Customer Worthy News & Observations

Customer Worthy (book) is a guidebook for companies to exploit the opportunities of the digitization of the business and consumer ecosystem. 

News & Observations are MRHoffman's  comments and opinions on business and technology news, events and executive and consulting discussions. These comments and opinions do not reflect any client's, partner's or employer's confidential or privileged information.   

Free Customer Worthy Book pdf Download Customer Experience & Digital Transformation Guide

posted Dec 29, 2015, 7:48 AM by Michael R Hoffman

Downloaded over 5,000 Times and Helping Companies Grow 20% Per Annum

How do you get the most value out of every customer?
Leverage every customer contact and maximize the return on customer experience.

 Insider Tip: GO STRAIGHT TO PG 103, CHAPTER 8: THE CUSTOMER SCHEMATIC  "these 9 pages will help your company grow now"

Customer Worthy 
    • How to grow sales
    • How to reduce customer service costs while growing revenue
    • How to manage customers across multiple channels
    • How to use technology to grow business
    • How to determine which channels and customers deserve investment
    • What to stop doing to grow your business

Some videos to get you started - click image for you tube video

mrhoffman customer experience guru cxc matrix 

Contact Michael R Hoffman for more information

Irked: Return on Marketing Remains Elusive ... No, Really???

posted Sep 20, 2014, 7:35 AM by Michael R Hoffman   [ updated Sep 20, 2014, 7:54 AM ]

This is not rant on marketing or banking or big data or IT but  
this article in American Banker  is still bothering me on this Saturday morning
because I'm frustrated as a banker, marketer and a customer by
the inability of companies (not just banks) to adapt practices to leverage 
analytics - we are in the post information age and moving into the *age of continuous iteration, after all.

*Did @jrmcgee  say "we are entering an ere of continuous a b testing" when describing benefits of page 15 (Oh, the best use case would be CxC Matrix) 

Return on Marketing Investment Remains Elusive for Bankers
SEP 18, 2014 1:04pm ET

Judging the return on investment for a marketing budget can be very difficult, even for banks with access to sophisticated analytics. [NOT TRUE - BIG DATA (that every bank already has) MEANS YOU CAN EASILY SEE ROI FROM MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES: product, customer, LTV, channel, program, offer, CSR, segment - simultaneously]  

Questions abound. Do you assess a campaign based on new customers? Brand-recognition surveys? Unique visitors? The number of clicks or likes or shares online? Each of these figures tells just one part of the survey, and each is affected by other factors, which makes judging return on investment difficult. [ALL OF THE ABOVE...THAT'S KIND OF THE POINT, C'MON]

At the Financial Services Marketing and Innovation Conference in New York on Wednesday, marketing executives outlined differing strategies, though they generally agreed that the key to success involves getting good, specific data on a campaign's effectiveness. 

"The question is, how will I know it's working?" said Deborah Van Valkenburgh, senior vice president of strategic brand management at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh. "You need to be able to develop metrics and measures all along the campaign trail and come back and demonstrate the effectiveness."

Sorry for the bluntness - It's a Saturday morning and this article in American Banker irked me something terrible - especially after attending IBM Financial Services Business Analytics  and IBM Accelerate [Marketing/CIO/CTO read these links together - Fiserv, D+H, FIS]  this week - IBM's analytics session was as patronizing as this American Banker article  (comment from my customers at 4 different banks that commented - "Didn't we see this presentation 20 years ago?" 

And that's the source of the IRK - Why aren't traditional bank's leveraging their substantial information and analytics assets to improve return on customer and realize the optimum value of retail, small business and commercial customers and the Metcalfe's Law potential of all the big data interactions digitized [makes each interaction measurable, programmable, syndicate -able (see maturity pyramid Chapter 7, figure 7.1 also in images). 

The irk comes from bank's inability to change their behavior based on these analytic observations which have been evident for 2 decades (yes, I was the 'MCIF guy' at a bank then at Experian (worked with 400 banks on this stuff - so I know they have/had it...arghhh) -

But banks are not alone - the structural, political and cultural barriers to leveraging information to grow performance while improving the customer's experience is pervasive across most industries and businesses.

Big Data, machine learning, predictive analytics embedded in processes distributed through programmable interactions exposed through the internet of things will not change traditional business culture and management structure.... yet.

