Customer Service Awards Blog

The Bottom Line for Customer Growth, from a Stevie Awards Judge

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 @ 12:12 PM

Jeanne Bliss, president of CustomerBLISS in Los Angeles, California, USA, is often a judge for the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Entries to the 2016 competition are now being accepted. 


Earlier this year, Jeanne Bliss published her third book, Chief Customer Officer 2.0, so we talked with her about her book, the publishing process, and how she'll find the time to judge the 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, especially the new categories for Customer Service Success.

Hello1508BlissJeanne Bliss is happy to share her experience of being a judge for the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service in past years. “Judging the Stevie Awards is a tremendous experience,” she told us.  “It keeps me relevant and engaged with practitioners. And the ideas and enthusiasm I read in the submissions continues to fuel my optimism and passion for this field of work!”

Jeanne also has words of encouragement and advice for others who might be considering being a Stevie Awards judge: “Commit to the process.  Put aside time for dedicated reading and research the companies and people.  Give time to take it in and celebrate the entrants!”

The Business of Publishing

Having just published her third book, we asked Jeanne for her views on the business of publishing these days. “It's changed a lot since 2006 when my first book was published,” commented Jeanne. “Now, in a wonderful way, we get to bring the reader along throughout the entire process, from engaging on topics; to content; to titles and covers; and more,” Jeanne told us. “In the process of launching a book, it’s extremely important to engage in social media in a way that will add value to people's lives: the message of the book and what it will do for the reader are important to presell a book.”

“PR is no longer traditional in any sense of the word—and I love that,” added Jeanne.

“I've worked with the most wonderful group of people over the past 15 years, engaged in hosting webinars and tweets and book reviews.  The whole process is now about community, adding value, and earning the right to the readers' time.

Following is a shortened excerpt taken from Jeanne’s latest book, Chief Customer Officer 2.0, available now.

The Influence of Customer Reviews

When you deliver a reliable experience, you earn the right to your customers’ story through word of mouth. And your customers will come back because they want to have the experience again.

There are three points that customers repeatedly talk about through social media, which will earn you the right to new customer growth without the acquisition costs, and to organic growth of your existing customers. These are:

  • Was their experience consistent and reliable?
  • Did their relationship with you improve their life or business? Did your actions prove your commitment to them?
  • How did it feel to do business with you? Honored, distrusted, ignored?

All these points come out again and again in tweets, reviews, and message boards. What we know is that the power of social listening—meaning either in person or online—has an increasingly high impact on purchase decisions.

Word of Mouth

In both business-to-business and business-to-consumer organizations, customers yield to the reviews and feedback of others who have experienced your business to drive nearly 80% of their buying decisions. Your promises and messaging only account for about 20% of what customers and clients consider when they are making a buying decision. (These statistics comes from The Keller Fay Talk Track Report, whose information I have used regularly when chipping away at the importance of reliability.)

When your customers’ experience is unreliable, the most powerful way to grow your company—positive word of mouth—will suffer. If the experience you deliver to customers is not consistent and reliable, no matter what channel or silo or location they interact with, then customers won’t vouch for you.

This will impact recommendations and organic growth, because if your customers can’t tell another customer what they get from you, how they get it, how it improves their life, and how you make them feel as a result, then you won’t earn their recommendation. You don’t own the moment–and at any time the customer may go shopping for one that’s more reliable. More important, a lack of reliability will drive them away.

The Wow Moment

With social media becoming a shiny object, along with a lot of Customer Experience tactics, the tendency is for leaders to want to go out and implement the “wow” moment. But reliability has to come first, otherwise money spent on the “wow” is a wasted investment.

When I give keynotes, I tell a story about the hotel experience which resonates: You check into a hotel, and they ask you what type of pillow you’d like, and the kind of chocolate you’d like at turndown; then, when you walk in to your room, there’s hair in the sink and dirt under the bed—and all that “wow” is lost.

Think of reliability as the foundation. For many complex businesses such as healthcare, financial services, or insurance, just moving to reliability will make them stand out. You will differentiate when you are consistent and reliable.

Reliability = Revenue Gain

The London School of Business says that there is a 300% revenue gain to be had by focusing on reliability versus the wow moments. That does not mean that your version of reliability is mundane. Apple is reliable: they have their own way of doing reliability and that differentiates them. Amazon is a reliability engine. Amazon sold their first book in 1995. If they had not sold, shipped, and delivered that book in a reliable way, they would not have earned the right to the over 200 categories that they sell now. Reliability, not wow drives them.

Bottom line, Jeanne’s advice is: Grow your company by improving customers' lives!

About Jeanne Bliss:

Jeanne Bliss pioneered the role of the Chief Customer Officer, holding the first ever CCO role at Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker, and Allstate Corporations over a period of more than twenty years. Reporting to each company’s CEO, she moved the customer to the strategic agenda, creating transformational changes to each brands’ customer experience. She has driven achievement of 95% loyalty rates, improving customer experiences across 50,000-person organizations.

Jeanne is now the president of CustomerBliss, where she guides C-Suite executives and Chief Customer Officers around the world on earning business growth by improving customers’ lives. Her clients include: AAA, Johnson & Johnson, Brooks Brothers, Bombardier Aerospace, and Kaiser Permanente. She is a sought-after speaker and thought leader, the author of three best-selling books, and co-founder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. For more information, go to