Lithium Launches Study: Americans Torn Between Good Internet and Sex: Are Our Values Out of Wack?

Lithium Launches Inaugural Customer Expectations Survey. This study shows how online experiences are essential to American life.  Americans evenly split on whether to give up good sex or good Internet if forced to choose.

My POV: Are you kidding me? What happened to being human? Have we lost our way? Or is this the right way to go? The studies show that multi-tasking actually makes your brain overworked and foggy. Yet every single day we – I – do it. And this study is showing how we are valuing being connected online versus doing something that is so essential as part of basic life as we know the human experience. I’ve been part of the digital world for a long time, joining LinkedIn and YouTube in about 2006. I have been writing about the online customer experience for years. So I am as guilty and responsible as anyone as part of this evolution. But I wonder for my own personal life as well as those of my friends, family and colleagues — if we have gone too far and whether we are over connected?

There’s really no going back, but perhaps there is a balance. We got here, now. And so what are the next steps and where will this all take us? I think balance is key. But who decides what that balance is. If online customer experiences were more effective and efficient, perhaps we’d have more time to do basic human things- like relax, talk to people in person, enjoy a good afternoon at the pool, go on vacation and not look at email… But we have to be mindful about our choices. We have to wake-up and look at our lives and choices. And then make very, very important decisions as consumers / customers. We – customers – need to vote with our feet – and only buy from companies that provided a shared-value customer experience – which is being talked about at #LiNc conference #LiNc2014. That means an experience that provides value for both the customer and the company.

I know what you are thinking. Natalie, you’ve been writing about that very thing for 20 years. I guess I need to keep writing about it until more and more companies actually deliver on it. 

Brands needs to be aware that consumers are getting weary. How can they make the experience better so that they become a preferred destination and provider? If the customer gets too tired and weary, they won’t buy. They will put it off. So its never been more important to look at the online customer experience as a key to whether customers choose your business to interact with – and that will determine the customer lifetime value. And brands need to make sure that whatever PR and Marketing is promising, that Customer Service can deliver it. That is what Customer Experience is – that full customer lifecycle – that should be driving a continuos circle, repeated over and over and over… awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, loyalty, advocacy and referral and repeat continuously… 

The technology is now there that can deliver more than we have ever been able to provide. But does your company have the skills and human capital and leadership to deliver great next generation customer experiences? Here’s more on the study. I think you will find the results fascinating…


The study has data from a survey conducted online on their behalf by Harris Poll in April among over 2,100 American adults who are online that sheds light on how the Internet may be changing the country’s expectations and behaviors. The survey covered a broad spectrum of online behaviors and attitudes, exposing what Americans want from their online experiences and the brands with which they do business online.

Some key findings of the study:

    • Americans overwhelmingly rely on the Web to research big purchases
      • 81% use an online source to research a big purchase
      • Two in three Americans (67%) use 2 or more online sources for their research
      • Nearly 1 in 10 (9%) of 18-34 year olds use 6 or more sources!
    • Two-thirds of Americans (67%) tend to call an “800” or toll free number for help as a last resort
    • Consumers are going online to request help on a product or service—and want responses fast
      • Almost 9 in 10 (87%) have ever requested help online
      • Two-thirds (66%) expect a same-day response to their online request
      • 43% expect a response within an hour
      • 14% expect a response in a lightning fast five minutes or less
    • People may be more likely to go online to praise than complain
      • 61% of Americans disagree that they are more likely to go online to complain about a product or service than to praise it
      • But younger Americans seem to complain at higher rates than older Americans
        • 35-44 year olds are more likely than those age 45+ to go online to complain than to praise (46% vs. 35%, respectively)
    • Americans give Internet a fundamental place in their lives–and are fairly evenly split on whether to give up good sex or good Internet if forced to choose
      • 48% of Americans would give up good sex; 52% would give up good Internet
      • But age and gender seem to play a role in how Americans responded to this question
        • 57% of US women would give up good sex versus only 40% of US men who would do so
      • 57% of US women would give up good sex versus only 40% of US men who would do so

Lithium has created an infographic that summarizes the key findings from this survey. The infographic is available for download here.