NSA Not the Only Ones Spying On You: Customer Privacy is nothing to kid about Customer

posted Jun 11, 2013, 7:05 PM by Michael R Hoffman

NSA Not the Only Ones Spying On You Customer Worthy Chapter 11

Customer Privacy is nothing to kid about

Satellites watch your house, your office, and your children’s school. Traffic cameras follow your daily commute turn by turn. Software watches where you surf on the web, tracks your eyeball’s movement across pages, and calculates each click, pause, and impulse. This software predicts where you will go next and guesses your interests by popping up images and offers to tempt you to act now.

“New gadgets installed in cars will be able to tell insurers how many miles drivers have logged, what times of the day they drive, and even how fre­quently they abruptly stop and start. Other incarnations of the technology involve GPS devices that can even tell insurers precisely where drivers have traveled, and if they obeyed local speed limits.”

—Red Tape Chronicles,

Even your car spies on you with its GPS (your phone may be an accom­plice, too, as are other devices in your home and office). Your movements, each tenth of a mile, are measured. In-car computers log each press on the accelerator and brake, speed, and condition. E-ZPass, parking meters, gas purchases with credit cards, and loyalty cards all generate mile markers detailing your customer journey.

In the background and around the world, unbeknownst to you, third parties harvest this information, enhancing it with the other information they have gathered, modeled, and scored. Information about you is pack­aged, and your digital persona is sold to the highest bidder. Worse yet, it is sold as often as possible to anyone who will pay. Your information, your


interests, and where you spend your time is packaged and sold by local, national, and global vendors. So, what does this mean to business owners?

How much is my data worth anyway?

The two stories that follow shed some light on customer data breaches and customer identity theft. The stories are not related and Story #1 is an illustrative account told by security experts to depict standard operations in identity theft rings. They highlight why companies of all sizes and across all industries must require more stringent customer information handling processes. The most shocking aspect of these stories, which are just two among thousands, is how simple and easy it is for the thieves in each sce­nario to steal customer data.

What the stories do not show, of course, is the pain, annoyance, time, effort, and suffering that each of the customers went through to reverse the transactions, adjust their accounts, and repair their credit. The total cost of these crimes is many times what the thieves actually stole.

Story #1

June 24, 2008, Bangalore: Chandri receives a message back from “RBL Ventures,” asking him to show them a sample of 100 transactions so that they can evaluate the data. Four hours later, they email him back, offering $12 per usable card. He emails half the data. RBL responds an hour later, saying that there is usable data on 42,174 valid, separate cards. They offer to pay him $506,088 for those cards and will wire the funds to his bank account. He emails them his bank account information.

June 24, 2008, Bucharest: Elescieu gets the first 50,000 credit card transactions from “Reliable Supplier” and runs the numbers through a program that spots duplicates and weeds out cards known to have expired or been cancelled. He subtracts another 2,000 for good mea­sure and offers $12 to a seller he thinks is inexperienced.

June 25, 2008, Bangalore: Having confirmed that the funds are in his bank account, Chandri sends the other 500,000 transactions and gets a wire transfer for $464,088 for 38,674 cards.

June 28, 2008, Bucharest: Elescieu takes the credit card data to an associate who manufactures counterfeit credit cards.

July 12, 2008, Bangalore: Chandri buys a new car for cash, and takes his family shopping. He invests the money in bank CDs.

July 14, 2008, Bucharest: Elescieu distributes the counterfeit cards to a ring of associates who will use them quickly, primarily to buy high ticket items that can be resold for cash. He gets a cut of the cash they raise in return for his promise to provide more counterfeit cards in the future.

July 28, 2008, Moultrie: Morgan gets her credit card statement in the mail and finds $4,326 in charges for purchases of consumer electronics and jewelry in several European cities. She immediately calls her credit card issuer and reports the fraudulent transactions to a customer service representative, who cancels the card and tells Morgan that she need only pay for the purchases she made. Her new card will be mailed to her in a few days.”

—Transaction Trends, December Data Security Investigations, “Anatomy of Two Breach Scenarios with Two Very Different Outcomes” by Richard H. Gamble,

Story #2

“Illegitimate customers are placing orders for flowers using stolen credit card information. The orders are typically placed via fax, email, and/or hearing-impaired relay calls. The perpetrator then requests that the florists wrap the flower arrangements in various amounts of cash and bill the difference to the credit card number(s) provided. These orders have been known to reach $4,000. A shipping address for the order is then provided to the merchant.

