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Judge Spotlight: The 2018 Customer Experience Update MVP Awards

Name: Ernan Roman

Check it out: Ernan is a prolific blogger at Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices and has come out with 24 VoC research-based Tips for CX Innovation. You can check out the ERDM Corp. website here for Customer Experience case studies.

What do you do, and what is your favorite part of your job? 

Our company conducts uniquely deep qualitative Voice of Customer (VoC) research to understand how clients’ customers articulate their feelings and detailed expectations for competitively differentiating customer experiences (CX) and personalization. My favorite part of the job is using qualitative research to generate deep insights to understand  why customers feel the way they do and what are the detailed and specific actions necessary to improve the customer experience.

How did you get started in customer experience?

I majored in psychology at college and have always been interested in human behavior and motivations.

What makes you a qualified judge of Customer Experience MVPs? 

I have 30 years of experience conducting VoC research for brands such as IBM, Microsoft, Gilt, QVC and Shinola.

What’s a notable trend in customer experience that you’re seeing lately?

Recent findings from our research indicate that marketers must fundamentally change their thinking, because no matter what you are selling—you are selling to a person. That “person” could be a Business PERSON or a Consumer PERSON. Old BtoB and BtoC thinking must evolve to focus on engaging with people—not segments or cohorts. BtoB and BtoC are artificial labels that get in our way. Hence the need to shift to PtoP, (Person to Person). When you drop those labels you can begin to understand that no matter where the buying decision is made –at home or in office– it’s a person making that decision. Your ability to earn their repeat purchases and loyalty will be based on how they are treated—as a person not an account.

What’s your favorite museum?

Metropolitan Museum of NY.

Name: Marilyn Suttle

Check it out: Marilyn has created a delightful coloring book filled with customer service-building activities, Color Their World: The Art of Creating Strong Customer Loyalty.

What do you do, and what is your favorite part of your job?

I’m a customer service expert, professional speaker and three-time bestselling author, who helps businesses make Suttle Shifts for big breakthroughs in the customer experience. I work with leaders and customer-facing employees who want to create long-term win-win relationships with customers and team members, by making continuous improvements in:

  • Customer Focus – Putting the customer 1st while still meeting the goals of the Organization
  • Employee Engagement/Customer Loyalty – Creating service strategies that differentiate
  • Relationship/Communication Skills – Building trust and respect. Staying calm and strategic; mastering difficult conversations

I co-authored two books about connecting with customers so that they become loyal fans. The first, entitled:“Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan” is currently in print in both English and Chinese. The second book – “Taming Gladys! The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty” – became an international Amazon bestseller in the customer service category.

In May 2018, I authored a best-selling activity-filled adult coloring book, entitled: “Color Their World: The Art of Creating Strong Customer Loyalty” – to empower service staff to enjoy excelling at creating lasting customer relationships.

The part of my job I love the most is seeing the “Aha” lightbulb moments when team members change the way they think about their customers, their company, and themselves. It’s rewarding to watch my clients win industry awards, raise service scores and improve communication after working with me.

How did you get started in customer experience?

You might say that creating positive customer experiences is in my DNA. My parents both owned customer-focused small businesses. I grew up with conversations around the dinner table about values, being of service, and going the extra mile. After college I worked as a contract systems consultant. With each new client, I was fascinated to discover the effects company culture had on employee attitudes and performance. I began focusing on the mindset needed to create strong communication and relationship skills. My Personal and Professional Growth Training firm, Suttle Enterprises LLC, has now been in business for 20 years, through which I’ve trained thousands in Fortune 500 companies, associations, universities, and small to mid-sized companies in advertising, financial and health care industries.

What makes you a qualified judge of Customer Experience MVPs?

In addition to being an industry expert in the field of customer service, I spent well over a year interviewing World-Class customer-focused companies that excel at service – featuring 10 stand-out case studies in my first book, “Who’s Your Gladys” I’m also listed as one of the World’s Top 30 Customer Service Professionals for 2018 by Global Gurus Top 30

My advice has been featured on TV news, radio, and in major print such as US News & World Report, Fast Company, Ladies Home Journal, Corp Magazine, Inc. Magazine, LA Times, and the Chicago Tribune to name a few.

What’s a notable trend in customer experience that you’re seeing lately?

AI (Artificial Intelligence) has become a Cyrano de Bergerac for agents, quickly feeding them information so they can answer customer questions more effectively.   It also offers a speedy way for customers to get answers on their own.

What would be on an ice cream sundae that’s named after you?

The Marilyn Suttle Not-too Suttle Sunday – A warm walnut brownie with butter pecan ice-cream covered in hot fudge, with a dollop of whipped cream topped with a milk-chocolate coconut haystack. (I just gained 5 pounds describing it.)