This Lithium Customer Expectations Survey from Nielsen reflects similar research findings Lithium uncovered in a Millward Brown study last October regarding customer expectations unique to their Twitter experiences. A summary of that study is available online at

Connect with me on Twitter at @DrNatalie and let me know what you think!
Skype: drnatalie007 | LinkedIn | Google+

Catch my latest:
• Thoughts at 
• Upcoming book series: “7 Steps To Digital Customer Experience Mastery” (working title) 

Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise 
The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st

Half Moon Bay, CA | Ritz Carlton


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Dr Natalie Petouhoff – List of Publications, Books, Research, White Papers, ebooks,

Publications, Books, Articles and Research Of Dr. Natalie Petouhoff. I was recently asked to create a list of all the things I’ve written… I not sure I have them all… but here’s a list of white papers, chapter in books, books I’ve authored, books I have ghost written, etc…  over the last ten years or more… Hope you find something that gives you some braincandy or a new way to approach your business.










The TOP 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter: A Study by @DrNatalie & Big Data Cruncher

Wondering what brands are the most engaged on Twitter? We wondered too. This New York Times article explores engagement and Twitter.

I also wondered what drives engagement on Twitter and I began my own study by looking at the top 100 brands who had the most Twitter followers. Then using the platform, we added those brands into platform which did the big data crunching. InfiniGraph is different than social media monitoring. It is a interest graph platform.

Mashable has a ton of articles on how social networks like Twitter are trying new things to increase engagement. Here’s a recap article about the study and the actual engagement of the brands we evaluated on Forbes by Mark Fidelman.

Top 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter

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There’s certainly lots of definitions of engagement. Here’s a great article by Jay Baer who interviewed David Armano on how brands need to create a iterative strategy around engagement- micro-interactions & incremental customer experience victories. The LA Times has many articles on how brands are using social media and networking. Jon Swartz writes about the abundance of platforms for customers to engage on, hinting that perhaps more is not the answer. Maybe really understanding what engagement means is a beginning. In this case, the InfiniGraph Engagement Platform looked at Twitter engagement as measured by RT’s, clicks and @ replies.

Study of the 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter was written about on Mashable and it provides a very nice overview of the study’s results.  The details and the results of the study are in this report found here:

Graph of the Brands with the Highest Engagement @DrNatalie

Here’s the of the top 25 most engaged brands on Twitter:

1.  Notebook of Love2. Disneywords3. ESPN4. Funny Facts5. PlayStation6. Disney7. Chelsea Football Club8. BBC Breaking News9. NASA10. CNN Breaking News11.  Instagram12.  YouTube13. Facebook14. NBA15. Arsenal16. The Onion17. Disney Pixar18. FunnyorDie.com19. CNN20. National Geographic21. UNICEF22. Dropbox23. MTV24. WWE25. Chanel

Here’s more details on how the study was conducted:

1. We looked at the brands with the most Twitter followers and created a list of 100 of the most followed brands for the month of February 2013

2. We used to crunch all the “BIG” Data in this report

3. See the Engagement Analysis and Platform powered by InfiniGraph

4. The 100 brands with the most followers were put into the InfiniGraph Platform for the time period of 02/2013 to 03/2013

5. The InfiniGraph Platform took the information about each brand and gathered the data you see in this report:

      • The volume of posts

      • The level of engagement

      • The content that is shared by each brand

      • What days / times during the day it is shared and

      • Compares and ranks it

6. Then the InfiniGraph system creates the graphs you see in this report.

If you are wondering how your brand’s engagement compares to your competitors, you can find out by following these steps:

  • Search on your own brand at:

  • Or click on the industry analysis on the right

  • If your brand is not in the system, request that it’s added

  • Then select the brands you want to compare to your brand and run the report in InfiniGraph

  • Study the results of the comparison

  • Compare how much you post vs the level of engagement

  • Study the other brand’s engagement capabilities and tactics

  • And make changes to your strategy and tactics

The study I did was commission by Nestivity and Evolve Capital. And in full disclosure, I work with InfiniGraph and I am proud to be on InfiniGraph’s Advisory Board.