In some instances, the perpetrators have been known to hire an

unsuspecting accomplice to pick up the flowers in person. This accom­

plice is then instructed to ship the flowers via UPS or the mail.

When the true cardholder receives the floral charge on their monthly

statement, they will initiate a chargeback, as the order was placed

without their authorization. As a result, the merchant will become

liable for the fraudulent sale.”

—“Visa Alerts of Floral Credit Card Fraud,”

The florist story above is especially galling since it appears that the employees at the florist are going out of their way to meet a customer’s needs by wrapping cash in the bouquet.

Missing pieces—just a calculable piece of the puzzle

Businesses have to think like a customer and be aware of how easily cus­tomer data can be stolen, manipulated and fraudulently manufactured and used. The CxC Matrix depicts how the missing pieces of a customer’s digital mosaic are easily filled in using predictive models and algorithms. Simply put, customers are not that unique. Consumption and purchase patterns, delivery and payment preferences follow similar paths that make differenti­ating real behaviors from manufactured or simulated behavior near impos­sible to distinguish. As more channels become digitized and web connected, customer activities will become even more transparent and more easily simulated. More data constantly becomes available as digital television and radio behavior is captured per click. Favorites on both are readily available. As customers unknowingly link members of their households, their social networks, their work relationships, digital identities will become more vul­nerable to poaching, phishing, eavesdropping, fraud and theft.

So, what do your customers do? Stop using credit cards? Disconnect their internet connections, GPS, satellite radio and cable television? Stop traveling

for business? Not likely. Yet, regardless of what they might think or how they might try, customers are not that unique, and they likely make the majority of their purchases locally within four miles or 15 minutes of their homes and workplaces. The digital breadcrumbs from census data, surveys they com­pleted, loan applications, health club and group membership applications, health records, sweepstakes entries, or even pharmacist forms are just wait­ing to be assembled with a high degree of accuracy—even if your customers don’t approve or assist. Even a novice data assembler, identity hacker, can match home and business addresses to demographics and publicly available data and, like a video simulation game, begin playing out scenarios acting like hundreds to thousands of individual consumers.

Electronic data is everywhere and growing

In case you think the news media or a couple of individuals are overreacting to data theft and easy access to personal and confidential data, please go through this quick exercise.

Step 1. Go online to

Step 2. Type “Attendee List” in search window.

Step 3. Select “Advanced Search,” go to options under “File Type,” and

select “Microsoft Excel (.xls)”

Step 4. Click “Advanced Search” or hit “enter.”

Step 5. Take a look at the Excel files presented. No, don’t open them.

They are private information.

Step 6. Edit the search box by adding “Mike” to the front of the search


Step 7. Reexamine the files.

Hopefully, after a couple of people read this book, these files will become harder to access and will be more protected. Just maybe, companies, indi­viduals, churches, and membership organizations will protect information more seriously.

Is this identity theft? This entire exercise takes about 90 seconds, and if anyone has wised up to this application and no results appear, you can spend another 90 seconds experimenting with words like “name,” “phone,” “home,” “addr_2,” and other file types to see what pops up.

Get scared, exercise caution, and read your statements

You and your customers should be scared because customer data moves around much too easily. Customer data is easily monetized and too lazily shared.

A 16-gigabyte data storage card, the kind used in a camera, phone, or GPS, is the size of a thumbnail and weighs half an ounce. It can hold the name, address, phone number, email address, and information about every individual in the United States or the name and address of everyone in China. Sending that same amount of data as an email attachment takes less than 15 minutes on an easily available computer network.

Banking, health, credit card, and relationship data should not be directly traceable to individuals, families, households, and companies. Businesses and individuals exchange data too freely across unsecure networks, on pieces of paper, in mail, on the phone, in emails, and in web order forms.

This is an unfortunate artifact of antiquated systems design. As data is exchanged between companies, third parties, and outsourced service provid­ers, the emphasis is on speed and efficient transaction processing. Individu­als and customer data protection simply receives less attention.

