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“How do you stay inspired, Nienke?”

“What companies do you want to visit and learn from their CX secrets?”

“Where do you get new material for your speeches and masterclasses?”

Three random questions I got from CX peers and personal friends. Very valid questions, because I am a teacher to others, inspire others, get them to act. But occasionally my material also needs to be refreshed.

The inspiration is out there in daily life. That’s what I often blog about, but I also have to stay ahead. Bring best practices to my business to help others. So that was the WHY behind my CX study trip.

In this YouTube video I explain the Why and How of the trip and give you the insights how you could organize it yourself 😊. Because, let me be honest with you, it was pretty easy to organize. Just book time in your agenda, make sure you have the money (not cheap, and I will let you know afterwards if it was worth it) and just DO it.

If you want to follow me with my learnings, subscribe to my Youtube channel or join my monthly CX greetz list. I’ll send you a short informative and fun newsletter once a month to help you grow your CX leadership, subscribe here.

And…. this year I’ll start with an inspirational BANG. I am traveling to the USA to follow a course at the Disney Institute and continue my American CX adventure with a tour at Zappos behind the scenes and two interviews with executives. I am so looking forward to broaden my horizon. To see with my own eyes how these two brilliant examples organize Customer Experience.

The thing I hear often is that fellow Customer Experience Professionals work hard. They are focused on realizing their customer centric transformation, improving NPS and CES (or other customer metrics, but that is another blog post 😊) and engaging the organization. You might also recognize  that as you are working hard, it can make you feel alone.

Yes, you are the only person responsible for CX within your company (or together with your team). You are the expert and your non CX-colleagues expect you to inspire them when it comes to customers. So how do you stay inspired? You probably have your own “Go-To-Inspirational-Places” and in this blog I’ll share mine: 25 suggestions to find CX inspirations, stories, news, facts and figures.

CX People to follow on Twitter

I decided to copy their Twitter biography’s. Nice and to the point.

  1. Colin Shaw: Customer Experience Thought Leader | Recognized by LinkedIn as World’s Top Business Influencer | CEO, Beyond Philosophy CX Consultancy | Author | Podcast Host
  2. Rik Vera: International Keynote Speaker. Agitator. Connector. Experimenter. Networkifier (if it wasn’t a word, it is now). Writer.
  3. Blake Morgan:  #CustomerExperience #futurist, author, speaker, @HarvardBiz@Forbes columnist, podcast host, mama. Married to @JacobM. Visit me.

CX on Youtube, I promise you this will be growing the next years

  1. ShepTV by Shep Hyken. You are welcomed by the Cab Story. A classic when it comes to customer experience. He is the big name in the USA when it comes to customer experience and customer service.
  2. Steven van Belleghem. My Belgian inspirator when it comes to customers the day after tomorrow and the writer of the book When digital becomes human. The channel is about customer centricity in a digital world. Updates on the latest trends in digital marketing, customer service, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…), conversation management, robotics, etc.
  3. BrandLove by Chantel Botha. I have not met her in person yet, but she is an inspiration on CX from South Africa. Love the video’s on Journey Mapping, so start following her Youtube Channel

CX Podcasts

  1. Rockstar CX by James Dodkins. For me a newcomer in CX, but he really rocks it! Has his own weekly Rockstar CX podcast and with all the big names when it comes to customer experience.
  2. Online Marketing Made Easy. The podcast of Amy Porterfield which I listen weekly. Not really CX, but all about Online Marketing. Over how to use online tools, build lists, motivate yourself as an entrepreneur. An inspirational woman with a voice I love to listen to.
  3. Forrester’s what it means. For me Forrester is together with Temkin Group the place where I go for research information. And Forrester has a brilliant podcast, so start listening NOW. If you want to start anywhere, start with the episode of December 20thwhere they talk on ROI and financial modeling. Very relevant topic!

CX Blogs

  1. Experience Matters. The blog by Bruce Temkin and his colleagues. I love the combination of vision and facts. Go to this blog site and register for their newsletter to stay inspired. Many of their visuals are free to use (but always with a reference, of course!)
  2. My Customer. Brilliant reads, much more often than once a week, on everything related to customers. Journeys, sales, loyalty. The WHOLE deal. Get a broader view and be inspired.
  3. Take their breath away. Where Chip Bell and John Patterson write on how customer service really makes the difference when it comes to customer experience. Read their post of December 11thwhere they suggest you create a great service exit. Spot on.

CX Books with best practices

13.  Ritz Carlton and the New Gold Standard by Joseph Michelli, 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. It is a golden oldie, but still very relevant. Go read.

  1. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. Yes this one is mentioned all the time, but if somehow you missed it. Please read it. And I am visiting Zappos in January, so I need to reread it myself.
  2. The Starbucks Experience by Joseph Michelli, Five principles for turning ordinary into extraordinary and of course the Starbucks story.

