Get Some Healin'!

I sat in on a Webinar by a well-known experience evangelist yesterday. We reviewed case studies from some popular companies pioneering in customer experience, including REI, Dell, ING, Coke, Nike and others. It was a solid, compelling, albiet simple presentation, and the author's parent recommendations were straight forward.

I've read this Evangelist's book, and it's great. I think he's got a solid grasp of the fundamentals of good customer experience. In departing this webinar, however, I couldn't shake these nagging thoughts:

Evangelizing customer experience is easy. In fact, it's almost impossible to argue against! Preaching sermons on how to improve customer experience is also relatively easy. Engaging in case studies and brainstorming with clients about future possibilities is often a charismatic experience.

However, as we've discussed on this blog before, the biggest challenge for companies today is making innovative, integrated customer experience a reality. Companies today are simply mired in operational ailments, technology integration issues and other disorders that impair their ability to craft and deliver optimal experiences.

The deal is, today's corporations need more than Evangelism. They need Healing.

--> Healers understand that an individual's quality of internal function will drive external function: Companies (in effect, the patients) must therefore become more operationally efficient and customer-centric to effectively create and support the delivery, management and measurement of positive customer experience.

--> Healers realize that customer centric change requires an intense "laying on of hands" on a company's operations, process, policies, metrics, strategy, technology and culture.

--> Healers remind us that healing is rarely a miraculous incident, but a process: It begins with a firm dedication from a company to commit to healing and treatment; it takes time; it often requires several rounds of treatment.

--> Healers remain dedicated to addressing disorders, rather than treating symptoms -- and prescribe treatment that addresses core issues.

--> Healers focus on the best interest of the company, rather than to serving the interests of an individual, department, agency, software provider or other party.

--> Healers insist on testing as a critical method to evaluate treatment efficacy: They may be encouraged to see improvement in key areas, or a clearing up of symptoms, but evaluating results against pre-established benchmarks is key.

Companies today need Evangelists to inspire vision, creativity and motivation. Without Healers, however, today's corporations run the risk of becoming customer experience backsliders who are "all talk and no action." The message? Find yourself some Healers and apply some good medicine to your organization.


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I’m Leigh Durst, a 20 year veteran in business, operations, customer strategy, ecommerce, digital & social media and marketing. Simply put, I’m a strategist that helps companies (start-up to blue chip) achieve business shift, create more compelling online and offline experiences. I also write, speak and teach about experience design and next-generation business. I’m a futurist, visionary, strategist, doer and connector with a passion for people and helping others. When I’m not on the road, you’ll find me in the San Francisco bay area, working, beaching it and hanging out with my family and dog.


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