Part of the issue is reliance on third parties for billing, collections, and customer service. Information needs to be portable and complete to recon­struct the customer situation. This is the only way to create situational awareness for all of the parties serving the customer and performing trans­actions and contacts on behalf of the company.

Information systems groups and technology companies have always had a blind spot when it comes to customer data management. This fun­damental flaw comes from an incomplete vision, a short-sightedness in

customer information design. The customer information is subservient to the demands of the transaction, accounting, and financial systems. This is why, to this day, it is so difficult to track all of the items in a customer order and all of the contacts preceding and following a customer transaction.

Businesses race to get new customers and minimize the customer’s inconvenience, asking for substantial amounts of information in the process without even realizing it. As a result, customer information systems have been patched together, often based on tricking customers into believing that they are dealing with the same company or department. This is to promote the illusion that the customer has not been handed off to another depart­ment, another set of systems, or another company in another country. This deception has built an information network that is itself easily deceived.

Your business should use the CxC Matrix as a tool to audit your personal data protection policies and procedures at each contact point. The Matrix can list what business and personal data is exchanged and available at each contact point, what governance and safeguards exist at each point, whether data is encrypted or which data elements are exposed and why, where third party data usage agreements exist, and where data security and monitoring procedures are in place for each system.

Your business is challenged with reducing the amount of time that cus­tomers have to spend identifying themselves (authorizing transactions), while, at the same time, assuring the security and authenticity of each contact. In most instances, this identify requirement needs to take place prior to the exchange of any information in any contact. This all takes place before or simultaneously with preparing the contact point with the right message, the right offer, and all of the message components to ensure an optimum customer experience.

Businesses are failing the customer data protection test

First, there is no real test for ensuring that data is not misused, neglected, or shared unlawfully, intentionally or unintentionally. Customer data is just too portable.

There are a number of government and business groups taking this very seriously, but they are simply outgunned by opportunistic data pirates that game the system. Data pirates collect real dollars through fraud and extortion.

Government, regulatory, and trade organizations use a number of secu­rity, storage, encryption, and customer exchange standards, but Figure 11.1 shows that these are not working.

Note that a couple of the data breaches, particularly TJX and Heartland systems, were targeted by malicious computer software that stole data directly from the credit card processing servers and went undetected. While a single breach causes alarm and concern, the fact that these two highly reputable and specialized companies were breached and did not know it for extended periods of time is enough to justify paranoia.

Many of the companies listed on the table have gone through formal data and information systems audits to certify that they adhere to Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Graham Leach Bliley (GLBA), Payment Card Industry (PCI), or the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Yet, these companies and many others like them are losing customer data at an alarming rate.

Most people will likely be shocked by the brands highlighted in the breached data table. How is it that our most trusted institutions in govern­ment, medicine, health care, financial services, and education lose so much data? They use names with addresses, Social Security numbers, and phone numbers. This data should never be together in a single database because doing so makes it an easy target for someone who wants to use it to apply for a loan, get a credit card, impersonate someone, or destroy someone’s credit or reputation.

What are the odds that any of this information is yours? Likely.

Figure 11.1 below is a subset of one year’s recent customer data breaches collected from publicly available sources. The list is frightening because of the millions of customers affected and the lack of adequate customer data protections.

data privacy CxC Matrix

Protect your customers, protect your business: identification, authentication, and authorization

Business, accounting, and financial practices have not evolved to accom­modate the needs of a digital age, which requires a whole different mindset regarding identification, authentication, and authorization. Each of these functions is required for every customer contact, but in the new digital world, each element has to be treated separately in order to ensure a customer’s privacy. Companies that take short cuts in order to complete transactions and data exchanges more quickly and efficiently continue to be vulnerable to fraud.

Consumers have personas based on where they live, where they shop, what they buy, and how they buy. Your company needs to leverage this information, most of which you already have, in order to more rigorously identify customers and more closely meet your customers’ expectations. This approach is not new and is most often used in fraud detection on credit card processing networks, but it is obviously not used enough or used correctly. This process works better for repeat customers than first time customers, but it should be reasonably executed by most companies.

According to a report by the Ponemon Institute, a Tucson-based research group, customer data breaches cost companies about $200 per customer with 40 percent of the cost attributed to losing customers to lack of trust and confidence. While breached data and identity theft are not the same issue, customers suffer the damages and pay the expense of repairing their information and reputation. Customers are the most vulnerable and least in control of their own information.