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The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg

With over one billion users, Facebook has become the world’s largest social networking site. Its story is incredible: from its foundation only nine years ago it has changed the way people communicate, connect and share information. Facebook has become part of our daily lives and routines. How has Mark Zuckerberg created such a successful company and become one of the great business leaders of our time, and what can we learn from him? I discuss the answers to this question in more detail in my book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”, but in this post I wanted to share some quick insights around the five key elements of success. This is a Guest post by Ekaterina Walter.

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...

Mark Zuckerberg via CrunchBase

1. Passion

“Find that thing you are super passionate about.” –Mark Zuckerberg

Successful entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and from all personality types. But one thing they all share is passion. Passion is what drives you to keep trying despite all the setbacks you encounter and to turn failure into a learning experience.

Mark Zuckerberg’s passion is using technology to bring people together; Steve Jobs’ passion was to build revolutionary products; Richard Branson’s passion is to build companies he is proud of; Oprah Winfrey’s passion is communication. Passion is essential for success, no matter what type of business you create.

2. Purpose

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Simon Sinek, Start with Why

Long-term customer loyalty comes from your company’s purpose. Having a purpose drives the choices a company makes, from the people it hires, the way it markets a product, the materials it uses, as well as the products it makes. Apple’s products are not the cheapest on the market, but they have inspired great customer loyalty because Apple’s purpose – to create stylish, intuitive products that change the way we use technology – is so clear in everything they do. Ben & Jerry’s have a similarly clear purpose: to create ethical, imaginatively-flavored ice cream, and fans eagerly await their next product idea.

Facebook’s purpose to connect people in the simplest way possible has driven their most popular design innovations and turned social networking into a daily habit for hundreds of millions of people.

3. People

The most innovative companies allow their employees the freedom to develop their interests and to take risks. Facebook have an interview process that only selects new employees who are the right fit for the company’s culture. Once they are in, they take part in intensive training that teaches them the ‘hacker way’ of fast, creative coding that Zuckerberg prizes.

Companies like Facebook, Apple and Zappos have created a culture that empowers courage of conviction, freedom of speech, and action. This comes from strong leadership that leads by example.

Herb Kelleher, the visionary behind Southwest Airlines, puts it this way: “Employees come first and if employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right, the outside world uses the company’s product again, and that makes the shareholders happy. That really is the way that it works and it’s not a conundrum at all.”

4. Product

Mark Zuckerberg has created a product that fulfills his passion for connecting people, one that is changing the way communities communicate. Successful entrepreneurs build their product on three principles: their passion, the purpose of the company, and the right people and partnerships. The fact that Zuckerberg walked away from lucrative offers to buy his company early on shows that he believed in his long-term vision for his product, a vision that has driven many of the changes to Facebook over the years and kept it relevant to the needs of its users. As Zuckerberg continues to say to his critics and stakeholders, “I’m here to build something for the long term. Anything else is a distraction.”

5. Partnerships

Partnerships that work are based on clear expectations, shared values, mutual trust, a fair exchange of value, complementary strengths, commitment, and mutual respect. This can be seen in the partnership of Mark Zuckerberg and his COO, Sheryl Sandberg, who has been key to Facebook’s prosperity.

Image representing Sheryl Sandberg as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Strong partnerships have been the foundation for many successful companies, from Ben & Jerry to the Warner Brothers, Hewlett and Packard, Sears and Roebuck, McGraw and Hill, or the team behind CollegeHumor. Partnerships could be based on two or more founders, or else finding the right suppliers, distributors, or investors.

Mark Zuckerberg has challenged the traditional blueprint for successful business leadership, and become the 29th richest person in the world with his company. As the way we use the internet around the world continues to change, Facebook will continue to be at the forefront of social technology, ensuring Zuckerberg’s success into the future.

