Think You're Focused on Customers? Think Again.

by Jeannie Walters

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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!

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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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