Customers should be paid when companies use their data

One solution to the customer data problem may be to require customers to manage their own data, which might also mean that only companies with customer permission can access customer data. In other words, no company would be allowed to use the data unless first approved by the customer.

Moving data control and access to the customer might also involve custom­ers selling their own data to companies for marketing, research, and list sales as is already taking place today. But customers would receive a statement telling them who is using the data and they would be able to control the types of use. The conclusion is that customers should be rewarded for shar­ing their data and should also be provided a data usage statement showing which companies use and store data; for which transactions and purposes; where the data is used and stored; how often and recently the data was accessed; and the purpose.

Companies using customer-owned and managed data would have a lower fraud rate and a vested interest in ensuring that the customer infor­mation is absolutely verifiable. Customer-owned data would also relieve companies of any implied liability from misuse or incorrect data—two issues that are likely to grow in the coming years as more information is digitized and customer transparency broadens.

Customer Service, Turning a Necessary Evil into a Pleasure

posted Dec 12, 2012, 11:24 AM by Michael R Hoffman

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, customers, like me, are trapped in an unavoidable maze of customer service nightmares: power company, cell phone company, cable company, FEMA, credit card, mortgage, town government - all the calls, emails, chats, web self serve, letters (yes, there are still lots of letters) oh, and colleges, SATs and the rest of ordinary life that has overlapped the path back to normality.

Navigating customer service is a full time job - FOR CUSTOMERS. (read story here about suburban town in shambles - yes, Verizon and AT&T are in Basking Ridge too).

Of course there was no to little cell phone service during the power outage - but calls to utilities and most companies in area received the same message "we are experiencing unusually large call volume..." -duh.

Some companies proactively sent messages to customers acknowledging the disruption to "life as usual," notably American Express, Capital One, Bank of America, Comcast, Cablevision - some of these and other companies caught on late - and most follow-through was, well... weak. "call this number (see wait time message above"). 

And then there was JCP&L, First Energy, who sent out electric bills while power was out - and if people paid attention, the average bill - non-meter reading calculation - may not have been that accurate, adding insult to injury in the dark and cold.

The local Starbucks shined brightly for many displaced, powerless workers - the trains to the big city stopped working too. Internet, power & Joe - and to Starbucks credit - they didn't throw people out - better yet, they made people comfortable, including adding surge protectors by day 6. 

Wegmans also became a hub for the displaced, offering charging stations (phones had no way to charge at home) and wi-fi and bathrooms and good lighting around lots of tables. And food and service was good all around.

The local YMCA opened their doors to non-members for showers and the rest of their facilities and have followed up with invitations to use the facilities through year end - so again a pleasure - especially when all of us with well water and no generators needed to freshen up.

And little things, like the firewood bundles in front of Christmas Tree Shoppes (sorry if you clicked link - yes, that may be the worst website you've seen in a long time - but the stores are a local adventure worth taking) and texts from local restaurants that they were open infused some pleasure amid the painful loss of ordinary.

But now the customer clean-up - the dreaded calls to all the services (note: Verizon shipped a replacement phone during storm - Yeah - but the returned phone never showed up? But then it did in California at a completely unrelated place? How long should I allow for that call?)

So why is everybody in town so grumpy? Because we all have to make the same phone calls, to the same places (remember geography in the CxC Matrix? Here's a good use case) and we all have to allocate time wait on hold, gather our documents, our ID's and passwords, our bills and our discrepancies to tell our story - to reconcile and to vent - while uncomfortably extending the service wait time for everyone behind us in the queue? 

What is the trick to turning the nightmare recovery into a pleasure? How do you anticipate the needs of thousands in order to get them back to "normal" or even mark the tragedy and discomfort a long lasting memory, a moment of customer bonding - of community building and relationship extending? 

Is there an opportunity for word of mouth solutions? An opportunity for   micro-site extensions? "We Survived Sandy at/with (fill in the blank" T-shirts? A note on a bill, the outside of an envelope, a PSA, a website, a package - a postcard an event?

Or do you just pretend the event never happened - Does Home Depot record the significance of the generator bought on day 4 after the storm as well as the customer records in their memory the heat and light the generator created? 