Cx Books you have to read

  1. Would you do that to your mother by Jeanne Bliss introduces the Make Mom Proud standard. I love her writing, easy to understand situations and solutions. A very entertaining read.
  2. Customer What? by Ian Golding. I could have mentioned him among the people to follow and twitter and the blogs, but I think his books needs to be mentioned here. Practical and a good guide when it comes to CX.
  3. The subtle art of not giving a f#ck by Mark Manson. It has NOTHING to do with CX, but is has EVERYTHING to do with CX. How can you be a happier CX leader, a better person? How to not lose your energy on people or tasks that are not important for you. I laughed and got many Aha’s.

CX Events to visit

  1. International CX Awards. The second edition will be on November 21st in Amsterdam. Register if you want to send in a case and compete against other CX professionals/teams/initiatives or join as a judge. It was a blast in 2018, so be warned for 2019 😊
  2. CXPA Meetings. Brilliant peer sharing of CX professionals all over the world. Be welcome in Amsterdam, the next is on January 17th in Amsterdam and the European Insight Exchange will take place on March 13th and 14th in Dublin.
  3. Customer Experience Event. The yearly event by N3wstrategy. The event is all Dutch and a brilliant day to be inspired and meet your local CX peers. This year on March 21st in Rotterdam.

One CX Course I recommend

  1. CX Masterclass This two day masterclass is tha bomb! is what our participants say. Delivered in the Netherlands by Jaap Wilms and me (in English) and in Belgium (in Dutch) with Els Dhaeze. We prepare you for the CCXP exam and help you in becoming an even better CX leader. There are four dates in 2019 and the first option of March 7thand 8th has only a few spaces left.

People to follow or connect on Linkedin

(yes, all four are women I love to read from and work with)

  1. Evelien van Damme and Karolien van der Ouderaa: these ladies are active, fun and experts when it comes to Customer Experience. Both senior consultants with Kirkman Company and taking the lead in Customer Experience transformations. Keep an eye on their cactuses.
  2. Kathy van de Laar: as partner of EarlyBirdge she blogs and shares posts of colleagues to bridge the gap between you and your customer. She was the first CCXP in the Netherlands and a fabulous inspiration
  3. Babs Asselbergs: she writes shorts blogs on customer experience, opens your eyes and wants to give you a different perspective. She is co-founder of BlommaBerg and the Customer Expeirence Game and I think she is a consistent contributor on Linkedin.

So now you know how I stay inspired. Next to these sources, I also get a lot of inspiration in daily life. Where I let businesses surprise me with their brilliant and more often awful customer experiences as a customer. My o my, how many lessons can be learned from that?

And…. this year I start with an inspirational BANG. I am traveling to the USA to follow a course at the Disney Institute and continue my American CX adventure with a tour at Zappos behind the scenes and two interviews with executives. I am so looking forward to broaden my horizon. To see with my own eyes how these two brilliant examples organize Customer Experience. So, I have two calls to action for you.

  1. If you want to follow me and my CX escapades: make sure you get my monthly CX Greetz by Nienke Bloem. Just register here.
  2. Share your source, of your own blog/vlog/profile. Where do you get your inspiration? Please share and add your source, so we can all learn and stay inspired to make customer experience work.

There is so much going on when it comes to customer experience. I see brilliant initiatives, professionals, strategies, projects and transformations going on at my clients and I read all your stories on LinkedIn. It makes me smile and as a CX colleague, it makes me proud. We are all on our way to deliver great customer experiences to our clients, or have the urge to do so in a better way. In contact centers, social media teams, HR, employee experience and of course customer experience teams.

Did you know that you can get international recognition for what you are doing? I think you should try and win an International Customer Experience Award!

Why enter the awards? I give you 9 reasons why you have to give it a GO

Your entry:

1. You reflect on what is your success and your strategy behind it

2. You really get to the point and feel your pride on your journey

On the day itself:

3. You get to present your success strategy in front of international CX professionals

4. You battle with peers and learn from their entries

After the awards:

5. You get a huge applause from your peers if you win

6. Get international recognition for all your efforts and CX brilliance

7. As a winner: share the pride within your organization and celebrate success

8. As a winner: use it in your marketing that you excel in your category

9. Get a benchmark feedback report how the judges ranked you (BONUS)

You see, there are so many reasons and maybe you can even add some mor… Even if you don’t win, you’ll experience a fantastic event and you’ll learn a lot from your peers of course!

With all the categories you can win (19 in total), there must be a category for you, your department or your company. First I thought I didn’t have to list them, but I have talked about it with many of you and the categories are not known enough for the first edition of the International CX. SO here we go:

