away, the trail that I was on abruptly ended, and a sheer cliff met the ground 1000 feet below.

I was supposed to be having fun. My husband and I were on vacation in Zion National Park and had decided to hike to the top of Angels Landing. Several weeks before, I had seen pictures of this harrowing trail steeply ascending a narrow mountain ridge—and admittedly, I had been nervous. Very nervous. But as an avid hiker, I wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity to tackle this breathtaking trail.

I just thought that the “breathtaking” part would be figurative, not literal.

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Forward To New eBook on Customer Success

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This is my forward to Guy Nirpaz’s new eBook on customer success, Farm Don’t Hunt, available today on Amazon.

***

The disciplines of marketing and sales have traditionally owned a controlling stake in building customer relationships. On the surface, this makes a certain amount of sense: We need to make customers aware of our offerings and get them in the door.

And certainly, this focus on attracting, or hunting, new customers has been a short-term win for businesses—a fix for executives and shareholders who need the instant gratification of higher and higher revenues at the end of the each quarter.

But for many hunters, the long-term results have been disastrous. That’s because these organizations have failed to understand and focus on the entirety of the customer journey. Specifically, they’ve neglected those touchpoints and interactions that come after the point of sale. They’ve ignored the needs that customers have as they actually learn, use, and get help with a product or service.

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Customer Journey Mapping Workshop in March!

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Join us for a hands-on customer journey mapping workshop in historic Philadelphia!

I’m thrilled to announce our next open enrollment workshop:
March 23, 9:00 – 5:00 & networking dinner
March 24, 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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The Always Up-To-Date Guide To CX Events

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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 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
London

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

Design Management Conference Europe
May 23 – 25, 2016
Amsterdam

Design Leadership Conference
September 25 – 27, 2016
Boston

Customer Experience First, Business Strategy Second

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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 Zappos.com 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 Zappos.com 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!

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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

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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

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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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