Do the banks mark the customers that received cash advances through extraordinary means (there were no ATM's or open branches) as significantly as the people who paid cash to remove trees from their homes, driveways and cars so that they could leave their property?

Do the call centers receiving calls have a special prompt and script to identify Sandy likely affected customers? 

How do you empower every customer interaction to create "pleasure"? Even in, or especially in the most challenging times? 


Can You See Customers Smiling in Big Data Cloud

posted Jul 12, 2012, 12:39 PM by Michael R Hoffman   [ updated Jul 12, 2012, 12:49 PM ]

"Big Data" is the current buzz word in technology and analytics circles - being one of CIO's top issues on Gartner's 2012 technology forecast and frankly, coming up in every discussion I have with business and IT managers. 

Big Data is simply - all data - the promise that all data is now available for exploration and use in applications - this includes all the data in your company in its most granular form and includes voice, photos, data about data and data about end users, customers, third parties... now connect all your internal data to this  set of open linkable  data now add everyone's 'soon' to be digitized health and medical records, communication records and life cycle information (a quick derivative of all of the above in the customer's/individual's context) and you get an emergingly comprehensive view of everything.

Why is Big Data Such a Big Deal for Customer Experience?
This is the question I am literally asked every day - and also the question I research everyday (as big data technologies, tools and architectures evolve daily too).  The big deal is the customer. 

Big Data provides unprecedented visibility into the entire customer experience, linking customers to location, lifestyle routines, other customers, associates and friends, other products, partners, networks - like big data promises - everything can now be linked for analysis, observation and reporting but more importantly for predicting, innovating and creating additional value and revenue streams. 

With access to all a customer's data, a view of the customer's digital self embedded in a network of electronic interactions represented as bytes strewn across networks, devices, systems and applications - all this data can be assembled to see whether your customers, prospects, friends and stakeholders are smiling or frowning or even paying attention to you.

The CxC Customer Experience Matrix is designed with big data in mind. The CxC Matrix is a framework for extracting the value from Big Data by assembling data to best depict the customer life cycle, from interest to purchase to service to social - so you can see when your customer is smiling or not - and soon you will be able to predict when customer might smile, frown, grow or leave or even refer a friend.

Apple TV or TVx What's New is Not What You Watch But What Watches You

posted Jun 26, 2012, 6:11 AM by Michael R Hoffman

All the noise and wish lists about Apple TV, Google TV (take 2) Microsoft (and yes, Sony needs something, remember Sony) etc. ramble about more channels and access to movies and video, 3D & holograms, about remotes and voice controls - but the real news about TV is and will be how TV watches you.

Sometimes It Feels Like Somebody's Watching Me

TV watching's big change, and let's define TV as video delivered to any screen (OK, that is a break through too), comes from TV watching and reacting to the viewer(s) and TV watching and using the viewer(s)' data. Dual cameras on tablets and phones will become common on TVs and will change the viewer experience as not only the viewer, but the viewers environs will become part of the shared content and shared experience. As TVs (OK, the big data server/network backbone) gather and process across screens and visual cues over time and in near time, the TV experience will radically change (now imagine Skype not just connecting callers, but doing something as it participated in the internet of things - obvious things like ordering more pizza as your TV counts the number of trips guests have made to the pizza box... and maybe the party is interrupted for a spontaneous contest that promises someone in the room an all expense paid vacation to Las Vegas (and you thought time share sales would go away...). 

Adding Camera to TV
TVs interacting with visual instructions like Kinect and other technologies have yet to be exploited for all the instructions and interactions that they can spawn and yes there will be many, many newsworthy flops, privacy, spying and abuse claims attributed to the "TV", but this is the wild west of the next innovation wave of entertainment and innovation. Imagine that your TV knows when you are alone and asks what channel you would like to watch, makes recommendations on what to do in your spare time (pay a bill, get paid for watching a commercial or  teaches you French (or guitar... your TV 'sees' a guitar nearby.)

This is probably a good time to read the Customer Worthy chapter 1, "My car had a conversation with my house last night... when my office interrupted."

Here's to seeing you on TV soon.


Have you had 'The Talk' with your employees?

posted Mar 9, 2012, 8:16 AM by Michael R Hoffman   [ updated Jan 28, 2013, 10:33 AM ]

Where do customers come from?

Yes, The Talk, where exactly do customers come from? 

