Steve Whittington

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Closing the 80% Gap in Sales

Posted by Steve Whittington on Feb 12, 2020 1:16:53 PM

Closing a saleThe blog post below is a modified excerpt from Thriving in the Customer Age. It is one of the many highlighted insights that are outlined in the book.

Sales team members will often claim 40–50% close rates, while industry statistic after industry statistic claims that 80% of leads are not closed. Why this disconnect? The disconnect comes in an organization’s customer-facing staff customer qualifying process.

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Topics: sales instruction, Sales process

What to do when you get a bad online review?

Posted by Steve Whittington on Jan 4, 2020 8:52:26 PM

The blog post below is an excerpt from Thriving in the Customer Age. It is one of the many highlighted best practices that outlined in the book.

Bad reviews are going to happen. We do not live in a world in which everything is five-star or 10 out of 10. The question most businesses obsessively worry about is what to do when a bad review happens (it will, so don’t think the sky is falling when it happens!).

Step 1

For your peace of mind, understand that a bad review does not make yours a bad business. In fact, consumers will be suspicious if you do not have one or two bad reviews.

Step 2

Acknowledge and engage with the customer publicly online and offer to create a solution by providing direct access to a decision maker offline. Follow a consistent communication process when you respond. Customer service professionals commonly employ a four-step protocol:

 1.    Thank the customer for the review

    2.    Apologize and empathize.

   3.    Work towards a solution.

    4.    Take the communication offline.

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Topics: customer experience, customer management, Customer Service, Online Reviews

Does Technology = Effective Customer Experience?

Posted by Steve Whittington on Dec 18, 2019 11:18:07 PM

Customer Experience TechnologyToday we see an ever-increasing march towards technology utilization to engage with customers. Using technology, an organization can create efficiencies in the workplace designed specifically for their custom customer journey. This means many portions of the customer journey are now being augmented by technology.  Broadly, this is starting with AI helping write ad copy for ads, bots answering chats, workflow automations for updating customers order status and automating customer outreach (after the sale or for closing the sale).  

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Topics: customer experience, customer journey critique, Customer Series, Digital transformation

How do you hear your customer voice?

Posted by Steve Whittington on Oct 18, 2019 12:07:23 AM

4-steps-imageI was in a meeting this week and discussion around mapping the customer journey occurred. The discussion was regarding the steps needed to implement a new customer facing solution. Happily, everyone agreed that the organization’s customer journeys by customer profiles were a needed input when implementing a customer facing solution. “Great!” I thought to myself, “Customer understanding is starting to be baked into this organization’s thinking.”

I listened and waited for the discussion to move to the next step of designing the implementation, which it quickly did once it was concluded that taking existing journey maps and reviewing them with the team for updates was all that was needed.

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Topics: Customer Series, Customer Service, focus on the customer

Great service is not about being perfect, it is about what you do when things fall apart.

Posted by Steve Whittington on May 2, 2019 12:16:39 AM

As sure as the sun rises you will have a day when your organization did not provide an excellent customer experience. Customer experiences are delivered by people executing on processes supported by technology.  Those three factors all fail at some point. People make mistakes, processes can not cover every scenario and technology…well as seamless as it continues to strive to be, there is still down time. Acceptance of these facts means you need to have a recovery system in place for when the failures happen.


What makes for a good recovery system?

A good system starts with the acknowledgment that organizations are made of people, and that people are not perfect. Therefore, mistakes will happen. How an organization deals with a mistake is often more important than the mistake itself.

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Topics: customer experience, Customer Series, Customer Service, Blogs

Is Retail Doomed?

Posted by Steve Whittington on Feb 13, 2019 4:03:46 PM

Empty retail store 

Today as I look at the overall retail and service landscape, I see organizations failing to meet
customer expectations. The list of storied brands shutting down locations is enormous. In 2017 alone, over 5,000 stores of major retailers were closed: Sears and Kmart closed 358 stores, JC Penney 138 stores, Macy’s 68 stores, Payless Shoes emerged from it’s Chapter 11 restructuring with almost 1,000 fewer stores, and the list goes on and on.

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Topics: customer centric, customer experience, Customer Series, Customer Journey, Retail, Blogs

Book coming soon!

Posted by Steve Whittington on Nov 13, 2018 8:26:34 PM

Thriving in the Customer Age Book CoversI would really appreciate your feedback!. After years of speaking about the customer journey and the metrics to measure it, I am writing the book that will make the entire methodology available to entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Title is: "Thriving in the Customer Age”

And here is the ask. Help me pick the best cover and let me know why you chose it. Click here to fill out a really short survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RQGHHRV

Creating a truly remarkable customer experience has long been known as the competitive advantage that can transform your business results. But how does a business consistently provide this high-quality experience? What are the steps? How is a customer experience initiative measured? How does it improve the bottom line?

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Topics: Customer metrics, Thriving in the customer age, Customer Journey, Blogs

How taking parental leave changed me

Posted by Steve Whittington on Mar 17, 2018 9:57:30 AM

Shopping with KidsIt has been just over three months since my son was dropped off for his first day of daycare. I handed him off to the child educator, kissed him and turned and walked out the door back to work, trying to ignore his wails and outstretched arms. His sister did the same thing for her first week, so I expected this reaction, but it is still a tough moment. It was tougher than it was with Harper because it had been just him and I for months, and I never had that time with her.

I suspect a lot of my takeaways from my time at home with the kids are similar to a lot of dads’ experiences that stay home: I connected with my kids more, became a more engaged dad (and remain a more engaged dad), really learned about managing the household, I became a better cook and I became a more supportive spouse (a fact I checked with my wife prior to publishing). Some days were long, some days were fast, I lost my composure a few times, and then the months flew by and the magical time was over.

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Topics: gender pay gap, equality, parental leave, Blogs

Eight steps to follow when communication crisis hits

Posted by Steve Whittington on Mar 9, 2018 7:58:27 PM

Most of the time a communications crisis starts like this: a phone call, email, SMS or IM out of the blue “Hey, are you aware of this _____?”

If you are a leader and your organization is struck by a communication crisis what do you do? Often you did not expect it and you have not prepared for it.As the executive leader responsible for Marketing and Communications, when a communications crisis hits, it becomes my crisis. In today’s world one could substitute communication crisis with simply social media crisis (which can blow up into a full media communication crisis). The best way to handle a social media crisis is to know when it is coming, which means social media monitoring. If you are not monitoring social you really are blind to the mood of the market place. Get some tools (socialmention.com is free) and start listening. Beyond not being completely surprised by a when crisis hits, I follow some simple rules: the first one is to remember that every situation is an opportunity to create a positive brand impression as opposed to just damage control.

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Topics: communication, Communication crisis, Marketing Series, Social Media, social media crisis, Blogs

When marketing and sales silos do not align customer experience suffers

Posted by Steve Whittington on Dec 5, 2017 8:54:10 AM

Company SilosRecently, I experienced a very effective marketing experience that was seamlessly connected to the start of the sales process. I have to admit I was impressed; until I went to the physical location and was immersed in their in-store experience.

So what happened?

I was triggered by a radio ad for an item I am considering purchasing.

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Topics: customer experience, Customer Series, Marketing Series, marketing, Sales process, Blogs

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