Berichten

Last year around this time, I got to visit two of the greatest names when it comes to Customer Experience. Disney and Zappos. I traveled to California to learn all about CX magic at Disney Institute. In Las Vegas I got a tour at Zappos where I interviewed leaders at their fun property. Many of the learnings I shared in my blogs and I even published an e-zine on my insights at Zappos. But why did I do that? Why did I choose these two companies as my Go-To-Learning-Place for 2019? It’s all about development. Let me share my vision with you in this blog.

Buy my flowers!

But first I want to share with you that tulips are my favorite flowers. Nice to know, right? Or not? But hang on, it has to do with the story 😊. The picture you see is taken at the local flower market in Utrecht. Every Saturday you can buy all kinds of flowers and plants on this market. It is a very bright and happy place to visit, even when it rains. The colors, the smells, the people and especially the salesmen and women behind their flower stands make me smile. They get it when it comes to selling their goods. They look at you, recommend their flowers and try to lure you into their domain.

What could happen – and they understand sales really well, so it probably will happen – is that they seduce you to buy some flowers. Not just the flowers you planned to buy. But more and different ones. Which will cost you more money than you had planned to spend and they will take up more room in your house. Colorful, yes! But maybe not what you went out for.

Stick to the plan

The same might happen with development. You go out there, see all kinds of education and inspiration, but what to decide? When you go online you might get lost in a maze of development options. To learn new skills, get inspiration, be a better entrepreneur, learn all CX, be a better you. I know many people that get seduced to follow webinars, free events and buy education as a result. Sometimes for the good. Often maybe not for what they planned to do. Is that bad? No, but think of all the time and money that is wasted. So when I go out to get tulips, I get tulips. And maybe one extra bunch of flowers to give away. But I stick to my plan.

The big picture

That is where my big picture in development comes in. Every year I determine in what area I want to develop myself. Two examples to show you how I do it. In 2018 I wanted to learn more about comedy, about being funny on stage or when delivering my Masterclass. To learn what my trade was, when it came to this art. I went to a standup comedy weekend in Brighton with Jill Edwards, had a day course with Jeremy Nichols and watched tons of comedians. On stage as well as on Netflix. A big learning experience that resulted in finding out that I am more of an improv comedian, than a standup comedian. But it was such a good learning ride.

Personal and business development

2019 was all about learning more on CX. Really deep diving into my own profession and learning from the best. The reason I went to Disney and Zappos. And why I hosted the International CX awards and why I was a judge. Because we were also writing our book about CX, I needed to focus on my profession. An extra touch was that both Disney and Zappos focus on change from a cultural lens. Very handy with regard to our Employee Experience Game and the Masterclass CX Culture I am developing. This investment in me was not only an inspirational one, but also a business smart decision!

The plan for 2020

This year will be all about growing my facilitation and audience interaction skills. I want to find my own interaction games (I already have some fun ones, but I think I can be better). Not only in a small setting like our CX Masterclass with 16 participants, but also with audiences of thousands. I like people in my audience to be really involved. So, I have work to do. I will visit the Global Speaker Summit in Namibia in February to learn from the world’s greatest speakers and I will join the annual PSA Australia event in Adelaide to get some Down Under magic. In April I have booked myself a seat in a two-day Masterclass to be a better Master of Ceremony (dagvoorzitter for the Dutchies). I don’t fancy becoming an all-round MC, but at customer events, I love the role. Because I can add some Nienke Bloem and CX magic to the day.

Your theme for this year

So, what to learn from all this? The big picture. My question to you is, what is your theme for the year? Do you like my way of bringing focus to personal development? Or do you have other ways, that I can learn from? Please share, because there are far more ways when it comes to development, and there is no good or bad. Oh well, actually there is a bad one. That is doing nothing. Staying still. Not investing in yourself. So, when you are at the flower market, I hope you’ll be seduced to buy some flowers. I will get myself some tulips.

 

** Nienke Bloem is expert in Customer Experience (CCXP), both as Trusted Advisor, Keynote Speaker and co-founder of The Customer Experience Game and The Employee 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! **

“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.

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.