Think You’re Focused on Customers? Think Again.


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This isn’t so bad!

Today, I’m participating in the second Members Insight Exchange of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) in beautiful San Diego at the even more beautiful Hotel del Coronado.

It’s been a great start, including case studies, tools, roundtable discussions and more.

One of the first presenters was Simon Lowe from 1-800-GOT-JUNK? which has built an amazing organization on the premise of hauling junk. There is nothing super fancy about how they deliver – except the experience. It’s not like the guy with a pickup truck can’t offer the same service, it’s just the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? guys understand it’s not about the junk – it’s about the value.

Their story is pretty amazing. Growth in great numbers, poised to continue growing, and many customers not only love them but advocate for them. My favorite place to work is with a company that is growing from that original underdog into a powerhouse. The story of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is impressive because they figured out how not to lose their way. Too often, companies become enamored with their own success and start losing touch with the very experience that made them successful.

Here is how it typically works:

1. Founder starts a company because they believe they have something better/faster/more profitable.

2. Founder is who he or she is. There isn’t a whole lot of thought to the actual experience, but it’s great, simply because this is the organic byproduct of an enthusiastic and dedicated founder.

3. Company begins to grow. It is unlikely that the company will consider adding actual processes to consider the customer experience. They hope to hire the right people who will act like the founders and early team members.

4. Customers begin to defect and complain publicly. Loved how Simon Lowe rightfully pointed out that “Google never forgets.”

5. Company decides to focus on the experience – but the processes in place are not supportive of a holistic customer experience.


The point Simon and others have made here is that it takes a moment to step back and EVALUATE the experience in order to improve it. How do you know what your customers are saying if you don’t bother to listen? Why worry if your satisfaction rates are high?

Those are the moments when it’s vital to take a look around and take action to change things. Be proactive. Be paranoid, for goodness sake. Your customers WILL leave you. Wouldn’t you like to know why?

The great companies who are focused on the customers don’t become focused by accident. It’s dogged determination to get it right and be proactive.

Lots more to come from the CXPA. Stay tuned!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


  1. I agree with you that as companies grow, service is often one of the first areas to suffer. The larger the number of employees, the less drive and determination they have to make sure each and every customer gets a great experience. Building a large customer-focused company is not impossible, though.

    It's imperative that the founder of a company hires and trains his service reps personally, and indoctrinates the customer-centric mindset in them right from the beginning. I've made sure to do that as my own company grows, and it certainly has helped us meet our customers' needs. We need to teach not just what to say to people, but how to deal with pressure situations. A good customer service rep can turn an angry customer into a happy customer – nearly every time.

    The service environment as a whole is becoming more difficult. Studies have shown that almost half of customers would switch products based on poor support. Today's customers are more informed and more demanding. Customer service is no longer an afterthought – it's a competitive tool that's intimately connected with marketing and sales teams. Customers are forward thinking – they take service into account when making big purchases, and they will choose the product backed up by better service when they can.

    Businesses need to invest the time, energy and effort required to bring in the right people and the right organizational tools to get customer service right.

    Thanks for sparking the conversation!

    John-Paul Narowski, Founder – karmaCRM

  2. Hi John-Paul,
    You’re totally right that service is more challenging in some ways for companies than ever before. Customers are informed, active and LOUD now. They can post reviews in 30 seconds which can be either damning or praising.

    But I believe it’s more about the entire, proactive, holistic experience. The culture should be considered from recruiting employees to losing customers. It has to be. Otherwise, it’s a losing battle. The best companies get it right everywhere, not just the department labeled service.

    Thanks for chiming in! Appreciate it.


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