About the author: Ekaterina Walter is a social media innovator at Intel, a speaker, and an author of the book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”. Walter was named among 25 Women Who Rock Social Media in 2012. She sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). You can find her on Twitter: @Ekaterina and her blog



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Webinar: Multi-Channel MultiGenerational Customer Service- Gen X, Y, Millennials, Boomer, Silent Generation -Customer Experience

If you are in a business serving broad consumer markets, your customers are likely to span multiple generations – Gen X, Gen Y, millennials, boomers, silent generation and so on. A one-size-fits-all approach to customer engagement won’t work across these customer segments. Worse yet, you might miss large chunks of your market by not having a multi-generational customer engagement strategy.

It’s well-known that there are significant generational differences in lifestyles, service expectations, attitudes and technology use. For instance, while many of today’s toddlers use iPads, seniors often prefer basic, easy-to-use, cell phones.  92% of adults in the 18-29 age group use social versus 38% in the 65+ age group. Younger, social networking users expect faster service and prefer NOT to use the phone. If your whole operation is based on calls, you are not prepared for this next generation of customers. And to complicate matters, regardless of age group, many customers have also gone multichannel.

How can you plan for a multi-generational consumer engagement strategy?

How do you design and deliver generation-tailored customer journeys so you can outperform your competition?

I did a webinar on the topic of Multi-Channel MultiGenerational Customer Service with Don Muchow, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for eGain  eGain, a leading provider of customer engagement software. Click on the graphic to listen to the webinar:egain AMA webinar dr natalie customer service

Learn. Share. Grow!


Could Social Media Monitoring Have Saved Netflix & Blockbuster from Themselves?

Word Cloud On Netflix from Social Media Monitoring

I teamed up with my friend Jennifer Tyler, @JenHowell4, at Sysomos and we did a little social media monitoring on the Netflix situation. One of the goals of this blog post is to show that data can be used to tell a story. When you tell a story, the audience listens.

A Cause for Pause I hope that this case study gives every CEO, CMO… a cause for pause — to consider social media as well as social media monitoring –to give it a real, hard consideration. Not just because you want to avoid risk, but because you can begin to see that there is mission critical, real-time data that you can use in your business. And so now to our story, aided by the social media monitoring data.

Blockbuster’s Customers Didn’t Like the Delivery System Because It Involved Late Fees If we examine what was being said about Blockbuster in social media prior to bankruptcy, the negative conversation was around late fees. Clearly there was something not working about the delivery of movies. Customers had to come in, rent the DVD and remember to return them on time. Or else the “evil” late fees would consume their positivity around the brand.

But was Blockbuster listening? It doesn’t appear that they were “hearing” the feedback, at least not enough to shift their business model. Here’s a word cloud that can be generated via social media monitoring. It tells you what was being said about Blockbuster in social media. You can clearly see- in the word cloud- that the main jist of the conversation was about late fees. (In word clouds, the larger the words, the more times they are mentioned in social media.)

Social Media Monitoring Word Cloud on Blockbuster

If Blockbuster was using social media monitoring, they could have seen that their customer sentiment was not positive. They could have clicked on the red part of the pie chart to understand what customer’s were upset about. By clicking on the graph they could choose to look at tweets, at blog posts, etc… that pertain to that negative sentiment.

Blockbuster Sentiment Chart in 2010

But Blockbuster didn’t listen — or at least they didn’t hear and shift their business and had to file bankruptcy on Sept 23, 2010. You can see in the word cloud about Blockbuster’s bankruptcy, that Netflix is showing up in the conversation. Clearly something to pay attention to — when the word cloud is supposed to be about your business and your competitor is showing up in the same cloud! YIKES!

Blockbuster Word Cloud Sept 23 1010 Bankruptcy

Social media monitoring can show you what is being said about your company. Below are clips that represent blog posts in social media about Blockbuster’s bankruptcy.

