Customer Experience Improvement Is Child’s Play


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Child’s Play

Toys can be learning tools. By guiding play, they socialize us. The Strong National Museum of Play is home to the National Toy Hall of Fame. To date forty-one toys have received recognition. The criterion for recognition includes:

1. Icon-status (widely recognized, respected and remembered)

2. Longevity (more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations)

3. Discovery (fosters learning and creativity)

4. Innovation (profoundly changed play or toy design)

Believe it or not, the Cardboard Box, and the Stick are on the list. Does that surprise you? When you think about it, the cardboard box and stick are both endless and unique sources of make-believe and fun. Inside a big cardboard box a child can be transported to a world of his or her own. And how often have you seen a child use their imagination to transform a stick into a sword, magic wand or light saber. As you can see “Hall of Fame” doesn’t necessarily mean high-tech or even store bought.

The Customer Experience

The customer experience is also unique and is determined by the way a company or brand is viewed through the eyes of the customer. The experience can be literal, from first point of contact onwards, or more conceptual. The organizations goal is to learn the customers’ needs at different interaction points in the experience, and to focus on what they are currently doing or can do in the future in order to nurture and build a stronger relationship with the customer. Blogging, twitting and social networking are examples of technologies and strategies that have the potential to guide and influence the customer experience. In many ways they represent marketing’s hot new toys.

Where does social media fit into your customer experience learning goals? Does that question make you feel like you’ve just had a stick poked in your eye? If you haven’t established the criteria for your Customer Experience Hall of Fame you should give that idea some thought. What might that criteria look like?

1. The channel or media is widely recognized, respected and used by your customers and prospects.

2. Can be leveraged over multiple segments and yet remain relevant.

3. Fosters learning and value between all constituents.

OK, those are some quick and interesting ideas, but what about just improving the “trust” factor? Customer trust can often be improved through employee training and empowerment. In my blog “Earning Customer Trust – and Trusting the Customer” I used a formula to help visualize trust:

Trust = (Rapport X Credibility) / Risk

• Rapport: A relation of respect and recognition. A sense of shared understanding.

• Credibility: Worthy of belief or confidence. Actions and words are in congruence.

• Risk: Safety and security are not an issue. Personal data and information is safe and used judiciously.

As you might guess the objective is to build a really high trust factor by increasing rapport and credibility while decreasing risk. Think of it as your cardboard box formula – that transports your customer experience.

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Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


  1. I like plain stick and cardboard box featured as great playing experiences — it’s a great reminder that it’s the fundamentals that count most. Despite our leaning toward glitzy efforts to improve customer experiences, basic trust plays the biggest role, as you point out. If trust is low, the rest just doesn’t matter! Customers care most about hassle-free experiences — we tend to think of the customer experience as primarily promotional, yet it’s mostly operational. We also tend to think of the customer experience too narrowly — it usually begins at the point of realizing they need a solution related to your brand category, and extends well beyond the sale.

    Lynn Hunsaker,, mentors executives for superior customer profitability by preventing customer hassles and churn.


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