ideas and chatter from the customer experience community

Announcing MaritzCX – Redefining the Customer Experience (CX)


Today I am thrilled to announce the creation of MaritzCX!

Allegiance Software Inc. and Maritz Holdings Inc. have announced the intent to create a new independent company, MaritzCX, through the acquisition of Allegiance and subsequent combination with Maritz Research Inc.

We will bring together the award-winning software innovation of Allegiance with the market research expertise of Maritz Research to form an entirely new kind of global customer experience company. We are doing this for two reasons:

First and foremost, the world has changed. The opinion of one customer can quickly influence millions. We believe that it is time to treat and serve each customer as an individual to garner their loyalty.

Second, the industry value-chain has shifted. Market research was once prized for gathering high-quality data. Today, clients want the data, and much more. MaritzCX is all about helping you achieve loyalty with your customers, and generate more ROI.

The mission of MaritzCX is to drive tangible increases in customer retention, conversion, and lifetime value. We do this by helping our customers see earlier, sense faster, and act personally. We will accomplish this by embedding our CX Intelligence & Actions Systems into the fabric of business operations. Our goal is both simple and achievable: to earn the right as your preferred Customer Experience Outcomes Partner.

We are poised to do great things with accelerated momentum. MaritzCX is forging a new path for the multi-billion CX industry. With an unmatched combination of customer experience (CX) software, data and research science, deep vertical market expertise, and managed program services, MaritzCX will deliver the world’s broadest end-to-end CX software platform and services business.

The impact of customer-churn is measured in trillions of dollars, so the ability to see, sense, and act upon the experience of every customer is critical. As MaritzCX, we will accelerate the flow of CX intelligence, from months to minutes, on an organization-wide scale. We will automate the actions to treat and serve every customer as the individual they are. And we will anticipate and influence the triggers of customer happiness over the lifetime of relationships.

I’m excited about this new change, and I invite you to learn more at

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MaritzCX Public Service Announcement: Apprehending Christmas Villains

I need to deviate from the usual content of The Ride and bring to you a public service announcement from your friends at MaritzCX.   Our Allegiance big data platform has picked up chatter about some villains that have the potential of causing serious problems next Wednesday night – Christmas Eve.  Citizens are asked to be vigilant, keep your eyes open, and alert authorities if you see anything suspicious.

Until next time.


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Getting More from the Voice of the Customer

Customers talk and write about their experiences. They praise and will recommend one company, while sharing horror stories and admonishing other consumers to stay away from another. Customers often furnish detailed descriptions of what they want, need, like, or dislike about a brand or firm. Whether solicited or unsolicited, the “voice of the customer” is there for the taking, and companies are well-advised to listen.   

The good news is that most organizations get this, and regularly conduct surveys, solicit comments and complaints, and scour websites in order to identify opportunities to improve customer experiences and relationships.

The bad news is that, according to the 2014 VoC Challenges and Practices Survey conducted by MaritzCX, more than 75% of Fortune 100 managers say their organizations are falling short when it comes to getting the most from the voice of the customer.

So, what do organizations having successful VoC programs do that the others do not?

I recently had the privilege of presenting a workshop at the 2014 NG Customer Experience Forum in Austin.  In this workshop, I highlighted the challenges that prevent a majority of organizations from getting the most out of their efforts to capture and leverage the voice of the customer. I also attempted to illustrate how organizations having successful VoC programs handle these challenges.

One challenge that holds most companies back is how to build a comprehensive perspective of the total customer experience.  Successful VoC programs typically embrace three methods of addressing this challenge:

  • They use multiple methods of CX listening and learning for each key stage and touch point in the customer journey.
  • They enable managers to access and review all data in a single place, usually via a CX dashboard/platform.
  • They make all of these data sources “work together” through a formal process of VoC Integration.

