A New Era in Healthcare: ALPHAEON

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Blog

  Earlier this month, we witnessed the birth of a new company called ALPHAEON. Those attending the recent American Society of Plastic Surgery in San Diego saw first-hand the debut of a company dedicated to improving patient outcomes as well as patient experiences.   ALPHAEON is the brainchild of Robert Grant, an industry executive who has been a client of mine while at the helm of multiple companies in the self-pay segment including Biolase (laser dentistry), Allergan Medical (Botox, Latisse, Juvederm) and Bausch + Lomb Surgical (LASIK and lens-based refractive surgery). He is an...

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When Mayday Becomes Payday

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Blog

One of the trickiest issues with technology is how to effectively support customers.    This can be as simple as helping customers recover their login to a password protected website or as complicated as setting up a new home entertainment system.   Today,  Amazon chief Jeff Bezos unveiled Mayday, a really cool approach to tackling this issue.  When you press a special “Mayday” button on their Kindle tablet, a live person appears in a video screen to help.  Within 15 seconds.  And they can takeover your screen and help you through whatever is frustrating you.     This is a...

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Five Technologies Coming Your Way

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 in Blog

Last month I attended The New York Times Global Forum hosted by columnist Thomas Friedman (author of The World is Flat).    This was a great day spent listening to luminaries and visionaries describe what’s going to happen in the world over the next two decades.    As an avid Sunday reader of The New York Times, I enjoyed what is best described as seeing the paper come alive on stage. While I took lots of notes on my iPhone, I want to share five technologies that I learned about that are on the way (well, the fifth one is already here).  Ingestible Computing  -  You will soon be...

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My Own Personal Nordstrom Story

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Blog

Most of you have heard the legendary story about how someone returned a set of tires to Nordstrom, which they took back no questions asked.   It’s part of their legacy for legendary service and taking care of the customer. A few months ago, I went to pick up two pairs of suit pants that were needed for a business trip starting the following day.  After 20 minutes, he asked if they could deliver them to my home later that evening, so I left the store and headed back to my office.  Around 5 pm, I received a phone call from Justin, the now exasperated (and embarrassed) manager who said...

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The Heart of Motivation

Posted by on Jan 30, 2013 in Blog

The role of every coach is to motivate his or her players to perform their best.   In professional sports, this can become very challenging as the season wears on and teams are tired.    With the NFC conference championship game looming,  San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh had his staff find pictures – the high school recruiting photo – of  his players and had them posted above each player’s locker.  As is Coach Harbaugh’s style, he didn’t pronounce the pictures or their purpose and left the players to figure it out for themselves. Those pictures brought lots of laughter...

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Think Critically, Act Locally

Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Blog

The most important college course I took had nothing to do with my psychology major or my interest in organizational behavior and what makes workers happy.   It was during my sophomore year that I signed up for “Critical Thinking 212,

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What Is Your Story?

Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Blog

Storytelling is a mode of communication that has been around as long as people have gathered around the fire.   We love a good story, which is why the storytellers among us can hold the attention of audiences large and small.  

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One From the Bucket List

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012 in Blog

I had an opportunity last week to walk the grounds of the Augusta National Golf Club.  The good news is that it was on the first day of The Masters, a  championship that I explained to my kids as “the super bowl of golf.”  

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The Real “Real Thing”

Posted by on Jan 25, 2012 in Blog

The Coca Cola Corporation spends untold millions of dollars each year trying to convince the public that their product is the real thing.  The length of the soda section in most supermarkets  attests to the success in building their bra

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Made in America: The Return of Innovation

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Blog

 If you find yourself wondering what’s happened to innovation and the ability for Americans to invent new products, you will want to watch this video tour of Tech Shop SF, a member-based place (Kinda like your high school woodshop… On ste

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The Best Things in Life…Aren’t Things!

