3 Customer Experience Themes from SXSW Interactive

by Jeannie Walters

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customer experience design schema

I dare say people who don’t even know they’re discussing it are thinking about the overall customer experience. So here are 3 themes I’ve heard from panels at South By Southwest Interactive last week.

1. Employees matter. Their empowerment is the single most important thing you can do to engage customers.

Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler covered this quite a bit in their Empowered session. Your employees will empower themselves whether you like it or not – it’s best if you play along and empower them for good.

2. Support needs a seat at the table.

Frank Eliason certainly made a strong case for this in the Kill Your Call Center session. Don’t just share the good customer support stories with your executives – share the real life nightmares. Otherwise, it’s too easy to marginalize support. It’s part of the greater experience and should be treated as such.

3. Think big. But start small.

Social media isn’t going anywhere, but you don’t need a million Facebook fans to qualify as a brand with evangelists. Laura Beck of My Striped Shirt asked us to consider if we could get what we needed from 100 True Fans – a concept she credits to Scott Olson.

It’s an interesting question. Is 100 true fans enough? I’m on the fence on this one but believe if you create a true, memorable and engaging experience for 100 fans they’ll do more for you than 10,000 “fans” created by a short-term promotion.

My mind has been processing all the information, connections and ideas from SXSW Interactive. Essentially, the entire event gives me hope. Yes, there were logistical nightmares and annoying egomaniacs and too many people. But overall, there is a sense of innovation and “yes, and” mentality that is energizing. And isn’t that what experience design should be about?


Photo credits:  Ben Saren and draggin

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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