Another challenge that stymies most organizations is how to integrate the Voice of the Customer into “Big Data” initiatives.  In the workshop, I tried to illustrate how organizations effectively address this challenge by:

  • Mapping hypothesized connections between CX data and other business data – in advance of analysis – through a process known as Customer-Centric Business Blueprinting
  • Using data mining and linkage modeling to “breathe life” into the above blueprint, with an eye toward demonstrating how customer experience actually is linked to business processes and results

Finally, I focused on the most difficult challenge most organizations face – getting managers and employees to take action based on insights and priorities derived from the Voice of the Customer.  Specifically, I shared four practices that enable organizations to use the VoC to drive meaningful action and improvement:

  • For any give action item, all managers and employees who have a hand in shaping what the customer experiences and evaluates are involved in the action planning process.
  • Action planning teams focus on identifying the root causes of poor customer experiences so that they can “fix the right things.”
  • Actions are evaluated in terms of cost, feasibility, and projected efficacy:  Those that fare well against these criteria make their way into the plan that ultimately gets implemented.
  • The effect of actions taken is monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Getting the most from the Voice of the Customer undoubtedly involves many practices and solutions.  However, the ones described above are those that separate organizations that are truly successful at “putting the Voice of the Customer to work” from all the others.

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Understanding Key Drivers of Customer Experience: A MaritzCX Perspective

What determines the overall satisfaction of your customers? Is it satisfaction with areas such as sales or service, retail facilities, products offered, pricing, or something else?

Understanding which attributes contribute, and how much they contribute, to overall satisfaction (or any other overall measure) is commonly called Key Driver analysis. It can also be called Derived Importance or Relative Importance.


Understanding Key Drivers of Customer Experience: A MaritzCX Perspective

Understanding Key Drivers of Customer Experience: A MaritzCX Perspective

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Want Better CX? Hire Engaged Employees

Dennis Wood contributed to this article.

If you work in the CX arena – and if you’re reading this, you probably do – you’re familiar with Temkin’s Six Laws of Customer Experience. To recap, number four is, “Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers.” You know how true this is when you think about the rude cashier who spoiled your shopping trip, the clueless customer service agent who didn’t understand your problem, or the indifferent foodservice worker who messed up your sandwich. Many a blog post has featured one of these stories, and the impact it had on a company’s brand.

So for those of us who touch hiring in our organizations, how do we attempt to hire engaged employees? Answer—it’s tricky. A candidate is generally engaged in the interview process. And New Guy ought to be engaged as he is trying to learn and look good in his new job.

But what happens when the shiny newness of it all wears off? No more welcome lunches for New Guy, no more shadowing, no more visitor parking. New Guy works here now. He seemed thrilled when you hired him, but how you do know if he’s going to be an engaged employee?

One word: culture. You don’t have to take our word for it; there is plenty of research on the topic. For those who don’t want to read what the psychologists have to say, here’s a metaphor to which anyone can relate.

Employment is a relationship. Like any relationship, there is a continuum of the likelihood to last, usually debated at weddings. On one end of the spectrum is “eHarmony likely” and on the other is “mail-order spouse likely.” By probing for cultural fit, your company and your employees are more likely to be that cute couple on the commercial that has been together a significant amount of time and still looks happy.

In addition to the questions your hiring managers ask in an interview, they should be showcasing key aspects of your company’s culture and checking the candidate’s reaction.  If you have a culture based on self-directed work teams, and your candidate does not seem excited to hear about that, don’t hire him/her.

The really hard part about this is when there is someone with a great resume, with skills and experience you covet, who will be a disastrous hire because he/she isn’t a cultural fit. It’s understandable – haven’t we all made this mistake in personal relationships? There was a potential mate who looked great on paper/in theory/on Facebook, but in the end, just wasn’t the one. To steer you in the right direction, here are our top five ways you can tell if candidates are a cultural fit (and more likely to deliver a positive customer experience).

  1. Ask them what their next career move would be if they could wave a magic wand. People tend to be very honest and reveal something personal in response because there is not a wrong answer.
  2. Use behavioral interviewing effectively. Get specifics on what they did (not hypothetical) and what the outcomes were in each situation you discuss.
  3. Discern in what stage of a company’s growth a candidate will perform well. The same person who would be awesome in a fast growing start-up may fail miserably in a more stabilized Fortune 500 company.
  4. Ask what one mistake they’d like to fix and how they’d go about doing it.
  5. Most importantly—know your culture inside and out. You can’t assess a candidate’s fit unless you understand what is special about your organization.

