The Secret Ingredient? Passion.

by Jeannie Walters

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Trying to summarize my thoughts around the first Chicagoland Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) meetup is like trying to describe one of those strange dreams we have. “It was my house, but not my house, and there were people there that were friends, but I had never met them.”

On a beautiful, bright evening in Chicago, overlooking Lake Michigan and Navy Pier from the iconic John Hancock Building, about 30 professionals gathered to discuss our favorite subject – customer experience. (Thanks to Brandtrust for hosting us in their beautiful office and to Nicor’s Customer Experience team for sponsoring great food and drinks.) We came from a variety of organizations, including consultancies, agencies, and one of the largest utility companies in the U.S. And while our immediate goals may differ, our long-term vision remained the same.

Each person there was passionate about improving the customer experience. YOUR customer experience.

And while some of us geeked out over new technology to improve speech analytics, the majority of stories shared were about the one customer we remember. One of my favorite stories was about the approval of a fleet of trucks, whose drivers would be paid overtime, to help a woman whose husband was recovering from cancer. “Did it make us money? No way, but it was the right thing to  do.”

This is why I’m passionate about what I do. This is why we’re all passionate about it. It matters. Not just to the companies we work for but also to each individual person who is impacted by experience – good and bad. I sometimes wax philosophical about why I love what I do. When it comes down to it, I truly believe improving the small experiences that add up to the greater customer experience improves lives. As customers, we are guarded, jaded and just plain angry. What happens when we are pleasantly surprised by something going right? Magic. Not just in the moment, but in the person’s life. I know I represent a majority of customers by being a busy mom. One bad experience in a carefully choreographed day can ruin the whole 24 hours. No thank you. Let’s have magic instead.

This local group will be meeting again, and we want you to join us. We’re planning speakers, roundtables, best practice sharing, and more. Check out the global CXPA site, join our group on LinkedIn, or just get in touch with me. I have a feeling more magic lies ahead.


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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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