Customer Experience Lessons from the Presidential Debates


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The latest in my series of “Customer Experience Lessons from… ” posts is about the presidential debates. What can we learn from the debates, and maybe the entire campaigning process in general, that we can turn around and apply to the customer experience journey?

I’m really excited to continue this series. By writing not only about day-to-day interactions with our customers but also about the day-to-day aspects of our personal lives, my hope is to help people more clearly understand the principles of customer experience through their own life experiences. After all, we ask our employees to live the brand, right? And we say that customer experience is not a department.

Clearly then, why draw the line there? Why not accept that customer experience is not only a part of our professional lives but that we also live this journey every day outside of that, as well. (Well, at least I do… as you can see from some of the areas where I glean lessons!) We live it from both sides of the coin (as practitioners and as consumers), but we can also take away so much from what we experience in our personal lives and apply that to our professional journeys.

Believe it or not, when I sat down for just a few minutes to think about the presidential debates and the presidential campaigns, I came up with quite the extensive list of lessons as they relate to the customer experience. It was almost too easy.

  • The right leadership makes for a successful journey
  • A roadmap to the endgame will help guide the way
  • Know your audience
  • Be prepared for anything
  • Listen to your audience (voice of the customer)
  • Address the concerns of your constituents
  • Know your competition
  • But don’t focus on your competition; focus on what you do and what you offer, not what they do or don’t
  • Clearly communicate your value proposition, your purpose; people want to know how you differ
  • Stay focused on the topic(s) at hand, stay focused on the customer
  • Understand your customers’ needs and painpoints
  • Design your products, services, and marketing around fulfilling those needs and fixing those painpoints
  • Customers will ask tough questions
  • Be prepared to answer tough questions
  • Ask the right questions to get the information you need
  • Know your strategy and be able to speak to it without a doubt
  • Clearly communicate your strategy to your constituents, in detail
  • Be real and believable in your communications
  • Don’t over-promise and under-deliver
  • Get/earn buy-in from the grass roots level, inside your organization and outside
  • Grass roots efforts can make or break a campaign; they can make or break your culture and your customer experience success, too
  • Always be prepared to handle tough customers, customers who are irate or inflamed
  • Patience and composure are important qualities
  • Empathy is, too
  • Don’t play on customers’ fear and anxiety to manipulate a (service) situation
  • You will have promoters and detractors; embrace, and learn from, both
  • Your advocates will be key to your success
  • Earn and build customers’ trust over time, through actions and words
  • Change is good, but clearly communicate why and explain the impact
  • Then embrace the change
  • Continuous improvement is something an organization must build into it’s customer experience strategy/journey
  • Don’t pay lip service; say what you mean, mean what you say
  • Say what you’re going to do, do what you said
  • And don’t just say what you think your customers want to hear; put your money where your mouth is
  • Use outside-in thinking because inside-out thinking doesn’t work
  • Story telling is an effective tool to help both customers and employees relate to your purpose
  • Customers have a choice. Make it a clear and easy one for them
  • You work for the people; the customer is king
The endgame is winning the hearts, minds, and wallets of your customers… their vote. Customers have a choice. Make it a clear and easy one for them.

What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.Franklin D. Roosevelt

Image courtesy of Wordever Presidential Election 2012 Clips

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Annette Franz
Annette Franz is founder and Chief Experience Officer of CX Journey Inc. She is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She has 25+ years of experience in helping companies understand their employees and customers in order to identify what makes for a great experience and what drives retention, satisfaction, and engagement. She's sharing this knowledge and experience in her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).


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