What Happens In Vegas Shouldn’t Always Stay In Vegas


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Dave Fish, CEO of CuriosityCX, offers an insider’s peek at his  session, 10 Ways to Reboot Your CX Program, held this year at CXFusion. 

I had the privilege of speaking to over 100 CX professionals at the MaritzCX Customer Experience Event, CXFusion, in Las Vegas last month.  Though I came back monetarily depleted, the energy I picked up from the attendees more than compensated for the fiduciary consequences of my misguided blackjack adventures.

During the one-hour session, we were able to take a look at 10 ways in which to “reboot” CX programs that may have stagnated. Here’s a look at the learnings we examined, and the important takeaways that are needed to breathe fresh life into your CX program.

Show Respect

Make sure you are asking contextually relevant questions, not bone-headed or even offensive ones.  Here’s an offender for your review.  NPS is all the rage with the jet-setting crowd, but asking “How likely are you to recommend…” make no sense in this context.

Also, don’t insult your customers by lacking personalization.  I have seen “Dear Customer” on the cover letter of someone who had just bought a $100k vehicle! If you know their names of your customers, then use it.  If you know more about them, use that too! People like to know that you know and respect them. This isn’t research…its customer experience work.  Your survey is the extension of your brand.


To build on that, it is important to let your customers express themselves in the specific way they want to be heard.  Open ended questions with prompts is a great way to get good insight. And with text analytics developments, let the machines do the work versus your customers, in terms of expressing how they feel about your brand.

Short and Fun

Let’s face it, surveys can be boring. But it’s possible to re-frame this endeavor and don’t think of them as surveys. Think of them as communication tools.  Instill your brand into them.  Make them brief and relevant to your customers.  Most of all, ask yourself if you would fill it out. If the answer is “meh,” then back to the drawing board.

Giving Back

Ever have someone ask you a question and then ignore the response? Sucks, doesn’t it? Yet, hundreds of companies are doing that to their customers everyday. Nothing is more frustrating to customers than filling out a survey and having nothing happen as a result.

Pavlov’s dog would stop responding to something without a reward, and so will your customers.

Response rates have been on the decline for years. Why? Customers get nothing in return for their time.  Is your customer reporting a problem? How about trying to fix it right there and then; simply connecting it with knowledge and any management toolkit that can be mustered.

The marketing folks within your own company probably have a ton of information about the way your product or services work. Stitch it directly to your survey tool and get great feedback and solve problems all at the same time.

Solutions are there, it’s all about taking the steps necessary to achieve them. Stymied about how to program your car controls so it cooperates with your garage door opener?  It’s an easy fix, but folks just don’t bother to learn how.  Being armed with knowledge will get the garage door to open, and similarly, knowledge can reinforce the experiences that customers are having.

Data Weaving

You wouldn’t ask a grandma their age; you wouldn’t ask a stranger their income. Certain questions are offensive, and often people lie about them anyway. There are better sources of data that are arguably as good or better than self-reported data.  Using third party sources from companies such as Experian, Axcion, Harte Hanks, and even the Census Bureau help to augment your knowledge of your customers.  It isn’t perfect, but will still provide insights.


CX isn’t research.  What makes it so different is that we are not only here to learn from our customers, but most importantly we are here to help; immediately, if possible.  There are many tools available that can simply be integrated into your CX system to improve the program overall.

Action planning and case management tools are obvious, but what about collaboration tools, learning management systems (LMS), performance management systems and others?  You don’t have to build this stuff yourself, there are so many great tools that are all ready to go.  Heck, your organization may already have them and it is just a matter of plug-n-play. Start conversations, see what is already available to utilize.


Most CX systems fail not because they are bad, but because no one even knows or cares about them. Communication is absolutely key in a successful reboot of a CX program. Treat it like an internal marketing campaign and get help from your marketing department (or outside).

The first thing is to make people aware of your program and ensure it has support from the top.  Step 2 is to engage people and make it relevant to them personally.  Once you have their buy in, it’s time to educate them.  Teach them how to use that platform and those tools.  Motivated ignorance is still ignorance.  Speaking of which…


You have to inspire in order to make your CX efforts flourish. This means having a quarterback who is both a cheerleader and tireless task master. Celebrate stories of success, and hold up to the masses the examples of how it is done.  Southwest Airlines does an amazing job of telling these stories, such as the story of Hanover Bear.  Recognition, both social and monetary, have been shown to be key drivers of successful CX programs.


The power of the narrative is powerful and primal. Since days around the campfire we told stories to get our points across and call people to action. While it’s imperative to have the chief at the front of the campfire, everyone needs to pitch in and share what they have.  Keep it short, keep it clear, keep it consistent. But most of all, keep it coming!


The number one demise of CX programs can be found in an impotence to create meaningful business change.  You must demonstrate success.  This means not just sitting behind the desk and staring at dashboards while hoping for the best, but to be putting forth the energy and efforts crucial to improvement.

Agile CX™ is an approach by which you take incremental steps to test and learn on a small scale. Like evolution, it’s not just one test at a time, but as many as your organization can handle.  Having multiple real world CX experiments happening at a small scale all at once will result in many many failures.  But those failures will be small and in a controlled environment. It will also create at least one modest success, which is what’s needed. Use success and build on it; hold it up to the light and celebrate it.

Dealer Hits on Soft 17

CX is a risky game, but defiantly less risky than gambling in Vegas! Simply put: if you don’t play, that is a surefire way to fail. Now is the time to sit down and ante up.  Use one or more of the strategies above to stack the deck in your favor.

Sharing these truths at CXFusion with other CX Professionals sparked an excitement for improvement, but not everything that happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas. With countless solutions and CX innovations available, the first step to success comes when you are ready to pick up the dice and get rolling.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Fish, Ph.D.

Dave is the founder of CuriosityCX, an insights and advisory consultancy for Customer Experience. Formerly he was CMO for MaritzCX, now an InMoment company. He has 25+ years of applied experience in understanding consumer behavior consulting with Global 50 companies. Dave has held several executive positions at the Mars Agency, Engine Group, J.D. Power and Associates, Toyota Motor North America, and American Savings Bank. He teaches at the Sam Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of "The Customer Experience Field Guide" available on Amazon and BookLogix.com.


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