Conversations on the web about Blockbuster's Bankruptcy

And here’s customer sentiment around Blockbuster’s bankruptcy in tweets:

Blockbuster Twitter Conversations About the Bankruptcy

July 12, 2011 Flash Forward to July 12, 2011. Was Netflix listening to their customers? If you look at the graph at the top left hand side, you see a yellow-ish curve. It is pretty much the same height until July 12, 2011.

What you can do in social media monitoring is to click on the peak and then see what that is attributed to. In the upper, right hand corner, you can see the blog post by Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings is what gave rise to the spike in social media and online conversations. The screenshot is of the Facebook post with a link to the CEO’s blog post. There are 81,789 comments. Out of those comments, there are 1,429 Likes. That’s about 1.7% positive responses.

If we do a word cloud on the same peak, we can see what the main topics are. That’s the group of words to the lower right. The key words are: Netflix, price, hike, streaming, dear…. It’s clear what the crowd is upset about. If we look at the lower left screen grab, you can see a buzz graph. The buzz graph tells you what words are being used in association with other words and the thicker the line, the more prominent is the use of the word. Those words are: increase, stream and redbox…

Social Media Monitoring Data on Netflix July 12 2011 Price Hike/ Change

Here’s the actual blog post by Hastings— note that he ends the post with telling customers that they can cancel their services at any time.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Blog Post July 12 2011, With Invitation To Cancel Customer Subscriptions

Here’s some of the thousands of comments to the CEO’s posts, most all negative, about the changes to the Netflix services:

Customers Reaction to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Blog Post July 12 2011

Despite the >23,000 negative comments on the blog on July 12, 2011, Netflix sent out a notice on the price hike on Sept 19th, 2011. What happens when you don’t listen or hear & you act without considering what customers think, feel and know? Customers were outraged… and the press picked up the coverage… If for no other reason than the press looks to social media for stories, companies MUST start taking social media seriously.

Press That Covered Netflix Price Change and Splitting Up the Company

And here’s some of the titles of the articles below. Companies work very hard to get coverage like this. Unfortunately, it wasn’t positive coverage.

Titles of Articles About Netflix

Here’s a sample of the tweets about Qwikster (Netflix’s new offering) – Sept 19th, 2011.

Sample of Tweets About Netflix Qwikster

And the three top words in the Buzz Graph?

• Hastings
• Apologize

Buzz Graph on Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Here’s Doug Gross’s article, from CNN Tech and The Daily Dog’s Report on Netflix:


Daily Dog's Story on Reed Hastings and Netflix

And Tom Loftus’s Wall Street Journal story on Netflix and Reed Hastings:


Wall Street Journal's Story on Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings


And more stories from some great journalists:  

, Mashable: Netflix’s @Qwikster Problem: Twitter Account Controlled by Weed-Smoking Elmo  

Ben Fritz, LATimes: Netflix CEO admits ‘arrogance,’ renames disc business Qwikster  NPR: Netflix’ News: Signal Of DVD’s Demise?

Scott Cleland, Forbes: Netflix Crushes Its Own Momentum

Matt Burns, TechCrunch: Netflix Stock Erases 12 Months Of Massive Growth, Crashes Through 52 Week Low

Mike Issac, WIRED: Meet Qwikster: Netflix Spins Off Discs-By-Mail from Streaming Video

Austin Carr, FastCompany: Netflix: What We’ve Got Here Is A Failure To Communicate

What was interesting is that I checked Blockbuster’s twitter handle… and guess what I saw? Blockbuster is NOW listening! They are offering 1 year subscription to the people who provide the best reason for leaving NetFlix:



Blockbuster is listening now!!!

What makes this whole situation even worse, like Stan at Mashable said… Netflix didn’t even check the twitter handle– @Qwikster. Someone else has it. Here is one of his typical tweets. It’s not “on brand” with Netflix and Netflix doesn’t own the twitter handle. (Note to companies- before you pick the name of a new company, go to Twitter and check to see if the name is available!!)


Qwikster Tweets

Deming On Steroids Maybe its good to listen to your customers. Deming said it years ago. Listen to your customers and employees. Take the feedback and integrate it into your company. What we have in social media is Deming on steroids. We have feedback that is honest, genuine, and transparent. What’s worse is that, like cave paintings, it is something that will last forever for whomever is searching to find it.

