Customer Experience University - Winning Loyalty & Engagement One Customer at a Time

New York Times #1 bestselling author, Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., shares customer experience, leadership, and business insights from Mercedes-Benz, Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton, Zappos, Pike Place Fish, and many more.

At The Michelli Experience, we help front-line employees, managers, and senior leaders deliver relevant and engaging service experiences. To that end, we provide keynote and workshop presentations, short-term and extended consulting services, and bestselling books to meet your needs.

This is the first in a 5-part series.

In late 2019 I released a book about Airbnb’s meteoric rise. It was titled The Airbnb Way - 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging.

As you can imagine, the timing of The Airbnb Way wasn’t optimal, as Airbnb faced its share of challenges with dramatic decreases in travel in the early phases of the pandemic. That said, I believe my work with Airbnb leaders provides important and enduring value across the five areas featured in the book. Namely:

  • Belonging
  • Trust
  • Hospitality
  • Empowerment
  • Community

Each episode in this series will focus on one of those themes. Let’s start with belonging.


This is the final post in a series titled "Customer Experience IS Team Member Experience."

Given the current challenges of attracting and retaining employees and the resulting impact of those challenges on customer experience delivery, this series has focused on engaging your employee base. Last week, I offered 10 evidence-based practices for driving employee engagement and retention. This week, I’ll round out the series with 10 more scientifically proven ways to increase your organization's engagement levels.   

This is the fifth post in a series titled "Customer Experience IS Team Member Experience."

As this post's name implies, there are many best practices when it comes to increasing employee engagement (EE). For our purposes, I’ll stick with evidence-based approaches (those that show reliable and replicable results) featuring 10 employee engaging activities this week and 10 more to close out the series next week. 

This is the fourth in a series titled "Customer Experience IS Team Member Experience." 

Generally, the benefits of a highly engaged workforce fall into two categories – increased financial performance and improved employee performance and well-being.

Since employee engagement looks like the best thing since sliced bread, how do we increase it in our workplaces?

This is the third in a series titled "Customer Experience IS Team Member Experience."

As promised, this week we will look at how to best measure attitudinal and behavioral elements of employee engagement or EE.

While many commercially available employee engagement metrics exist, I am a fan of the Gallup Q12.

Next week, we’ll look at employee engagement outcomes. For now, here are three challenge questions:

  • Do you measure the engagement of your workforce? 
  • If so, how are you using what you learn to craft action plans that decrease the "squatters and renters" while increasing the "owners?"
  • If you don’t measure workplace engagement, when are you going to start?

I’ve spent considerable time talking about adaptivity and learning resilience. As such, I’m intrigued by the role of "vigor" and “absorption” in concepts of employee engagement.

As you'll recall from my last installment, employee engagement or EE was conceptualized in 1990 but didn't gain research traction until approximately 2008. In that post, I asked you to think about whether employee engagement is an employee trait, a state created by your organization, or a set of attitudes or behaviors.

This week’s guest is Shep Hyken. Shep is a customer service and experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.

Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of Moments of Magic®, The Loyal Customer, The Cult of the Customer, The Amazement Revolution, Amaze Every Customer Every Time, Be Amazing or Go Home and The Convenience Revolution. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus™, a customer service training program that helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset. (Now available as an online/web-based training program!)

In 1983 Shep founded Shepard Presentations and since then has worked with hundreds of clients ranging from Fortune 100 size organizations to companies with less than 50 employees. Some of his clients include American Airlines, AAA, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, AETNA, Abbott Laboratories, American Express – and that’s just a few of the A’s!

For more, visit

Originally streamed live on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

This is the first post in a series titled "Customer Experience IS Team Member Experience."

As much as I am a people person, I worry that some human-focused leaders and consultants veer a bit too far away from research and data when it comes to understanding team member and customer behaviors. Amid extreme staffing challenges, I have read and heard a lot of employment guidance that runs in opposition to the science behind employee engagement. 

So, what is known about employee engagement (also referred to as role, personal, work, job, or organizational engagement)? Which widespread claims about employee engagement, or EE for short, are supported by research and which are not? 

Previously, I've unpacked the first six skills outlined in Professor W. Warner Burke's research-based model of learning agility, namely:

  • Flexibility
  • Speed
  • Experimenting
  • Performance Risk
  • Interpersonal Risk Taking
  • Collaborating

In this installment, we’ll explore the final three skills presented in Dr. Burke's book, Learning Agility. Those skills are:

  • Information
  • Gathering Feedback
  • Seeking Reflecting

This week’s guest is Christine McHugh, who brings her executive leadership experience to consult and coach on strategic planning, operations, culture and talent development within customer-centered service industries.

Christine works with clients and companies at a pivotal moment—when they're ready for help and perspective from an experienced executive. Successful clients see this partnership and the business growth as a learning opportunity. Leaders and teams are set-up to succeed long-term. She has a book, "From Barista to Boardroom," which is part autobiography and part business memoir available at booksellers now. For more visit,

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