Seth Earley Keynote: Winning the Customer Experience Arms Race #KMWorld

kmworld-socialSpeaker: Seth Earley is CEO of Earley & Associates, an information management strategy consulting firm.  Seth also serves as Editor, Data Analytics, for IT Professional Magazine from the IEEE.  His interests include Knowledge Strategy, Data and Information Architecture, Search-based Applications and Information Findability solutions.  Seth has conducted workshops for senior leadership around aligning information management strategy with measurable business outcomes and developed information governance programs for clients in healthcare, technology, manufacturing, insurance, retail, pharmaceutical and financial services industries.  He has worked with a diverse roster of Fortune 1000 companies helping them to achieve higher levels of operating performance by making information more findable, usable and valuable through integrated enterprise architectures supporting analytics, e-commerce and customer experience applications.  His twitter handle is @sethearley.

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2014 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

Session Description: As product differentiation diminishes in many markets, companies are increasingly investing in the customer experience as a competitive advantage. Winning organizations have decision-making processes and feedback mechanisms that enable them to experiment and respond quickly to their evolving market landscape. They have also taken action to make their full portfolio of product and customer information accessible to their customer-facing processes. Earley looks at which Fortune 1000 companies are winning the customer experience arms race and how they are doing it and provides ways to frame the needs and opportunities to senior leadership.


  • What’s customer experience? Customer experience is about ALL of the interactions the customer has with an organization: the marketing, product, communications, interchanges, etc. It applies to external AND internal customers. (Customers often do business with the company they hate the least at the moment.) Customer context is key.
  • What makes customer experience challenging? The customer experience ecosystem is complex. It cuts across lots of different interaction, touch points, systems, silos, etc. (E.g., email, print, shipping/logistics, support, legal/contracts, receivables, web, call center, bricks and mortar store, billing, mobile, social media, sales, service, partner portal, etc.)
  • Two-site syndrome: According to Forrester, most corporate websites have segregated brand marketing and ecommerce sites that are poorly stitched together. Therefore, the customer must leap across various rorganizationaldivides as they switch between exploration, education, purchasing and support.
  • The customer experience must be seamless across the product lifecycle: This can be tough when different stages rely on different systems and processes. To make matters worse, internal customers also have to contend with this disparate systems and processes. To address this problem, you need an enterprise view of the systems/processes that underpin the customer journey. Map the customer journey through use cases and scenarios.
  • Start by describing the customer: Look at their social graph, behavioral segmentation, marketing and any other relevant attribute models. Use whatever makes most sense in your context AND in your customer’s context. When you mine the social graph, you can make personalized recommendations. Remember, however, that context changes. To cope with this, build libraries of customer use cases. What information do people need in the context of this step of the process toward their goal?
  • Don’t be creepy: There is a very fine line between excellent customer experience and being really creepy. The more you know about your customer, the more you can anticipate your customers’ needs. However, don’t cross the line into invading their privacy or making unauthorized disclosures. (Eg., Target’s famous pregnancy case.)
  • Move from fragmentation to integration: This means moving along a maturity model from confused to siloed to coordinated and fully integrated. For many, building an enterprise taxonomy is a key part of this effort. Building an enterprise taxonomy is very challenging, but it is the foundation for knowledge management, content architecture, workflow and biz processes.

Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