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 third in a 5-post series, How to Deliver World-Class Customer Experiences – Leading the Starbucks Way, as we continue through the business concepts in my book Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles to Connect with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People.

In the context of my principle, Reach for Common Ground, I highlight two competing perspectives held by cultural anthropologists - universalism and cultural relativism. While the words are daunting, the concepts are straightforward. Universalism suggests that the underlying similarities of all people are greater than cultural differences. By contrast, cultural relativism asserts that cultural differences have the most profound effect on people making it difficult for “outsiders” to fully understand a relevant context of behavior. While anthropologists may argue about universalism or cultural relativism, most business owners and leaders are not interested in winning a debate. Instead, we need to scale our business to maximize commonalities while making local adjustments to ensure market acceptance.

How do you determine if you should vary your offering or drive consistency across locations?

This is the second in a 5-post series, “How to Deliver World-Class Customer Experiences – Leading the Starbucks Way." In this installment, we continue to explore business concepts in my book Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles to Connect with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People.

When sitting across from Howard Schultz (the former CEO of Starbucks) it doesn’t take him long to get to the heart of leadership excellence which explains why I titled a Starbucks business principle “Love to be Loved.”

From Howard’s perspective, much of leadership comes down to three traits: “Take love, humanity, and humility and then place them in a performance-driven organization. Those humanistic elements in performance may seem in conflict to the naked eye. But I believe performance is significantly enhanced by human-centric leadership. I am convinced of it because we have become more performance-driven than at any other time in our history and the values of the company are at a high level. If we can infuse love, humanity, and humility on a global basis and build it into a performance-driven organization, we are unbeatable.”

In what ways are you managing through the lens of humanity while still maintaining high-performance expectations? 

For context and based on requests, I’m in the process of presenting key concepts from my ten McGraw-Hill customer experience and leadership books. This is the first in a five-part series, “How to Deliver World-Class Customer Experiences – Leading the Starbucks Way."  

The story of Starbucks' meteoric growth during the 1990s and early 2000s is well chronicled in a series of books about the company including one I wrote titled The Starbucks Experience. However, by the mid-2000s the company was reeling from years of frenzied expansion, an obsession for year-over-year sales numbers, a sliding global economy, and less frequent visits from loyal customers in Starbucks’ U.S. stores.

In the book, I wrote during the Starbucks revitalization titled Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles to Connect with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People, I outlined leadership and customer experience tactics that supported Starbucks' transformation plan.

To effectively elevate Starbucks to “be the undisputed coffee authority,” leadership redoubled efforts to drive a passion for the company’s core offering - coffee. While many leaders do not view product passion as a necessary component for sales success, it certainly differentiates sales leaders like Starbucks from most other competitors.

What are you doing to help your people become the undisputed authority in your sector? 

This is the final post in my series titled – “Customer Experience Excellence – The Airbnb Way."

This week we continue to journey through key concepts found in my 10 leadership books, as we finish our quick review of my book titled The Airbnb Way - 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging. Throughout this series, we’ve explored belonging, trust, hospitality, and empowerment. This week we highlight community.

The Airbnb Way is filled with examples and tactics for bringing stakeholders together to enhance community.

How are you helping your customers come together as a community?

This is the fourth in a 5-post series titled "Customer Experience Excellence – The Airbnb Way."

This week we continue to journey through key concepts found in my 10 leadership books by diving back into our cursory review of my book titled The Airbnb Way - 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging.

Last week we touched on hospitality. This week we will spotlight empowerment and next week we will round out this series by discussing community.

At the core of Airbnb’s value proposition is empowerment. The platform enables people to use the economic power of their homes to generate revenue. In fact, Airbnb leaders have crafted an “Economic Empowerment Agenda.”

In The Airbnb Way, I go beyond the macroeconomics of the platform and explore how leaders enable and empower their teams, hosts, and guests.

Since empowerment is a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control and foster power, what processes do you have in place to foster power and control for your team members and customers? 

This is the third in a 5-part series. This week we continue to journey through key concepts found in my 10 leadership books. Let’s rejoin our brisk review of my book titled The Airbnb Way - 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging.

Last week we touched on trust. This week we will highlight hospitality and in the weeks ahead we will explore empowerment and community.

This is the second in a 5-part series. This week we continue to journey through key concepts found in my 10 leadership books and pick up our exploration of my book titled The Airbnb Way - 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging.

Last week we touched on belonging, this week we highlight trust and in the weeks ahead we will explore hospitality, empowerment, and community.

Given all the ways in which we routinely trust strangers in conventional business, why is it difficult to imagine a similar transfer of trust in the context of sharing economy options like Airbnb?

At what points in your customer journey are you at greatest risk for losing trust?

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. 

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