Event: June 6 – “Create a Great Customer-Inspired Experience”

Join me at the upcoming Performance Excellence Network event.  Details:

Knowledge Forum: Create a Great Customer-Inspired Experience (Minneapolis)

June 6, 2013 | 7:30 am – 9:00 am
Jim Tincher, Senior Business Advisor with Satisfaction Management Systems
Create a Great Customer-Inspired Experience

A great customer experience begins with a solid understanding of your customers. But it also requires that your employees use those insights to build programs that your competitors cannot duplicate.

The Performance Excellence Network (formerly the Minnesota Council for Quality) is pleased to welcome Jim Tincher, Senior Business Advisor with Satisfaction Management Systems, to our June 6 PEN: “Create a Great Customer-Inspired Experience.”

Jim will share the three keys to build a great customer-inspired experience for your business, and you will pick up actionable steps you can implement literally tomorrow! A great customer experience leads to enhanced loyalty and significantly higher financial returns. Join this discussion to learn more!

The discussion is from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on June 6 (networking and continental breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m.) at MCTC, 1501 Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis (near the Basilica). Admission to PEN is FREE for Network members; $15 for partner organizations; $30 for the public. Space is limited so register today by emailing brian.lassiter@performanceexcellencenetwork.org.

Two Customer Experiences Gone Wrong – LinkedIn, Arby’s

LinkedIn Invitation

Two national companies have created lessons for all of us.

First, from LinkedIn

#1:  I received the email on the right from LinkedIn today. I don’t actually know anything about the LinkedIn Contacts feature yet.  It’s probably really good.  But can’t they be more selective in choosing a contact to display? Since it’s unlikely I’ll use LinkedIn as “an opportunity to say hello” to my wife!

They probably did not deliberately select somebody with my same last name, but they should definitely weed out contacts who do.

The lesson:  It’s impossible to think through every possible result of your campaigns, but do you test them thoroughly before launching?  Had LinkedIn sent this email to all employees first, they would have found this problem before going live to customers.  Do you test before launch?

Next, from Arby’s

#2: Have you bought something at the Arby’s drive-through recently?  A polite woman’s voice comes on asking if you want to order whatever product they’re promoting.  You say “No thanks,” and the conversation continues in a very different voice.  Apparently, Arby’s uses and actress to pre-record the offer to start the conversation, then uses an employee from there on.

My local McDonald’s also tested this idea, but abandoned it quickly.  Who could think this is a good idea?  If the lift gained from the actress’s invitation so great that it makes up for the jarring experience that follows? My favorite is when the accent-neutral actress’s invitation is followed by a Hispanic man asking if I want curly fries with my order.

The lesson: While most of us don’t have a drive-through, do you create a similar jarring customer experience when we conduct the inevitable hand-offs?  More importantly, do you take the time to personally walk through your customer experience?  Because one walk-through should be all it takes to realize this is a mistake.

Join a CXPA Event Near You


Are you a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association?  I just joined about a month ago, but have already kicking myself for not joining long ago.  It is a wealth of information about best Customer Experience practices, with both providers and client-side professionals sharing their expertise for free.  All this for less than $200 a year!

Minneapolis readers should consider joining us at the upcoming CXPA Minnesota Local Networking Event.  This is a terrific opportunity to meet your local customer experience community – and I also had a preview of the menu, and it sounds incredible.  More information:

Re-Imagine Your Customer Experience Journey! Understanding customers holistically and adapting your business to their expectations are two common obstacles facing executives today. Please join your fellow CXPA members along with Ingrid Lindberg, Chief Customer Experience Officer for Prime Therapeutics and a founding member of CXPA and Kendall Nygard, VP of Service Experience for Ameriprise for this CXPA Minnesota Local Networking Event.

Ingrid and Kendall will lead an interactive discussion on how to re-imagine and re-design your Customer Experience through leveraging touch point processes, enablement tools, and technology. One of the best tools your organization can utilize when embarking on the customer experience transformation is Journey Mapping. Amerprise has recently gone through the Journey Mapping process and will provide us with their insight on lessons learned and guidance on where and how to begin.

Date: Monday, April 22, 2013

Time: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Location: 900 2nd Ave S
Fourth Floor Room #3
Minneapolis, MN

A Case Study in Loyalty: The Cabela’s CLUB

Cabela's Logo How do you create a world-class customer loyalty program? Focus less on providing best-in-class benefits and more on creating a great customer experience. That’s the advice of Sean Baker, the incoming CEO of Cabela’s World’s Foremost Bank and leader of the Cabela’s CLUB program.

I interviewed Sean to learn more about Cabela’s CLUB and its critical role in driving their customer experience. The lessons certainly apply to retailers as a class, but also have something to teach anybody wanting to create better relationships with customers.