Did Blockbuster cross the chasm of it’s time? No. It’s customers were saying, “We want a different delivery system where we don’t get dinged for late fees.” It didn’t shift with the changes in the marketplace. Did Netflix take their spot. You bet. Did Netflix get arrogant? One would think that after >87,000 comments or 24,000 comments, that if the customer’s weren’t good with what was being proposed, and Netflix went ahead anyways, yes, it appears so.

What could Netflix have done better? Ask the customers what they think before making a declaration. Explain that to keep the company profitable and to keep delivering the streaming services, that there might need to be some changes. Ask, don’t tell is the VERY FIRST things good leaders learn in and out of business school. Asking vs telling would be a paradigm shift for most CEOs.

Netflix announced the deal with Facebook and Michael Drobac, director of Government Relations at Netflix is asking customers to help bring Facebook Sharing to the US. Has Hastings done so much damage that fans and customers will not rise to help? Did the apologies and explanations by Hastings help or hurt the company? Do you think Hastings understands what he did wrong?  Todd Wasserman of reported rumors of Blockbuster to launch a Netflix rival. Is it too late for Netflix?

A Social Media Teaching Moment What can we learn from this? Call it a “teaching moment.” We can conclude that’s its important to listen to our customers. It’s important that executives listen to customers and use that feedback to make good decisions. The information about a company that is contained in social media is real-time and real relevant. It’s your customers, your advocates, your influencers, your ambassadors, the press and your nay-sayers giving you their point of view. And it lives forever, it can go viral and change not only what customer’s think but also what investors think, as well as stock prices. Social media is clearly a medium, that if you don’t understand it, it can get you!

So where is your company in the adoption of social media? If it’s stuck, then perhaps consider social media monitoring. It will give you:

  • A benchmark on where your sentiment and share of voice is- especially compared to your competitors
  • Assurances that what you are doing is working; fair warning when it isn’t
  • Mission critical data to adjust your products and service
  • Data to help create a business case for the decisions you are making
  • And give you data that can be used to calculate social media ROI.

Where is Social Media Going? Many people are asking me what’s the next phase in social media? They’ve got their Facebook and Twitter handle and they are posting. They have somewhat of a content strategy and interaction plan. And they are trying to drive customers through a marketing funnel and help customers with their customer service issues.

The Third WAVE of Social Media Adoption The next phase, and maybe it should be one of the first phases, is to do social media monitoring. Why? A good case study in this is re: Netflix and Blockbuster situation. Where we are in the social media lifecycle is the Third Wave. Wave One was lead by the Innnovators. Wave Two was championed by the Early Adopters.

The Social Media Adoption Curve by Dr Natalie Petouhoff

For social media to become the business-changing paradigm shift that it can be, it must win over the Early Majority. If that happens, then the business world would be entering WAVE Three, in the Social Media Adoption Curve. (I adopted Geoffrey Moore’s and Roger’s Diffusion Theory thought leadership around this concept.)

So what will it take to get the majority of the business world to buy into social media? The Early Majority are pragmatists. They want assurances that what they are going to do, is gonna work. They want business cases and they’d love to see ROI. One of the ways to show companies that social media matters is all of the above. And one of the best ways to create a business case is to do a little social media monitoring. At least that’s my take!

Don't do the Ostrich

Take your head out of the sand and cross the chasm

What’s your take on where business is in the social media adoption process?
Does this type of social media monitoring data make it easier to understand why someone should invest in social media? Love to hear your thoughts!

The Social Media Adoption Chasm - Don't Fall Into The Gap

@drnatalie Learn. Share. Grow!

Here’s more information to that might help you:
A link to the powerpoint presentation on slideshare:

Link to my Social Media ROI videos:

Link to my white papers on the ROI of Social Media:






FREE Chapter 1 – I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG! by Jeanne Bliss

This is the third post about the book, I Love You More Than My Dog, as part of my favorite book posts.

