Monday, June 18, 2018

Sharing Secrets about Customer Experience Marketing

When one is active in social media, one can build an amazing and inspiring network. Several years ago, due to a passion for customer experience marketing, I met Annette Franz on Twitter and soon after for lunch since we both call Southern California home. Annette has shared useful quotes on my blog, and since too many businesses lack an understanding about walking a mile in their customers’ shoes, I decided to invite Annette to appear on my blog to share some advice. Highlights from our Q&A follow below Annette’s introductory bio.

Annette Franz is founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in laying the groundwork required to establish a customer experience (CX) strategy that will drive culture transformation efforts. She has 25 years of experience in the CX space and has been recognized as one of “The 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter” by Business Insider and by several other organizations as a top influencer in Customer Experience. She is an active CXPA member, as a CX Expert and CX Mentor; she also serves as an executive officer on the association’s Board of Directors. You can find Annette online at her website at, on Twitter @AnnetteFranz, and on LinkedIn at

QUESTION: What appeals to you about customer experience marketing?
ANNETTE FRANZ: Any time any part of an organization puts the customer at the center of what it’s doing, it’s a win-win – and, obviously, that is very appealing to me as a customer experience consultant.

Customer experience is the sum of all the interactions that a customer has with an organization over the life of the relationship with the brand; it also includes the feelings, perceptions, and emotions elicited by those interactions. Marketing is one of the touchpoints that a customer has with an organization; the interactions with marketing are typically in the form of messaging, branding, communication, etc.

Customer experience marketing is all about putting the customer at the center of marketing efforts and shifting the focus from trying to sell to actually engaging with customers in a timely, personalized, and relevant manner – with an intended outcome of retaining customers through a better experience.

QUESTION: How do you explain the difference between brand advocates and brand ambassadors?
ANNETTE FRANZ: To me, the biggest difference between the two is that a brand ambassador is hired by the company and is usually paid, while a brand advocate is a customer who voluntarily promotes the brand and influences others because he’s had a great experience – and wants others to know about it and to join the brand community. I think the other difference is that brand advocates are the real deal; they are customers who use a brand’s products and services and are loyal customers. You don’t necessarily know that this is the case with brand ambassadors. I’ve seen ambassador solicitation campaigns that are quite random, i.e., the individual who receives an invitation has never used the product.

QUESTION: How can brand advocates and brand ambassadors each create a positive brand experience?
ANNETTE FRANZ: The best way that both can help to create a positive experience is through providing feedback to the company about its products and services. This might come in the form of providing direct feedback based on their own experience and usage, bringing to the company what they hear from others who’ve used the brand’s products or services, participating in journey mapping workshops and other co-creation exercises, and more.

QUESTION: How do you define a customer journey map, and how do you convince companies to create one?
ANNETTE FRANZ: A journey map is a visual story-capturing/storytelling exercise during which you paint the picture of the customer experience for a specific interaction by walking in the customers’ shoes to capture their steps, needs, and perceptions of the interaction.

Journey mapping is a creative process that allows you to understand – and then redesign – the customer experience. The output is not just a “pretty picture;” once the map is developed, it is meant to be a catalyst for change.

Quite honestly, the best way to convince companies to journey map – other than sharing real-life examples – is to explain to them that there is no other tool to really help them understand the end-to-end customer experience. I always say that you can’t transform something you don’t understand. Journey maps help you understand; they make it very clear where things are going well and where they are not.

Fortunately, it takes a lot less convincing today than it did five years ago. People understand what a great tool it is. But the real key, as with any other information you have about your customers and their experiences, is to use what you learn to make things better. So think of journey maps not just as a tool but, more importantly, as a process.

QUESTION: How do you measure customer experience success?
ANNETTE FRANZ: You can’t measure customer experience success until you talk about goals and desired outcomes of individual customer experience improvement initiatives. You will also need to identify what success looks like for all stakeholders including employees, customers, and the business. Then you can measure it.

Examples of business success metrics include: cost savings, retention (employee and customer), revenue/recurring revenue, profitability, customer lifetime value, share of wallet, and first call resolution.

Examples of customer success metrics include net promoter score, customer satisfaction, customer effort score, repeat purchases, ease of doing business, transaction accuracy, first call resolution, expectations met, speed of resolution, and quality of resolution.

Examples of employee success metrics include: employee engagement, employee satisfaction, employee happiness, retention, promotion rates, learning and development metrics, and eNPS.

My gratitude and appreciation to Annette for appearing on my Blog and for sharing her insights about the very important specialty known as customer experience marketing.

Image Credit: Industry Week.

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