CLUB Components

First, a quick background on the program. The Cabela’s CLUB is a loyalty program paired with a Visa card. It began as a partnership with a small regional bank as a way to give their best customers free gear, but in 2001 Cabela’s brought the program in-house. They are now one of only two retailers who entirely own their own bank to run their loyalty program (Nordstrom’s is the other). Read more

Market Research + Analytics Leads to Healthcare Success

All too often, companies separate their market research from their business analytics.  It can be difficult to combine the two, but when it’s done the impact can be incredible.  Last October the book Win with Advanced Business Analytics was released, including a case study discussing my work with a client a few years ago:

Win with Advanced Business Analytics“Jim Tincher, a customer experience consultant and blogger, combined analytics with market research interviews to gain deep customer insights for his client, on of the nation’s largest health savings account banks.  This bank works with thousands of companies who offer these HSAs to their employees.  Jim notes, “Unfortunately, a review of the data showed that even when employers offered to contribute hundreds of dollars into the HSA, 1 out of 7 employees failed to open the account, forfeiting the money.  The first step was to conduct an analytics review.  We found no impact of demographics of the participant on this behavior.  The single factor that drove the issue was the participant’s employer.  Simply put, at some companies nearly everybody followed through to pen the HSA, but at others, there were thousands of employees who missed out on up to $1,000 of the employer’s money, all because they did not take the time to open the HSA.” Read more

Join Jim at the HOBY Cheers Dinner

I’ve mentioned HOBY in a few posts – it’s the youth leadership non-profit that I’m passionate about.  At HOBY we bring the top sophomores from 70 Minnesota high schools to a weekend leadership conference, expose them to thought leaders, and challenge them to change their communities through giving at least 100 hours of community service.

On February 23 we will host our annual Cheers Dinner where we recognize those who truly go above and beyond.  It’s one of the highlights of the year – and this year I’ve been asked to give the keynote speech.  If you’re in Minnesota, please consider joining me at this wonderful event.  Details are below:

HOBY Minnesota Cheers! Dinner 2013: Share an Inspiration!


Please join us at the Fourth Annual HOBY Cheers! Dinner to recognize and celebrate OUTSTANDING youth leadership and spirit in our communities.

  • When:  Saturday, April 6, 2013, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Where:  Bethel University Underground

The Cheers! Dinner honors HOBY Youth Ambassadors who have achieved OUTSTANDING service in their communities, as well as recognizing inspiring individuals demonstrating commitment to youth and community development.

Dinner and event program are included with paid registrations!  Purchase tickets here.  I hope to see you there!


Ten Ways to Celebrate Customer Experience Heroes

In my last post I discussed the importance of creating customer experience heroes to reinforce efforts to make your customer experience great.  This follow-up post gives you ten ways to celebrate those customer experience heroes without promoting them. Just to be clear: Promoting a hero is fine if the situation calls for it.  But often promoting your hero takes her away from the role she loves. Use caution before promoting a hero out of the heroic role!

With that, here are ten ideas: Read more

Create Change Through Customer Experience Heroes

What gets measured may get managed, but what gets celebrated gets repeated.

Improving your customer experience requires you to use every tool at your disposal.  Voice of the Customer research is obviously critical.  Understanding your existing Customer Satisfaction Survey or Net Promoter Scores is also important.  But while they monitor your status, these alone will not create change.  You need to find those bright spots in your organization where your customer is being well-served and promote them as much as possible.  You need to create customer experience heroes.

Customer Experience Hero

Heroes define a company, showing what is important.  When a company celebrates sales, they sell more – but perhaps at the expense of delivery issues.  When it celebrates product management, new products come out quickly – including those without customer demand.  But companies with great customer satisfaction use the Voice of the Customer data to understand their level of customer satisfaction, and then celebrates those who engage customers at a superior level. Read more

Guest Post: Personal Touches Make Great Online Customer Experiences

Today we have a guest post by Andrew, the Marketing Manager at GoInstant:

For all the great stuff that the internet can do, building a personal connection is much easier in person. Go to a shoe store, a car dealership, or even a McDonald’s, and you’ll notice that the human touch matters. To create great customer experiences, offline stores have learned how to cultivate strong personal connections with their customers. It’s how they provide value in a world where they can’t compete with Amazon on price. Whether it’s a smile at the cash register, or a calendar from your real estate agent, they know that great customer experiences need a bit of wonder in them. If they can provide that bit of wonder through a personal connection, loyal customers will keep coming back.

A new generation of e-commerce companies is realizing that they can also make strong personal connections with their customers. By using those connections to build unforgettable customer experiences – ones that only offline businesses had been capable of in the past – they’re competing with much more established e-commerce companies, like Amazon and Zappos, who haven’t seized on the importance of building personal connections. In other words, incredible customer service isn’t enough today. You need a more personal, human connection with your customer in order to really make their experience a great one. Read more

Customer Experience Irony

I attended a webinar today titled Understanding the Voice of the Customer: How to Effectively Gather and Leverage Customer Insight from Multiple Channels to Enhance the Customer Experience. I’m obviously all about both Voice of the Customer and the Customer Experience. But they immediately lost me when the presentation began with:

UnderstandingVOC-FirstPage Read more