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A Roadmap to Next Practices in Customer Experience

Customer experience best practices have evolved more slowly than customers have changed. Companies that want to thrive must build a roadmap for delivering customer experiences in sync with customers—experiences they find meaningful and of value.

August 17, 2011, Pleasant Hill, CA: Emperia, LLC and MindShift Innovation announce a new series of programs to help companies create roadmaps to designing and implementing Next Practices in customer experiences. Delivering compelling customer experiences leads to strategic advantage and sustainable profits and growth, but it is not a static endeavor. While best practices have evolved, customers have changed more quickly and more dramatically. These programs identify the changing customer milieu, provide an actionable framework and engage participants in creating next practices in customer experience—experiences today’s customers find compelling.

“Today’s customers differ in expectations, the challenges they face and their buying patterns and strategies, and this has changed the relationship between customers and companies” says John I. Todor, Ph.D., managing partner of MindShift Innovation. The implications, according to Todor, a psychologist and business strategist, are that companies must focus on winning mindshare of a changed and changing customers. Customer experience best practices have evolved more slowly than customers have changed. Companies that want to thrive must build a roadmap for delivering customer experiences in sync with customers—experiences they find meaningful and of value.

Research by Forrester indicates that less than one-third of customer experience initiatives reach their full potential. “One of the major reasons for this under-performance comes from a lack of a coherent and aligned customer experience strategy throughout the company,” say Del Langdon, Partner of Emperia, LLC. Langdon adds, “Our Next Practices Roadmap programs take company-wide view of the customer experience, provide an actionable framework for understanding the expectations and wants of today’s customers and, critically, include mentoring in the practicalities of getting organizations to shift to next practices”

Next Practices Roadmap programs address:

  • The business case for a focus on the customer experience.
  • A psycho-economic framework for creating and delivering compelling experiences to today’s customers.
  • An examination of best practices with an emphasis on making better.
  • Creating “Next Practices” based on new customer dynamics and emerging trends and technology.
  • An outside-in approach to innovating and aligning business practices across the value chain.
  • Social software systems and tools for staying ahead of the curve.
  • These programs are experiential. Todor and Langdon share their experiences and expertise and provide a comprehensive framework. Most importantly, they will engage and mentor participants in working with new ideas and collaboratively confronting real-world challenges. Participants will leave with a roadmap for seizing the benefits of customer experience next practices.

    Next Practice programs are designed for business leaders from all functional units within a company. To facilitate innovation and alignment across these units, people representing as many functional units as possible are encouraged to participate. Programs are offered to cross-corporate organizations or customized for individual corporations.

    For program details go to Roadmap to Next Practices, or contact either Del Langdon (del.langdon@emperiallc.com ) or John Todor (johnt@mindshifti.com )

    Del Langdon is a partner of Emperia, LLC (www.emperiallc.com) with extensive experience helping F1000 companies implement strategy-driven change and achieve sustainable results. She has deep in expertise customer experience but recognized that initiatives come up short unless there is corresponding innovation and alignment in partner and employee, business practices, technology-enabled solutions, and channel interaction design. Del co-authored (with Don Tapscott) a book, “Planning for Integrated Office Systems, A Strategic Approach”. Her large-scale strategy, integrated design and transformational change programs have been featured as Harvard and Stanford Business School cases and Forrester Research Report.

    John I. Todor, Ph.D. is the managing partner of MindShift Innovation (www.mindshifti.com). As a business strategist, mentor and psychologist, he constantly assess the shifting dynamics impacting what customers find meaningful and of value. MindShift Innovation programs are designed to help business leaders, employees and organizations make the mindshifts required to turn the uncertainty and complexity of change into new possibilities for creating and delivering value to customers. His book, “Addicted Customers: How to Get Them Hooked on Your Company” is the leading primer on the psychology of the customer experience. His other books are on Winning Mindshare and Social Media and Customer Relationships.

MindShift,New Normal

Distrust is Rising and Costing Your Company Money

The 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer is out and contains some distressing news for businesses in the USA and UK. There are, however, some insights on how a company can turn this situation into an opportunity.

Trust in business in the United States and United Kingdom dropped so dramatically over the past year that both are now considered “distruster” nations. Scary, they rank just above Russia at the bottom of the scale. Interestingly, the emerging economies who are coming out of the recession ahead of the USA and the UK, all rank near the top as “Truster” nations.

The lack of trust cost businesses money.

Without trust, things cost more, take more time, and exert more strain on an organization. Stakeholders will double-check every word you say before cooperating with you. They’ll make almost any task more ponderous and exhausting. (Jennifer Scott )

Before you dismiss this as an over-generalization, stop and think about your own interactions with someone you don’t trust versus someone you do. (more…)

MindShift,New Normal,Notable Quotes

Idea Gaps, Your Business and a Changing World


When things change as rapidly and disruptively as they do today there is a increased probability that we are not communicating.

