Today’s interview is with Greg Kihlström, author and Principal at GK5A, who advise organisations on customer experience, marketing technology, and digital transformation initiatives. He is also the host of The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast. Greg joins me today to talk about his new book: House of the Customer – A blueprint for one-to-one, customer-first, employee-driven business transformation, customer journey orchestration, his own podcast and a bunch of other things.
This interview follows on from my recent interview – Imagine having to type a ticket using a gaming console – Interview with Tony Adams of Supercell – and is number 455 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.
Here are the highlights of my chat with Greg:
- The book intends to bridge the gap between an organization’s Northstar goals with respect to customer experience and how you actually incrementally get there, and what you actually need to build in your organization to do that.
- The book uses a house metaphor to bring all of the pieces together.
- The house’s foundation is the organisation’s culture – an agile customer-centric culture.
- The walls of the house are business goals and business outcomes.
- In the middle are three important pillars: understanding our customers, serving our customers and listening to our customers.
- Here, the book details some of the first-party data struggles that organizations currently have and how to overcome them.
- The roof over the house is the processes and the systems that we have in place to basically protect us when things go off course.
- To facilitate that, you must have articulated and agreed North Star goals.
- These have to cover everything from a 1 to 1 personalisation vision, first-party data strategy, your customer lifetime value model and an agile customer-centric culture.
- Personalization should be something that gets woven into every interaction and it’s not just about sales and marketing.
- An 18-month plan is an exercise in futility.
- Watch out for the HIPPO effect: the highest-paid person in the room’s opinion.
- The answer to the question “When was the last time you sucked at something?” will tell you a lot about how ‘agile’ you are in your thinking and way of working.
- To achieve an agile customer-centric culture, you’ve got to get comfortable with failure because that’s the only way we can learn and grow.
- Greg’s Punk CX word(s): Personalized
- Greg’s Punk XL brand: American Express.
Greg is an advisor and consultant to top companies on customer experience, marketing technology, and digital transformation initiatives, currently Principal at GK5A. He is also the host of The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast. He is a two-time CEO and Co-Founder, leading both to be acquired. As a strategist, digital transformation, and customer experience advisor, he has worked with some of the world’s top brands, including Adidas, Coca-Cola, Dell, FedEx, GEICO, HP, Marriott, Toyota, and VMware.
He is a member of the School of Marketing Faculty at the Association of National Advertisers, and currently serves on the University of Richmond’s Customer Experience Advisory Board. Greg is Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certified, and is an Agile Certified Coach (ICP-ACC).
Greg has had multiple best–selling books, including his Agile Brand Guides series on marketing technology platforms and practices. His eleventh and most recent book, House of the Customer (2023) discusses the 1:1 personalized customer experience of the future, and how brands can organize the people, processes, and platforms that enable it. Greg is a regular contributing writer to MarTech, Fast Company, Forbes and CMSWire. Greg was named one of ICMI’s Top 25 CX Thought Leaders two years in a row, and named a Thinkers360 Top 10 Thought leader in Marketing and Customer Experience.
Check out Greg’s book and the work that he does. Say Hi to him on Twitter (@gregkihlstrom, @GK5Astrategy and @theagile_brand) and feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn here.
Image by Jean-Paul Jandrain from Pixabay