Posted by on Nov 29, 2011 in Blog

Last month, I experienced an amazing pair of concert  events:  one to start my week, the other to end it.    More than just great shows, they were rich enough in customer experience principles to make them worthy of sharing

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Blowing the Save…A Failure in Listening

Posted by on Oct 28, 2011 in Blog

When a major league pitcher is brought in late in the game to help his team secure their lead and win the game, he earns what is known in baseball parlance as a “save.”   If he allows the other team to score runs and loses the lead,

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Meet Ray, the Usher from Section 121

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Blog

Ahhh, the Fall Classic is upon us once again.  Sadly, the San Francisco Giants didn’t make the cut and will not be repeating last year’s World Series  triumph.   This season was too full of injuries and a lack of offense to

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Groupon for Surgery: A Bad Idea

Posted by on Sep 27, 2011 in Blog

Like many of you, I get a daily Groupon e-mail and will often take a look and see what special deal is being offered.   I admit to being intrigued by the upcoming Tomato Battle taking place in my town next weekend (modeled after the annual rite in Bunyol, Spain), but I’ll leave it up to a few thousand others to enjoy that event.   While I have serious reservations about the longevity of the business model (which were confirmed by Groupon’s recent financial reporting), this type of offering has struck a nerve with deal-seeking consumers whose spending patterns have been permanently...

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A Taste of Merlindia

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 in Blog

The gourmet food truck has emerged as a new dining category in many larger American cities, giving urban workers additional lunchtime options and aspiring chefs a new means of delivering their fare besides having to open a restaurant. The trend has even spawned its own reality show, The Great Food Truck Race on The Food Network.   We traveled to Merlindia (via Washington, DC) to check out one of the more popular food trucks (as evidenced by the long lines) offered by The Fojol Brothers. In this video segment, you will see how their use of theming – which engages employees and...

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Social Media Helps The Help

Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 in Blog

A recently released movie called “The Help” finished this past weekend as the top grossing movie, beating out bigger budget flicks about apes, kids, and a re-made barbarian.  What’s remarkable about this feat is that The Help didn’t open as the top movie its first week.   Opening week sets the tone for a movie’s revenue trajectory,  and revenue as well as ranking typically fall with each succeeding week a movie is in theaters.    The Help broke that trend, appealing to males and females 35 years and older.  Several movie analysts have stated that social media had a big...

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Just Feed Me!

Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Blog

Last month, my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans and witnessing the 41st year of Jazzfest (a great music experience for those of you who enjoy outdoor concerts).   Based on a tip from a waitress at breakfast, we learned about a great restaurant that had earned the #1 rating on Trip Advisor and I was determined we would eat there sans reservation.   We found the Louisiana Bistro on relatively quiet Rue Dauphine, which was remarkable given that Bourbon Street craziness resides just one block away.    The place was tiny (we counted 12 tables) and bustling.  The...

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Ideas in Action: Learn about the Experience Economy

Posted by on Jun 17, 2009 in Blog

June 2009 An Interview with Jim Gilmore A Trip Down LASIK’s Memory Lane     An Interview with Jim Gilmore In writing a regular column on marketing over the years, what I’ve come to appreciate is that great marketing typically boils down to how well you serve the needs of your customer. Two years ago I hit upon a motherlode while reading The Experience Economy, by Jim Gilmore and Joe Pine. These two economists described how companies and individuals are creating greater value in our economy and helping sustain its growth. The book’s message is highly durable, and...

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Dad, what’s an Album?”

Posted by on Jan 1, 2009 in Blog

Dad, what’s an Album?”

My son, who received an iPOD last Christmas, innocently blurted this question as I was searching for specific music to load onto the device. Wow, how fast the world has changed! Indeed, it was a bit sobering for me to explain how recorded music has shifted from LP (long play) records to cassette tapes and now CDs. It was a mini-history lesson that was probably lost on him but really hit home with me. Today’s kids and young adults have never known a world without a personal computer, cell phone, DVDs, video games and even the iPOD (at least for the 7 year-olds like my son). They absorb...