We’d love to hear what you think. Hit us up on Twitter at @ShoeAmy and @DennisWood to share your feedback.

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Video: Reaching the Top of the CX Mountain

Sometimes it seems that reaching the top of the CX mountain is insurmountable.   It’s an ongoing process of continuous improvement and along the way we have to constantly evaluate what we’re doing and ask ourselves some tough questions.  We asked some of those questions at our recent MaritzCX Automotive Conference.    More specifically:

  1. What are the challenges for manufacturers and dealers in applying the VOC to actually improving the customer experience
  2. With auto sales blowing the doors off in 2014, does the customer experience really matter?
  3. What technology can dealers use to improve their customer experience?

We draw upon the clients’ insight in answering these questions.  As always, I appreciate your feedback.

Until next time.



PS  Continuing the theme from last week, for the discerning Formula 1 enthusiast on your shopping list this holiday season, check out the attached link for the Collector Studio.  If you have $75,000 you don’t know what to do with, perhaps a race-worn Ayrton Senna race helmet might fit the bill.

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Video: If We Know What To Do, Why Can’t We Do It? Challenges in Applying the VOC.

We asked clients at the MaritzCX Automotive Conference what are the biggest hindrances in taking the Voice of the Customer and actually applying it to improve their customers’ experience. After all, isn’t that the work?  Some common themes emerged including the fact that there’s so much data that’s available for analysis…what do you do with it?

Here’s some great insight from General Motors, Mazda, and Chrysler.

Until next time.


PS  With holiday gift giving right around the corner, we like to be full service here at MaritzCX.  With thanks from our UK office, here are some ideas for the car enthusiast on your list.  My favorite is the Hot Wheels track.

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Going the Wrong Way with Social Media

A couple of months ago, I shared findings from the 2014 Maritz Voice of the Customer Challenges and Practices Survey showing that organizations increasingly are trying to capture and leverage information from social media (A Little Secret About Social Media).  Indeed, our research shows organizations that succeed at “putting the Voice of the Customer to […]

Customer Experience is the New Television Advertising

Recently I had the pleasure of listening to futurist Daniel Burrus speak about the difference between soft and hard trends. Soft trends are those that may or may not continue and can likely be affected by events or action taken by companies, governments, or individuals. For example, based on the first few years of growth, we might expect […]

Video: The MaritzCX Automotive Conference: What Did We Learn? (Part Two)

To hear what clients learned at the MaritzCX Automotive Conference is much more meaningful when they tell us in their own words.  Here’s a few more stories, this time from Kia, Honda, and Dominion Dealer Solutions. Until next time. Chris @christravell

Video: The MaritzCX Automotive Conference: What Did We Learn? (Part One)

One of the benefits of the MaritzCX Automotive Conference was that we had competitors sitting side by side who talked about the challenges they face.   And many of the challenges are similar.   A lot of information was presented and in this video, clients from General Motors, Mazda, and Chrysler share some insight. Until next time. […]

Learning From An Exciting Automotive CX Transformation: Four Questions You Should Be Asking if Your Organization Wants To Transform Its CX

Last week Sonic Automotive, the fourth largest dealership group in the US launched EchoPark, a new automotive experience focused on selling pre-owned vehicles. Their first store is in the Denver market of Thornton. In a world where pretty much every company is striving to differentiate on the customer experience, Sonic is a shining example of how to […]

My Bank Has Multiple Personalities

I bank with a large, national retail bank that offers investment services as a line of business. My experience with the investment services folks was nothing like dealing with people in other areas of the bank. While the retail banking employees are warm, friendly, and convey a spirit of helpfulness, the people in the investment […]

Video: An Historic Day

The intention to merge between Allegiance Software and Maritz Research was announced at our Automotive Summit in Las Vegas last week.   There was a lot of positive buzz with clients asking what exactly happened and what are the benefits. There’s no better folks to explain the situation than MaritzCX‘s Ed Reilly, Executive VP, and Dale Drerup, VP Global Automotive Research Group.