Jeanne Bliss tweeted me to thank me for writing about her book. And as we got to talking, she provided me with a link to the first chapter of her book, just for you:

(may have to copy and paste the URL)

Chapter 1: Your Decisions Reveal:  Who You Are and What You Value!

It’s very generous of Jeanne to provide me a link. I hope that you take advantage of it!

The chapter starts with a quote from Walt Disney:“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

Walt Disney

Walt Disney, The Master of the Customer Experience

Companies that are loved by their customers make decisions differently than other companies.

The common denominator, according to Jeanne, is that these companies bring consciousness and humanity to the decisions they make.  When you make decisions that respect and honor your customers, your customers will grow your business by word of mouth. They will tell their friends, who will they their friends, who will tell their friends…

Remember that Breck Shampoo commercial back in the ’60s that used this as their tagline?

The most important thing a company can do is to form an army of cheerleaders and publicists urging their friends, neighbors, colleagues and strangers to get behind your company.

Have we ever seen this in action? Sure we have… Land’s End for instance. That’s where Jeanne started her customer experience career. The founder of Land’s End, Gary Comer, described Jeanne’s job as:  nurturing the “conscience” of the company through the decisions they made as they grew. And they experienced 20-30% grow per year. Their stand? Long-term growth was dependent on retaining their strong emotional connection with customers.

At that time, the stories customers told about Land’s End, revealed their values. They drove not only customers to the company, but also an engaged and loyal employee base. Land’ End need over 200 employee volunteers to answer all the, “I love you, Land’s End!” mail they received each month.

And have we seen this lately? Yes, at When Tony and Alfred started they didn’t have money for large advertising or marketing programs. They made the conscious decision that the way they would build and grow their business was to provide such great service, interactions and experiences, that they tell their friends, who will they their friends, who will tell their friends…

And 2009, bought for over $922 Million.  That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it.

And its not that these types of companies are perfect. It’s not that every single interaction is perfect. What is so is that they have a huge reserve of gratitude from their customers, that if and when a mistake is made, that customers are willing to be more forgiving. Especially when that tender, loving care is how they deal with the mistake or issue.

As Jeanne would say, “The decision is yours.”




The Art of Transmedia Storytelling at SXSW: Summit by the Summit and Clean Drinking Water

On the Next Stage at SXSW I went to see The Art of Trans-media Storytelling with the Grammy-nominated recording artist Kenna, (Twitter handle @okKenna) with where Justin Wilkes,’s Executive Vice President of Media and Entertainment, whose credits include Nike BattleGrounds and Jay-Z: Fade to Black. They took us through the process, challenges, and opportunities of trans-media storytelling through the lense of Kenna and crew’s climb of Kilimanjaro.

How does one bring awareness to something so important and simple as clean drinking water? Do something as striking as climb Kilimanjaro and use a trans-media approach to provide a play-by-play approach to tell the story.

The lack of clean drinking water is amazing. Over 1 billion people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. When you donate, 1 penny equals 1 liter of clean, safe drinking water. You can donate and get involved in lot’s of ways! Here’s a screen grab from their website.

Crew that Climbed Kilimanjaro to Bring Awareness About the Lack of Clean Drinking Water

Here’s the video of part of the session at SXSW on the Art of Transmedia StoryTelling:

For more information on the climb check out the site.

Learn. Share. Grow.



Geo-Location Based Applications At SXSW: Whatser –> Making a City Your Own

Something funny happened on the way home from the Mall. I lost my computer charger. It’s a MAC. So I had to get to the Apple store in the Mall outside of Austin. Someone told me the Apple Store here near SXSW was only selling the ipad and the line was from here to Los Angeles…

As I was leaving the Mall’s Apple store, two gentlemen with SXSW Conference passes approached me. They had their own reasons for having gone to the Mall. And wanted to know if they could hitch a ride back.

There were NO taxis for miles around…And walking back to the conference wasn’t really an option! Of course I said yes… as long as I could interview them on the cab ride back. They agreed. So below is the interview with the Founder of Whatser, a Geo-location-based application out of Amsterdam.

