Jon Picoult

May I Have Your Password?

What do you feel when you hear those five words? Surprise, probably… because in today's world of online accounts, passwords and PINs, we've been coached to never reveal such secrets. Surely any business that asks for your password must be running a scam, right? Well,…

A Patient Experience Rx For Healthcare Providers

Few organizations in the healthcare industry score well when it comes to the quality of the patient experience. It's rare that healthcare providers even view their patients as true customers – electing instead to shape patient interactions in a decidedly administrative and antiseptic manner. This…

The Worst Onboarding Indignity

I've written extensively in the past about the importance of managing the "customer" experience for job candidates and employees. Both are key constituencies that all businesses should seek to impress. Happy, satisfied candidates are more likely to choose your company over a competing employer....

Why are people getting so emotional about Amazon.com?

Global research firm Harris Interactive recently released the results of a consumer survey which rated companies on their "emotional appeal." Johnson & Johnson topped the list – no surprise, given the hallowed place J&J products hold in the minds of most consumers. For most people,...

You Can’t Script Great Service

Macy's, that venerable institution of American retailing, is working to become less "outstanding." At least, that's the guidance the company is giving its front-line sales associates, who in the past were provided with very specific, scripted steps for interacting with customers – including a directive...

The Heisenberg Principle and Your Customer Feedback Program

What in the world could physicist Werner Heisenberg know about soliciting customer feedback? It was back in 1927 that Heisenberg published a paper describing his "Uncertainty Principle." At the time, his theory was focused on describing the behavior of sub-atomic particles. But,...

Why Did The #1 Rated Firm In Customer Experience Go Bankrupt?

A few weeks ago, bookstore chain Borders filed for bankruptcy. Unlike many of the other companies that have succumbed to recent economic pressures, Borders was unique in one important respect: It was recently rated as having the best customer experience of any...

Yes, Virginia, There’s Still A Return On Customer Experience Investments

About a year ago, I wrote an article titled "Yes, Virginia, There Is A Return On Customer Experience Investments." It was an effort to help executives appreciate the macro impact of great customer experiences, by describing the results of a stock performance analysis that...

Are your customer satisfaction surveys

A friend of mine relayed a story to me last week about a customer survey from his cellular service provider. He had decided to switch phone carriers and, after he notified his current provider, he received a follow-up phone call from them asking if he'd...

Too Many Chiefs In The Kitchen

Does your company have too many chiefs in the kitchen? Having a "C-Level" position doesn't mean what it used to, as title inflation has rapidly expanded the ranks of organizational "Chiefs." Gone are the days when you could count the number of Chiefs on...

What The Split Peas In Aisle 6 Can Tell You About Your Company’s Customer...

You're in the grocery store looking for a particular item. After scanning the aisles and staring at the shelves in vain, you spot a store employee and ask him for help. What does the employee do – Point or Escort? Whether it's a...

Are Your Customers Hearing Voices?

Regular readers of this blog know that I'm a big fan of Vanguard, the mutual fund provider. How they articulate and fulfill their brand purpose offers a great model to others. But on a call with Vanguard yesterday, I was reminded of another way...

Why Netflix Customers Aren’t Seeing Red

Yes, every Netflix customer does see red when retrieving the company's DVDs from their mailboxes, thanks to the firm's signature envelope design. But rarely do they “see red” when actually using the Netflix service. The company, after all, pioneered a new approach...

Why Satisfaction With Home Insurers Is Falling Faster Than Home Prices

Earlier this week, J.D. Power released its latest annual study of consumer satisfaction with providers of homeowners insurance. Customer satisfaction with these companies fell to its lowest level in five years. (In a related, equally uplifting story for insurers, customer satisfaction with...

The Mystery of “S. Larson”

For those of you who have ever owned Citibank credit cards, "S. Larson" is probably familiar to you. It's the name that appears at the bottom of most all of Citibank's customer correspondence (along with a digitized signature that looks like it was...

Maggots On A Plane: A Tale Of Service Recovery

No, we're not talking today about the latest horror flick from Hollywood, some ill-advised sequel to 2006's "Snakes On A Plane." We're talking about the memorable journey of U.S. Airways Flight 1537, from Atlanta, Georgia to Charlotte, North Carolina, on June 29, 2010. As...

800-Line Greetings That Make You Cringe

While lots of attention is focused these days on new service delivery channels – mobile apps, social media, online communities, etc. – the good ol' 800-line remains the channel of choice for most consumers around the globe (preferred by 85%, according to a recent...

Are You Ready For The Turnover Tsunami?

Recruiting and retaining talented employees is a constant priority for any right-minded business. But the global economic downturn has created a workplace dynamic that portends a disturbing, post-Great Recession trend. The layoffs, cutbacks and stress inflicted on employees have left them discontented and disengaged....

The Dark Side of Satisfaction Surveys

Last summer, I wrote about how companies can easily fall into the trap of fielding customer surveys that tell them exactly what they want to hear (click here to see that post). I came across yet another example of this recently, when I took my...

The Towel Mat: How Little Things Can Make Big Impressions

Here in New England, the arrival of spring kicks off the annual rite of liberating one's car from its winter encasement of dirt, grime, road salt and other unidentified substances. While some prefer to do the scrubbing and polishing themselves, others opt for the car...

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