Harnessing the Voice of Employees to Improve Customer Experience

  In recent blogs, I’ve been sharing results of the 2014 Voice of the Customer Challenges and Practices Survey conducted by Maritz.  Today, I’d like to continue by focusing on another of the many VoC best practices revealed by our research:  Harnessing the Voice of Employees to gain insights that drive customer experience improvements. The […]

Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

  The Internet will kill television. Television will kill radio. Radio will kill the newspaper. Didn’t really happen, did it? Many today are proselytizing the imminent demise of the research world’s workhorse—the humble survey. I’m here to tell you they are dead wrong…for now. Let me tell you why. We in the research and CXM world are in […]

How Text Analytics Changes Everything

The advent of data warehouses gave business the power to collect, store and analyze information from multiple corporate systems in a single, high-performance environment. However business managers were limited to analyzing only structured data. Text analytics opens the floodgates to new insights by allowing companies to analyze unstructured, freeform data in the same way structured […]

Top Nine Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty

Every company executive will raise their hand and say they believe having loyal customers is a key to business success. Fostering true loyalty and engagement starts at a basic level. These nine principles will guide you in your efforts to create greater loyalty and engagement within your organization. It’s one of the most critical ways […]

From Zero to a World-class B2B VoC Program in Under 12 Months

Date: December 3, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MST
Duration: 60 Minutes

The OpenText team goal was simple: to launch a program to impact front-line teams and influence business results using a VoC program and platform – and to do it un under 12 months. Learn how industry leading B2B company OpenText launched their VoC program quickly, overcame obstacles, and grew to a world-class program in 12 […]

NPS Analytics

There are many ways to measure customer loyalty, including Net Promoter Score (NPS). However, just measuring and knowing your NPS score isn’t enough. In order to grow your customer loyalty, you need to know how groups of customers feel about your company and why.   NPS Analytics Download Now

The Top 11 Ways to Increase Your Employee Loyalty

The lifeblood of every business is its employees. Consider these starting facts: (1) Each year the average company loses 20-50 percent of its employee base (Bain & Company), and (2) Replacing a lost employee costs 150 percent of that person’s annual salary (Columbia University). Today it is critical to focus on employees and Increase their loyalty […]

The Nine Habits of Leading Customer Feedback Managers

Gathering customer feedback is the only way for a company to truly know and understand its customers’ needs, wants, concerns, and issues, as well as create more and lasting value for them. Regardless of whether customer feedback is managed by a single person or multiple people in an organization, or even a third-party provider, companies […]

11 Easy Ways to Improve Your Survey Response Rates

Surveys are a powerful and cost-effective way to gather information, identify and diagnose problems, and uncover new and emerging opportunities. However, one of the biggest challenges that many companies face in conducting surveys is getting the right mix of people taking surveys and also getting a high enough response rate in order to ensure that […]

The Top 10 Voice of Customer (VoC) Best Practices

Listening to and understanding the voice of the customer is crucial to restoring consumer trust in businesses and building customer loyalty, engagement and advocacy. Ultimately it will be those companies that truly listen to their customers that will not only win customers’ trust and business, but set themselves apart from the competition.   The Top […]

A Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Customer Experience (CX) Program

Customer experience programs are taking off these days—and they should be. Companies with a formal CX program grow faster and make more money. This guide is written for any business leader wishing to learn about CX programs, launching a CX program, how to become better at delivering and improving CX, getting closer to customers, or getting […]

Managing Customer Relationships – One at a Time

In last week’s blog, we shared results of the 2014 Voice of the Customer Challenges and Practices Survey recently conducted by Maritz Research.  We suggested that one way organizations can get the most out of their investments in monitoring social media is to use posts to identify opportunities to manage relationships with individual customers.  Companies […]

How to Get the Most from Social Media

In last week’s blog, I shared results of the 2014 Voice of the Customer Challenges and Practices Survey recently conducted by Maritz Research. I focused on a rather interesting finding that having an effective method of monitoring social media—in and of itself—is not strongly related to VoC program success, at least not when the measure […]

Psst….Want to Hear a Little Secret About Social Media?

Move over marketing researchers, and make room for social media. That’s what we’ve been hearing for several years now.  Today a plethora of websites make it possible for consumers to read what others have to say about everything from hotels to hospitals, restaurants to repair services, and caterers to car dealerships.  These same sites also […]