If you want to know where to go for breakfast, where can you dance all night long, where to find that perfect outfit, where to hold a wedding, where to find the best deal… Michiel Verberg’s app might just be the right app for you and they have updated it since it’s release in November 2010 release. Here’s the cab interview… apologies if it is a bit bumpy… but you have to admit, I am making the most of my time here at SXSW!:

There seem to be a lot of applications like this out there. Does anyone have a Harvey Ball chart? with Features, Functions and Benefits? Comparison? Love to see that! Wondering which ones will win out in the long run! For more information on this application:

The website is:

The twitter handle is:

The facebook:

Venture Beat Article:

iTunes app:

Learn. Share. Grow.



Part 3: Comedian, Loni Love on What Companies Can Learn From Comedians, Fans and Customers

Click here to learn more on Loni Love’s wisdom about Twitter, on the importance of fans/customers and that there is nothing more special than showing you care.

This is wisdom that everyone can use!

Loni Love spoke at the 140tc conference, with me, about how marketing, PR, customer service  and comedy/ fans are very similar. Just likes companies need “fans” or customers, she depends on fans to come and see her perform at shows and on TV. Loni uses twitter as a way to reach out to her fans and build that relationship.

Loni Love Uses Twitter As A Megaphone To Show How Much She Appreciates Her Fans

Loni Love Uses Twitter As A Megaphone To Show How Much She Appreciates Her Fans

Loni typically starts the day in Twitter by providing her fans with inspirational quotes/jokes. She then sends out information on her schedule for the day, jokes, as well as links to funny stories. She says that many people find the content fun, uplifting and entertaining and they retweet it! Often fans are inspired by her tweets and they also send out jokes. She sometimes retweets those herself or comments on them.

When did this great comedian start using Twitter? In June of 2009. She currently has over 74,837 followers; at the time of the video in May 2009, she had 8,000 followers. Loving your fans means they grow over time.

TV's doctor, Dr. Drew showing Loni Love the "Luv" For What She Does

TV's doctor, Dr. Drew showing Loni Love the "Luv" For What She Does

How does this comedian’s actions on Twitter relate to Customer Service? Customers want to know they are valued. Loni sees Twitter as the opportunity to do that. Sure Loni is in the entertainment business and you might be in the business of customer service, but there is a common denominator here. And the commonality is this: acknowledging and appreciating fans or customers garners reciprocal appreciation, but in ten-fold. Often times entertainers, like companies, can seem like they are far removed from their fans of customers. Companies have often been categorized as giant, unfeeling monoliths. In part that is because their communication with customers and the public is very stayed, calculated and predicable. It is written, checked and rechecked to the point that it has lost the human touch.

What Loni has experienced by retweeting a fan’s tweet or commenting on a tweet, is that people feel that they have made a special connection with her. She says they are often surprised that she responds and interacts so much! They are delighted and feel cared about when she does something as simple as type something in less than 140 characters.

Loni’s whole purpose in being an entertainer and comedian is to make people laugh. Her goal is to help them forget about their problems for at least a few minutes. Loni loves using Twitter because it is a tool that helps her to spread her passion about helping people to remember to laugh and enjoy life a little more. You may have seen her spreading her humor and love on E! on the Chelsea Lately show.

Loni Love on the E! show, Chelsea Lately

Loni Love on the E! show, Chelsea Lately

Loni  suggests that when you think about the parallels to what she is doing and customer service, she suggests companies remember that customers are always the number one priority. You can reach out to them via Twitter and show your appreciation for them. Loyalty often comes from feeling “a part of something.” Paying attention to fans or customers helps them to feel vested in what you are doing and in what you stand for. And by showing your passion as a company, your employees will catch the appreciation bug also!

You can follow Loni on Twitter at

Loni’s website is:

And information about Chelsea and her show, Chelsea Lately is at:

Learn. Grow. Share.

Thanks for tuning in!  @DrNatalie