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Ideas in Action: Babysitter Knows Best

Posted by on Dec 17, 2008 in Blog

December 2008 Babysitter Knows Best You are What You Charge For Figuring it out     In the world of commerce, there is a perplexing problem unique to those in the business of providing services (as opposed to tangible goods) to customers: how to value the specific service you offer. It’s tricky, because the temptation is to try to compete with similar providers on the basis of price, subscribing to the age-old adage “may the lowest bidder win.” While this might feel good to the customer (at least temporarily), it has the opposite effect on the provider. Most of what I hear...

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Ideas in Action: Back to Basics

Posted by on Apr 2, 2008 in Blog

April 2, 2008 I have to admit I’ve been a longtime fan of Starbucks. Not so much of their coffee, but of their founder, Howard Schultz. As a man who is driven by something far greater than financial success, he returned to his role as CEO at the beginning of this year amidst concern that the world’s largest purveyor of gourmet coffee had lost some of its focus. You may recall hearing the news that Starbucks locations in the US, all 11,100 of them, closed one afternoon in February for a 3-hour training session involving 150,000 workers. Some might view this as a big hit to revenue,...

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Ideas In Action: Please Pump First

Posted by on Jan 15, 2008 in Blog

January 15, 2008 Have you ever noticed that when you walk into most establishments, you are told what you can’t do instead of what you can do: - No food or drink - No cell phones - No shirt, no service - No American Express (This last one was prominently displayed on four handwritten signs by the cashier at Kantor’s Delicatessen in Los Angeles) I don’t know what this says about society, inattentive customers, or uptight small business owners. But it does say something about just how commonplace negative language has become. This is the exact reason why I find it so...

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Ideas In Action: Off Duty At The Waffle House

Posted by on Oct 17, 2007 in Blog

October 17, 2007 Understandably, there’s a lot being said about customer experience these days. It seems as though everywhere I turn I come across an article describing one or an advertisement touting one. What gets lost at times is the fact that it takes people – typically the employees of an organization – to create the events that are unique and memorable to customers. Which leads to Nashville. Gathering in Nashville for an annual event called thinkAbout (hosted by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore, authors of The Experience Economy), over 100 individuals from a wide-range of...

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Ideas in Action: iPod Ergo Sum

Posted by on Aug 17, 2007 in Blog

August 2007 iPod Ergo Sum It’s Okay to Take a Bite Creating Leverage     iPod Ergo Sum Those of you who took Latin class in your school days will recognize the play on one of its most famous phrases, Cogito Ergo Sum. Written in 1637 by philosopher Descartes, I think, therefore I am became foundational to western thought and philosophy. 370 years later, a company called Apple is changing the way we think about goods and services for working (iMac and iBook), communicating (iPhone), lounging (Apple TV) and listening (iTunes). The largest driver of all these products is also...

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Ideas In Action: New Meanings for Old Sayings

Posted by on Jul 19, 2007 in Blog

July 2007 It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it Getting back to basics     In my marketing work with medical device companies and their customers, I’m finding that some of those old sayings that have been around forever have new meaning that’s applicable in the world of elective medicine. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it Parents learn quickly that with kids, it’s important to teach about tone and manner in conversation. These little lessons seem to have a big impact, not only on the playground but throughout life....

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Ideas In Action: Pianos, Ice Cream and You

Posted by on Apr 21, 2007 in Blog

April 2007 Pianos, Ice Cream and You The big “E” The Fine Print     You might not have put this together, but Steinway (the legendary piano maker) and Cold Stone (the fast growing ice cream chain) have a lot more in common than many realize. Both have some unique approaches to satisfying customers and building their business brands. Both have built their reputations without advertising (one over the past 150 years, the during the past 5). Pianos, Ice Cream and You When you buy a Steinway, one of the benefits is that the company arranges a concert by a pianist in your...

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