The problem – the gap between the ideas people have in their head, the way they are seeing the world.

Here’s some food for thought on how idea gaps might be impacting you or your business.

Economist, Paul Romer, claims that in a supply and demand economy, an object gap determines who is rich and who is poor. Objects are things. While once true, Romer argues that this traditional view of economic does not fit today’s world. Ideas and idea gaps rule. Apple, the world’s most valuable company, Apple, own a few builds but employees some very creative people. General Motors who went bankrupt and is struggling to rejuvenate itself, own manufacturing plants and acres of unsold cars.

The Theory of Asymmetrical Information won economists, Akerlof, Spence and and Stigliz the Nobel Prize in 2001. In essence this theory says that when the buyer does not have the same information that the seller has, they will devalue the product. For example, when a potential buyer looks at a used car, he or she usually has no way to judge the mechanical soundness of the vehicle. This information gap forces the buyer to negotiate on the assumption that the car will, in fact, have mechanical deficiencies. They believe the “used car salesman” will say anything to close the deal and an adversarial, win-lose situation occurs. Contrast this with the case of the “certified pre-owned vehicle.” Lexus introduced this year’s concept ago and most auto companies have followed suit. The customer is guaranteed through a through inspection and warranty that the car is mechanically sound. It costs the dealer some money but customers are willing to pay a premium.

What happens when a company introduces something innovative and their customer base doesn’t get the value to the innovation? They dumb the product down by comparing it to existing products.

For more on “Idea Gaps” and customers see Addicted Customers: How to Get Them Hooked on Your Company.

Notable Quotes

The Old Solutions as New Problems

Perspectives on a New Normal in Business (pdf)

Notable Quotes

How Fast Are You Going Out of Date?

Perspectives on a New Normal in Business (pdf)

MindShift

Is this Bicycle Innovative

This bicycle was designed Phillipe Starck to stimulate the use of bicycles as a mode of transportation in the City of Bordeaux, France. Currently, about 10% of city transportation use bicycles. The hope is that by having a more user-friendly combo of a scooter (push to start, easy to put your feet on the ground and wait for traffic) and the efficiency of a bicycle, more people will use this eco-freindly form of transportation.

Is it an alternative form of a bicycle or is does the innovation lie in its potential to get more people using a two-wheeled for of transportation in an urban environment.

I think the latter! It is this kind of innovation that has the potential to change the way people behavior, to encourage them to be more environmentally friendly.

Does it make economic sense to innovate in this manner? If your haven’t read my post about, “Selling more by encouraging people to buy less.”

MindShift

Why Customer Mindshare Matters

There is a fundamental difference between winning market share and winning customer mindshare. Pursuing marketshare is a battle with competitors for business that generates little loyalty and declining profits. In contrast, winning customer mindshare creates a high-value relationship with customers, one that customers see as having value today and in the future.

See my YouTube video, Winning Customer Mindshare: A Leadership Imperative for a Changing World.

MindShift,New Normal

Engaged Employees and Business Innovation

Engaged employees are necessary to innovate, align and execute business practices that deliver on new possibilities to create value for customers.

But, most employees are at least partially disengaged at work. This disengagement perpetuates business-as-usual, not the realization of the new possibilities that will enable a company to adapt and thrive in a changing world.

See my YouTube video on Engaging Employees: A Leadership Imperative for a Changing World..

MindShift,New Normal

Business Acumen for a Changing World

Research by IBM and McKinsey indicates that the volatility, complexity and disruptions of today’s changing world business’s major challenge. Yet, most business leaders believe they and their organizations are poorly equipped to deal with these conditions. Most business leaders honed their skills by focusing on operational efficiency, a focus that worked well for most of the 20th century. Now, they must contend with a world where change and innovation external to their organizations undermines or destroys the value of their business-as-usual. To adapt and thrive they need to envision new possibilities to create and deliver value to customers. This requires “thinking differently.”

See my YouTube video on Thinking Differently.

Related blog posts:

Business Acumen in Short Supply but Greater Demand

Mental Nimbleness for Executives and How to Enhance It

MindShift

What Motivates Employees to Help Customers

Do you know how great it makes you feel when you can really help customers? Container Store Employee

The Container Store, a highly successful chain that sells products to organize and store things, starts with great employees and then makes them better.

In the career section of their website, they make it clear that they believe one great employee is worth three good ones. They hire great ones anytime they find them, not just when they have an opening. Think of how that makes a newly hire employee feel.

They are better paid than typical retail staff but the real difference lies in training — they get 16 times more training than the retail industry average! Who does the training? The president travels around the company to do his part but so do regular employees. Training is not just features and benefits of products but includes the interpersonal skills to “really help customers.”

Motivated, engaged and knowledgeable employees, what a concept!

For more stories about employee engagement and the psychological principles underlying compelling customer experiences, see my book, Addicted Customers: How to Get Them Hooked on Your Company.