All 19 categories in which you can WIN an award

  1. Customer-Centric Culture – That is sustained across the entire organisation with all employees, systems, processes and that puts the customer at the heart of everything that is done
  2. Best Customer Experience Strategy – A customer experience strategy that demonstrated a tangible shift in direction and that lead to positive business results
  3. Business Change or Transformation – A Significant Customer Experience focus that led to sustainable change or transformation of the organization
  4. Customer Insight & Feedback – An active programme to listen to customers (multi-channel), to create feedback opportunities, & effectively use customer insights to make high impact changes to products, services, processes and the overall customer experience
  5. Customer Complaints – focuses on how businesses manage consumer complaints
  6. Best Measurement in Customer Experience – That demonstrates the use of key CX metrics to bring a greater customer focus to tracking, analysing and effectively measuring initiatives
  7. Best Multi/Omni-Channel Customer Experience – A customer focus on delivering a consistent and persistent customer experience across all channels when interacting with your company
  8. Most Effective Customer Experience in Social Media – Demonstrate the effective use of individual or mixed social media channels to build active relationships that fully engage customers – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+
  9. Contact Centre – A contact center transformation project demonstrating great customer experience and making it easier for customers to do business with you
  10. Client Relationship Management – Designed and implemented new and effective techniques to enhance the customer experience through better customer relationship management (CRM)
  11. Best Use of Mobile – Using phone, tablet and other mobility devices to deliver an exceptional customer experience
  12. Digital Transformation – The profound transformation of business and organizational activities. A focus on processes, competencies and models to significantly enhance customer and employee experiences that fully use changes and opportunities available in a mix of digital technologies
  13. Best Digital Strategy – That implemented an effective digital strategy that lead to positive customer engagement and improved business results
  14. Diversity & inclusion – That has diversity and inclusion at the heart of its business, providing outstanding support and opportunities to everyone equally
  15. Employer of the Year – Engaged and highly Motivated Employees, High Staff Retention Rates, Human Resource Initiatives, Personnel Development Initiatives
  16. Employee Empowerment – A Strategy designed to enhance the employee experience, demonstrate corporate wellbeing and linking employee engagement and empowerment to the heart of the business
  17. Customer Experience Professional – Who has identified & responded to an opportunity resulting in influencing the organization to shift and significantly impact the overall customer experience
  18. Customer Experience Team – A team that has identified & responded to an opportunity resulting in significant impact on customer experience and the organization
  19. Customer Experience Leadership – A leader whose influence, communication, passion and focus has significantly impacted the adoption of a more customer focused culture and transformation empowering their organization or community

I really hope I have motivated you to GO for it. To aim high and imagine yourself the 15th of November on stage in Amsterdam, winning an International Customer Experience Award. Click here for more info on the awards and how to enter. Or if you have questions, please leave them as a comment and I will answer them. Hope to meet you in November!

 

** Nienke Bloem is expert in Customer Experience (CCXP), both as Trusted Advisor, Keynote Speaker and co-founder of the customer experience game. Do you want to read her blogs or learn more about her? Visit her website or subscribe to her monthly CX Greetz. **

** Feel free to comment on this blog and share it in your community! **

Yes, you are a CX Professional. Or you are curious to learn more about Customer Experience. You want to extend your knowledge. Learn the theory behind elements of CX, want to learn from peers, want to grow as a leader? That is where you have to act. It’s important to keep awarding yourself with learning experiences. How to grow and learn? There are several ways and I thought, I give you my ideas.

1. Read Blogs

There are many blogs out there but I want to share 2 of the ones I read.

  1. Ian Goldings blogs. They are sharp, they are witty and they make you think.
  2. Temkin Group blogs and CX Insights. These blogs share research and often the thoughts of Bruce Temkin. He is a visionary CX Leader who speaks the CX truth.

2. Read CX Books

We can talk hours about CX books and there are so many out there. What are the books that I read and I recommend? Two that are basics and you probably know, but nevertheless.

  1. Outside In. For me this is the bible of CX. The 6 pillars of a sound CX framework, great stories from Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine from Forrester, one of the leaders in CX research.
  2. Delivering Happiness. A fun read, the story of Tony Hsieh how he started Zappos. Being an entrepreneur and proving their brand promise was the differentiator.

3. Visit CX events

Yes, try to visit some marvelous CX events, at least one a year, either by vendors or by CX peer groups. You get to hear best practices, meet peers and enjoy a couple of days with likeminded spirits.

  1. CXPA Insights Exchange. The Flagship event for the CXPA this year the 8th and 9th of May in New Orleans. Top of the bill CX, insights, networking and fun. Also keep an eye out for our local Dutch chapter, we are hosting fab events too.
  2. CX Forum by Forrester. This is a high end CX Event, where you get to meet the CX Leaders. The C suite and brilliant speakers and content.
  3. Multichannel event. For my Dutch readers, the yearly event hosted by BMC Media, the 18th and 19th of April 2018. A 2-day event with everything there, about customers and customer experience.

4. CX Education

How to grow as a leader? How to put CX into practice? Different kind of schooling and CX training is out there. I have picked two, face to face learning, since I believe that peer learning is an important element to grow as a CX Leader.

  1. Masterclass Customer Experience and Omnichannel Management, at Nyenrode business university. A 4-day program in Dutch, starts again in October.
  2. Masterclass Customer Experience. Our own CX Masterclass. A 2-day full focus Masterclass, tailored around the 6 pillars of the CX framework. Where we combine theory and practice and prepare you for the CCXP exam. Next Masterclass 7 & 8th of June.

Just some ideas to keep on learning. To stay inspired. To enjoy new learning experiences. Do you have other suggestions? Please let me know so we’ll all keep on learning. Including me! Thank YOU.