Update 2/1/2018: This post has been updated to include more influencers to follow.
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. 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 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 CX tech, 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 I weighed the quality of the influencer’s content much more heavily than their fame. I want to bring your attention to people who are creating actionable, interesting, specific, and entertaining CX content. Especially ones you might not already know about.
So here, in no particular order, are nine customer experience (CX) influencers that I think are worth paying attention to.
1. Seth Adler: CX podcaster with high-quality guests
Profession: Host, CX Podcast Theatre
Seth Adler hosts CX Podcast Series, where he interviews CX experts at well-known companies. Adler recently spoke with Peter Paluzi, VP of sourcing at Carhartt, on the relationship between brand and consumer. Adler also talked to Bill Ashton about how Ralph Lauren married high quality with premium customer service.
2. Jim Tincher: CX consultant, speaker, and blogger
Profession: Founder, Heart of the Customer
Jim Tincher founded CX consulting company Heart of the Customer to help companies increase customer engagement. He brings customer engagement experience at Best Buy, Gallup, and UnitedHealth Group to the table. Whether on webinars, in interviews, or on his own blog, Tincher teaches brands to harness Voice of the Customer research to identify unmet needs, develop new products, and improve customer service.
3. Luca Longo: Revealing his CX design process, step by step
Profession: UX designer and mobile specialist
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, Longo decided to test sending guests a welcome email introducing them to the hotel.
The email offered maps and guides for the city, instructions for contacting customer service, and a mobile (or WhatsApp) message with their booking confirmation number.
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.” He followed that up with “34 UX Guidelines for Search Box and Results Page.”
4. Matthew Dixon: The CX measurement guru
Profession: Executive director, CEB
Realizing that companies need a way to quantitatively measure the hassle that inefficient and cumbersome processes create for their customers, Matthew Dixon created the Customer Effort Score and debuted it, along with his 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 writes. “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.
5. Mark Sanborn: Packing a lot of value into a few words
Profession: Keynote speaker
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 also 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.
6. Annette Franz: A CX OG still at the top of her game
Profession: Founder and CEO of CX Journey
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. Fair warning, however: 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
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.“
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
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
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.”
Who is your favorite CX influencer?
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.
For more help improving your CX, check out our customer experience software category.