Are we actually getting customers from Facebook? From Twitter? Linkedin? The company blog? Groupon? email?

Are we too old fashioned in our approach to selling and marketing? Shouldn't we be selling on the new ipad and Android, Amazon and ebay?

It is time to have The Talk at the executive management level in the midst of all the hype around social media, digital marketing and new sales models. 

Urgent Note to Management: Map where Customers Come From

Your company needs to map and quantify where customers are coming from before you spend another cent on marketing, messaging, media and sales. Map the channels and contact points you believe you are using and also map all the channels available to your customers. Yes, include channels like Google Circles, Facebook, Youtube, affiliate marketing, ebay in your map even if you don't think your company is currently using them - because your customers and business partners might have put you there - also, and more importantly, you may just find out that your customers are looking for you, your products and your solutions in some of these new channels and media - and they may not be looking just to buy something, but may be looking to fix what they bought, or get help using what they bought...or replace, upgrade, personalize what they bought.

It's Time to have The Talk Company-Wide

The Talk is one of those things that seems so obvious, that people at your company conveniently believe that everyone knows. But do they? Are new employees told where customers come from? Do people in production, management, administration, point of sale, HR know where customers come from? How would they know? In this age where a customer can connect with anyone at your company via phone, face to face, skype, Facebook, Linkedin how well equipped are your co-workers to help customers and prospects? Do you really want to put your co-workers in the awkward situation of not knowing how to connect customers and prospects to your company - and enormous lose - lose - lose situation? 

Or is it worth your time to post a customer map showing where customers come from and all the options for customer contact and assistance across your customer's lifecycle? 

Take a look at the CxC Matrix - (left column or click here) to get started.

Confessions of an enlightened customer book excerpt

posted Mar 1, 2012, 7:35 AM by Michael R Hoffman

Preface from Customer Worthy

Confessions of an Enlightened Customer

(by the way—why the heck am I on hold? )

Confession 1: I started writing this book while on hold with my cell

phone company, listening to horrific canned music and hearing this

recording every 90 seconds: “Your call is very important to us . . . You

can also get assistance online . . . Have you seen our latest ——— ?”

It is all about me, the customer

I started writing, “Twenty minutes online . . .now on hold 11 minutes . . . ”

So, why am I still on hold? Because it is the only way to resolve my issue

regarding the continued incorrect billing for my service, which is now a

whopping month-end bill of $1,700. It should have been closer to $40.

And the call-holding message keeps telling me: “Your issue can probably

be resolved online. Please visit us at”

So frustrating. I sketched out the spreadsheet you see below, logging my

time waiting for the phone company the same way I would log time for billing

one of my customers. Using some generic numbers from my call center

consulting days, my frustration grew with every wasted minute because,

obviously, no one at the phone company seemed to have any interest in

calculating what a service issue costs a customer.

The $100 Billion Dollar Customer Problem

I know I’m not alone in my frustration. The CSR on this call was kind enough

to remind me, “Sir, we have over 60 million customers to take care of, and

now they are waiting behind your call . . .”

Really? After a brief moment of feeling pity for her and the personal

burden she carried in supporting 60 million service-inflicted customers, it

occurred to me: “What if all 60 million customers were experiencing the

same on-hold frustration?” I quickly started my calculation, and the numbers

floored me. My wireless phone company was costing its customers


CRM Backwards as seen on

posted Jan 20, 2012, 7:49 AM by Michael R Hoffman   [ updated Feb 7, 2012, 3:14 PM ]

CRM Backwards explains CRM from customer perspective and exposes critical flaw in trasitional CRM technology and deployment design.
CRM Backwards identifies key areas for innovation and new thinking around managing customers and monetizing customer relationships. 
The CxC Matrix or Customer Experience Matrix presented is the industry standard for visualizing and monetizing customer experience. 
The CxC Customer Experience Matrix was designed using a combination of Activity Based Costing (ABC) cost accounting methods for financial department integrity and Zachman Framework-like business process management (BPM) design and structure for design, implementation and rules management integrity

MRHoffman, author Customer Worthy, provides detailed notes for this presentation downloadable below.

If you Leave Your Reputation to Chance, Anything Can Happen

posted Jan 18, 2012, 2:35 PM by Michael R Hoffman   [ updated Feb 7, 2012, 3:13 PM ]

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