To be successful you should surround yourself with successful people, right?
Delivering a solid customer experience is tough, but listening to people who have already done it can really cut down on your learning time. Unfortunately, time and space constraints can make that difficult.
The internet has taken some of those time and space constraints out of the equation. With literally thousands of CX blogs, podcasts, videos, and social media accounts to follow, you can tap into expert advice without ever leaving your house.
But as per usual, the internet is a double-edged sword. The sheer volume of content makes finding sources that are worth your time a challenge in and of itself.
That’s why I’ve put together this list for you.
I write about CX, and there are plenty of lists of the CX influencers with the most Twitter followers, years in the industry, self-marketing prowess, and name recognition.
I’ve included a few big names here, but in my decision on who to include I weighed the quality of the influencer’s content much more heavily than their fame. I wanted to focus on bringing your attention to people who are creating actionable, interesting, specific, and entertaining CX content. Especially ones you might not already know about.
So here are nine customer experience (CX) influencers that I think are worth paying attention to. (Listed in no particular order.)
1. Luca Longo: Revealing his CX design process, step-by-step
Profession: UX Designer and Mobile Specialist
Based in: Palma, Spain
More on the user interface (UI) side of the equation, Luca Longo is a must-follow because he looks at real-life customer experiences, tries to find ways to improve them, and writes about what he learned along the way.
For example, while consulting with a hotel chain, Longo noticed that competitors waited until after check-in to engage with guests. Thinking it might provide a better experience to offer guests something of value before they checked in for their stay, Longo decided to test sending guests a welcome email introducing them to the hotel, offering maps and guides for the city, instructions for contacting customer service, and a mobile (or WhatsApp) message with their booking confirmation number, along with other useful information.
The result? Guests who got the email stayed longer and canceled less often.
Aiming that same eye for improvement at Google AdWords, Longo wrote “How to Design UX Search: Organising and Filtering. A Google AdWords Case Study” for his blog, Design Excellent. He followed that up with “34 UX Guidelines for Search Box and Results Page.”
2. Patrick Bet-David: Down-to-earth advice and clear video instruction
Profession: Entrepreneur and Financial Advisor
Based in: Dallas, TX
I found Patrick Bet-David via suggested video on YouTube. It began with “Customer Service Vs. Customer Experience,” a no-nonsense explainer on the difference between the two. If you like to learn from videos, and you prefer a straight-talking style, he’s a good one to follow.
He’s also got an interesting backstory. He and his father fled Iran in 1988 during the Iran–Iraq War and were refugees in Germany for two years before arriving in the U.S. when Bet-David was 12 years old. Bet-David served with the 101st Airborne Division in the U.S. Army, then worked at Morgan Stanley. He parlayed his experience in finance to a career teaching people the principles of finance and entrepreneurship.
His Twitter account includes gems such as “Time is like river. You cannot touch the same water twice because of the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy it.”
Most of his content is sales-related, but the lessons are often applicable to customer experience more broadly.
3. Matthew Dixon: The CX measurement guru
Profession: Executive Director, CEB
Based in: Washington, D.C.
Realizing that companies needed a way to quantitatively measure the hassle inefficient and cumbersome processes created for their customers, Matthew Dixon created the Customer Effort Score and debuted it, along with coauthors, in the famous Harvard Business Review article, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.”
He’s also the author of “The Effortless Experience,” one of Capterra’s “5 Must-Read Customer Success Books.”
“What’s brilliant about ‘The Effortless Experience’ is its pragmatism,” Richard Joyce, the Operations Director at Home Retail Group Customer Services wrote at The Art Of. “Here is real, practical, implementable guidance to help avoid those pitfalls.”
As group leader of CEB’s financial services and customer contact practices, Matt guides a team that serves nearly 13,000 executives from over 400 financial services organizations across 50 countries.
4. Mark Sanborn: Packing a lot of value into a few words
Profession: Keynote Speaker
Based in: Denver, CO
Another YouTube find, I love Sanborn’s keynote talk, “4 Ways to Elevate the Customer’s Experience.” Mostly a motivational speaker for sales and marketing professionals, Sanborn is a National Speakers Association (NSA) Certified Speaking Professional and is in their Speaker Hall of Fame.
I enjoy his blog posts, including, “What’s Better than Great Customer Service?” And his “10 Ways to Sell More” post may sound like just another listicle, but he actually delivers real value in only a few words. “Return phone calls immediately, provide what you promised quickly and be accessible,” Sanborn writes. “No buyer should ever have to work to get what they need from a sales professional.” There’s nothing groundbreaking in that, but it’s extremely concise and really good advice.
5. Simon Ouderkirk: Honest and talented
Profession: Customer Success, Automattic
Based in: Saratoga Springs, NY
“To explain a process, to make verbs visible, is at the heart of information design.”
Ouderkirk didn’t say that, but he tweeted it, along with a photo of his cat. It’s a quote from an Edward R. Tufte book on data visualization. Ouderkirk’s tweets on customer experience are impassioned, interesting, and informative. You can learn about anything from QA testing best practices to corporate leadership.
He doesn’t blog often, but his posts are honest, well-written, and interesting. Like his latest post, on why he quit making his award-winning podcast even though he really enjoyed it.
6. Annette Franz: A CX OG still at the top of her game
Profession: VP, Marketing and Client Experience, Compellon, Inc.
Based in: Orange County, CA
As Founder and CEO of CX Journey and a Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) board member, Franz is a CX OG (original gangsta). Her Twitter has great stuff, including an account of the first 90 days for a brand new CXO. There are also a lot of “Thanks @whoever retweeted me” tweets.
Follow her blog for tips on keeping your employees motivated and taking action based on customer data.
7. Jeanne Bliss: The CX podcast queen
Profession: Founder and CEO, Customer Bliss
Based in: Bellevue, WA
No list of customer experience influencers would be complete without Bliss. She pioneered the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) role. She also co-founded the CXPA. At Customer Bliss, she helps companies grow by showing them how to treat their customers well.
Her Twitter feed is full of great stuff, including articles such as “Customer Experience Insights from T-Mobile, Patagonia, Mozilla, and WeTransfer“ and “How to identify the “big rocks” in your customer experience plan.”
Her blog is also high-quality, but lately I’ve really been enjoying her podcast, where she interviews high-ranking CCOs and other CX pros about how to, for example, sell CX initiatives to the rest of the C-Suite.
8. Ruairi Galavan: Great CX advice mixed in with lots of fun
Profession: Manager, Product Education, Intercom
Location: Berlin and Dublin
Galavan writes about how to transition from slow, disconnected, impersonal customer communication to a more personal approach.
His tweets range from the silly…
“First time icing a cake. Nailed it.”
…to the serious, with plenty of great CX advice mixed in. Follow him for links to Intercom’s collection of short, inspiring essays on how to build a startup, along with links to other experts’ advice on the best way to set up your user onboarding program.
9. Peter Lavers: CX for the B2B space
Profession: Futurist for IBM
Based in: London
After spending 18 years in various roles at Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Lavers has learned a thing or two about CX. Today he is, among other things, a director at WCL Customer Management, which helps companies find, engage, and satisfy customers.
What I like about his Twitter feed is the focus on B2B and tech in tweets with advice on topics such as how blockchain tech is relevant to data science. He also writes for the IBM THINK Marketing blog on topics including “3 behavioral mind-sets for accurate content personalization.”
Let me know who I left out in the comments. And if any of these faces are new to you and you decide to check them out, let me know what you think.
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