The Michelli Experience

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.

In A Whack on the Side of the Head, Roger suggests that clarity is essential for communication but can be limiting when it comes to ideation. In essence, when we don't embrace the multi-faceted nature of problems we often rush to simple and incomplete solutions (typically selecting the first logical solution that comes to mind). Similarly, Roger believes that errors "are a sign that you are diverging from the well-traveled path" since an error can be "a stepping-stone to some new idea you might not have otherwise discovered." He goes onto suggest that you must "strengthen your 'risk muscle.' Everyone has one, but you have to exercise it, or else it will atrophy. Make it a point to take at least one risk every twenty-four hours." Routinely, I help leadership teams enter a playful and safe ideation space before we tackle serious customer experience challenges. In what ways do you and your team embrace ambiguity?

In 1983, while pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California, I got a creative nudge from the book A Whack on the Side of the Head – How You Can Be More Creative. The book's author, Roger von Oech (who received his Ph.D. from Stanford in the history of ideas and creativity), offered keen insights which were foundational to professor Carol Dweck's work on growth mindset and professor Warner Burke's research on learning agility. Since customer experience elevation requires flexibility, creativity, and adaptivity, this series of posts will cover the work of Drs. von Oech, Dweck, and Burke and will start with three of von Oech's ten mental locks, which he says are hazardous to creative thinking.

This week’s guest is Dr. Byron L. Ernest. Dr. Ernest is the Director of Educator Development & Partnerships at Noble Education Initiative and is charged with developing teacher leadership and certification programs as well as college and university partnerships. Dr. Ernest developed NEI’s 3-D Leadership Program. The 3-D Leadership Program is designed to discover great talent within participating schools and develop this talent to become the next generation of great teachers and leaders. Dr. Ernest is an avid blogger, with his thoughts on education and leadership being found at Additionally, he tweets often on matters of education and leadership. Dr. Ernest can be followed on Twitter at @ByronErnest.

Originally live streamed on May 27, 2021.

Recently, I have been asked to highlight companies that demonstrate breakthrough (CX) customer experience innovation. So, before I launch into another series, I'll highlight a world-class CX leader named Zameer Kassam Fine Jewelry. As you may know, the Manhattan-based jeweler serves upscale clients across the globe who are looking for custom-designed jewelry, especially engagement rings or other items that celebrate a milestone. The CX superpower for Zameer Kassam is storytelling. How are you helping your customer create the story they will share about your product or service?

Fairly early in my career, I was fortunate to happen upon customer value theories and research conducted by Professors Sheth, Newman, and Gross. In their book, Consumption Values and Market Choices – Theory and Application, these authors reviewed more than 200 studies on customer value. The book is a rich resource on what drives customer choice, ways to inquire about customer value and data analytic approaches to consumer preferences. I will highlight the core tenets of the theory expressed and tested by these researchers and outline five types of consumer value.


his is the sixth and final post in a series titled "Team Member and Customer Experience Value."

In my recently released book Stronger Through Adversity, Natasha Hritzuk the Vice President and Head of Consumer Insights at WarnerMedia Entertainment shared the challenges leaders can face when mining consumer insights to understand value drivers – especially in the context of a pandemic. According to Natasha, “In the first two months of our journey with COVID-19, we were concerned about a consumer survey being unwelcomed and receiving a low response rate. So, we initially engaged people in ways that were a bit unusual for us—through online focus groups and ethnography [descriptive or immersive studies using tools like customer journals]—before we returned to a survey approach.”

How would you rate your ability to drive customer success by using customer analytics at scale through formal listening?

Unpacking the paradoxes of the way humans think is Dr. Rebecca Heiss’ life work. Her research has been designated “transformative” by the National Science Foundation. She taught at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and later was recruited to be among the founding faculty members to develop a startup school to nurture entrepreneurial minds and approach learning through impact. She is the founder and CEO of Icueity, a continuous 360 review app providing users ongoing fearless feedback and challenging them to grow in self-awareness. Her latest book Instinct is a roadmap that anyone can use to finally stop living on autopilot, improve productivity and happiness, and consciously craft a better life. For more about Rebecca, visit

Originally recorded as a video Livestream on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

I believe that even greater customer value comes from moving from services to experiences (rather than from products to services). I also believe physical and digital service experiences are not mutually exclusive. In other words, service is table stakes in the value equation of most customers, and well-designed branded, emotionally enveloping experiences are differentiators. Further, the future success of a business depends on a shift to digital self-serve bolstered by elevated human experience delivery – not a choice of digital versus physical.

For more about the role of value creation in the future of customer experience success, please pick up or gift a copy of my book Stronger Through Adversity or you can download one of my complimentary eBooks including one I just wrote about Stronger Through Adversity.

This week’s guest is Chris Recinos. Chris has climbed the ladder as a front-line nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse faculty, nurse leader, chief nurse executive and nurse entrepreneur. She went from being a teen mom living in foster care to a Chief Nurse Executive with a PhD in her 30s and learned how to manage a business while raising a family. For more visit,

Originally aired on Thursday, April 29, 2021, as a video Livestream.

Writing for the online magazine Simplicable, technologist John Spacey defines value creation as “any process that creates outputs that are more valuable than its inputs.

For me, customer value often is more a function of reducing clutter as opposed to increasing complexity. Clutter removal often involves streamlining cumbersome processes that hamper value delivery.

For more about the role of value creation in the future of customer experience success, please pick-up or gift a copy of my book Stronger Through Adversity or you can download one of my many complimentary eBooks including one I just wrote about Stronger Through Adversity. You can do that by visiting

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